Saturday, October 25, 2008

2008. Edwin Mouldey Track and Taylors Mistake Track, Christchurch

2008. Choco Blitz, Nayland Street, Sumner, Christchurch

2008. Edwin Mouldey Track, Nayland Street, Sumner, Christchurch

Late October, one Friday the Port Hills tracks were calling, devoid of humanity. At Sumner, I parked my car under a shady Norfolk pine near Choco Blitz shop at the end of Nayland Street.

2008. Ice Plant, Carpobrotis acinaciformis & Bone Seed, Chrysanthemoides monilifera, Edwin Mouldey Track, Sumner, Christchurch

2008. Purple Vygies, Edwin Mouldey Track, Sumner, Christchurch

2008. Edwin Mouldey Track, Sumner Esplanade Clock Tower & Lifeboat Slipway, Christchurch

Edwin Mouldey Track was short and steep, with thick ropes of SA green ice plants, Carpobrotus acinaciformis, curtaining a vocanic cliff up Scarborough hill. In NZ, purple flowers splotching C. acinaciformis ice plants could hybridize with pale yellow flowers of SA Carpobrotus edulis, the latter also known to hybridise with NZ native ice plants. I thought that ex Foreign Minister Winston Peters could look at invasive migrants improving the gene pool of native weaklings before moaning about immigrants. Namaqualand daisies and red geraniums festooned the track as well.

2008. Edwin Mouldey Track, Sumner, Christchurch

2008. Geraniums, Edwin Mouldey Track, Sumner, Christchurch

2008. Edwin Mouldey Track, Sumner, Christchurch

2008. Purple Vygies & Aloes, Scarborough Road, Scarborough, Christchurch

As I didn't know my way to Scarborough Track, my Scarborough Road trek up to Nicholson Park at the top of Scarborough hill was a hot midday sweat, aggravated by exhaust fumes from passing cars. Scarborough Road was too narrow for pavements, but steep roadside slopes grew SA aloes, succulents, daisies and inevitable pines around houses clinging to Scarborough hill.

2008. Red Hot Pokers, Start of Taylors Mistake track, near Nicholson Park, Scarborough, Christchurch

Heart pounding in Nicholson Park, while drinking Sprite lemonade, I chatted to a black cat, which rolled in the dust of a warm pathway. I had the park to myself again.

2008. Pride of Madeira, Taylors Mistake Track, Godley Head Backdrop, Christchurch

On the far side of Scarborough hill, Taylors Mistake Track was almost empty, only one black-haired jogger and his black dog zapped past. While zig-zagging along the steep clifftop track, I admired Godley Head far across the sea. Behind Whitewash Head, I watched gulls gliding over cliff nests. I passed bone seeds, legumes, Pride of Madeira shrubs and a dead cabbage tree. Migrants seemed tougher than locals. In a steep backyard two pet donkeys stopped grazing, and warily watched me while I walked by.

2008. Donkey on Taylors Mistake Track, Scarborough, Christchurch

2008. Giants Nose from Taylors Mistake Track, Christchurch

I passed a fence advertising parapenting and its safety procedures. From the clifftop, I saw purple Namaqualand daisies across the sea splashing the Giants Nose, forming Taylors Mistake bay.

2008. Purple Vygies on Giants Nose, Taylors Mistake, Godley Head Backdrop, Christchurch

As I'd already slogged up Scarborough hill, I didn't want to walk all the way down to Taylors Mistake beach, then back to my car on the other side of the hill, so I stopped to photograph purple daisies far below in Taylors Mistake, then joined Taylors Mistake Road at a walkway entrance. Along the road, I walked back to Nicholson Park past new houses in streets with fey names like Smugglers Cove.

2008. Yellow Broom & Purple Vygies, Taylors Mistake, Christchurch

I zig-zagged down Flowers Track to Scarborough Track, dazzling as Edwin Mouldey Track, back to my car, which was cool. The balloon and string walk took me about two hours with rest breaks on benches included. Benches had plaques with donors' names and birth-death dates. I was chuffed to see I'd outlived several donors.

2008. Scarborough Track, Scarborough, Christchurch

On Labour Weekend Monday, Leah and I walked the tracks again. Like bumble bees, butterflies and Topp Twins the flowers were gorgeous, but the crowds weren't. As the tracks had heated up with half naked Kiwis, and overdressed tourists, it was time to shave my winter beard and remove the frost covers from our citrus trees.

Coda: Sumner was damaged by the 2010-2011 quakes. After the 13.06.11 quake, Edwin Mouldey Track was closed for several months. Nayland St & Heberden Ave intersection was cordoned by shipping containers against rockfall hazard.

During the 13.06.11 quake, as a big chunk of cliff fell into the Pacific at the end of Scarborough, tracks near the end of Scarborough were fence cordon closed for months.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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