Saturday, June 13, 2009
2009. Eastenders Track, Barnett Park, Christchurch
2009. Bay View Road Entrance to Barnett Park, Redcliffs, Christchurch
I parked my car at Barnett Park carpark, by Ferrymead Bays Soccer fields, as I wanted to climb Eastenders Track to the top of Clifton Hill by Summit Road, Port Hills. I walked past several Saturday afternoon soccer matches with fit players and fat linesmen.
I went up the eastside of Barnett Park Valley, crossed a stile and wooden footbridge, and crossed another stile and wooden footbridge over the valley stream by Bay View Road entrance, where a sign stated:
THIS WALKWAY PASSES
THROUGH LAND WHICH
HAS BEEN LET FOR
DOGS MUST BE
KEPT ON A LEASH
AT ALL TIMES
2009. Lower Barnett Park Walkway, Redcliffs Christchurch
I followed a grey-haired couple through a cattle paddock and passed a pylon on my left. I crossed another footbridge over the stream and climbed the steep path on the eastside of the valley, up Clifton Hill. On the fourth footbridge I passed the wheezing couple while they stopped and looked at the valley view.
2009. Barnett Park Walkway view of Moncks Spur & Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Christchurch
At the EASTENDERS TRACK / CAVE junction, I briefly went left up Eastenders Track, crossed a stile, and turned right along a muddy cattle track beside the fence, to make my walk more interesting.
I reasoned that stock tracks would be the easiest way up, so I followed hoofprints and dung. I headed towards caves at the valley head, then scrambled over rocks up the valley wall parallel to the ridge where Eastenders Track went.
2009. Barnett Park Walkway going towards Caves, Port Hills, Christchurch
2009. Clifton Hill view of Moncks Spur, Avon-Heathcote Estuary & Pegasus Bay, Christchurch
2009. Clifton Hill view of Eastenders Track ridge, Barnett Park, Monks Spur, Redcliffs, Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Pegasus Bay & Southern Alps
2009. Clifton Hill view of wintry Redcliffs, Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Pegasus Bay & Southern Alps
I became intimate with cow dung, sheep dung and divaricating Muehlenbeckia, and at times slipped my jandals off to climb the slippery slope over rocks and grazed grass. In windy tussock grassland above the cave bluffs, I had views of John Britten Reserve on the skyline to my left, wintry Christchurch westwards, Pegasus Bay beyond New Brighton Pier and Avon-Heathcote Estuary. The wind was strong, so I had to hold my Nikon firmly to stop blurry coolpix.
2009. Clifton Hill view of skyline John Britten Reserve, Port Hills, Christchurch
2009. Clifton Hill western view over Port Hills, Canterbury Plains & Southern Alps
I saw the grey couple up on my left and thereafter I lost them in the hills. The higher I went in tussock grassland the colder it became, due to a chilly southerly, which blew clouds over the Port Hills, like a tablecloth.
2009. Summit Road view of skyline John Britten Reserve, Port Hills, Christchurch
2009. Summit Road view of wintry Avon-Heathcote Estuary & Southern Alps
I reached the top in 1 hour by a pine shelterbelt, Summit Road. I coolpixed views, but didn't linger, as the southerly raced clouds down valleys and threatened me with hypothermia.
I crossed flat top Clifton Hill and walked down Summit Road a bit to snap Sumner Valley and Scarborough. When clouds lifted briefly, I glimpsed Evans Pass and beyond to Lyttelton Harbour. It was pointless me summiting Mount Pleasant as it was cloud-covered.
2009. Clifton Hill view of wintry Sumner & Scarborough, Port Hills, Christchurch
2009. Summit Road glimpses of Evans Pass & Lyttelton Harbour left. Cloudy Banks Peninsula backdrop
By a sharp corner, three cyclists passed me when I returned up Summit Road to the pine shelterbelt. I crossed a stile into Greenwood Park on top of Clifton Hill.
2009. Greenwood Park on Clifton Hill view of wintry Avon-Heathcote Estuary & Pegasus Bay, Christchurch
2009. Clifton Hill view of misty Moncks Spur, Avon-Heathcote Estuary & Pegasus Bay, Christchurch
2009. Clifton Hill view of wintry Moncks Spur, Redcliffs, Avon-Heathcote Estuary & Pegasus Bay, Christchurch
Clouds raced over Port Hills down Barnett Park Valley and Sumner Valley, then dissipated in rising warmth. Sheep and cattle trotted downhill to avoid the cold, wet wind.
I crossed a stile and quickly walked down a wide, grassy track on Clifton Hill. I crossed another stile, and further down the green track I found upper EASTENDERS TRACK sign.
2009. Upper Eastenders Track view of wintry Redcliffs, Avon- Heathcote Estuary & Pegasus Bay, Christchurch
2009. Eastenders Track view of wintry Redcliffs, Avon-Heathcote Estuary & Pegasus Bay, Christchurch
Further down Eastenders Track I passed cattle by a round reservoir, crossed another stile, passed an unused footbridge due to a mud slip, then zigzagged down Eastenders Track, guided by fence standards with orange plastic caps beside the track.
On my way down, I enjoyed views of cloudy Christchurch, low tide Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Pegasus Bay and glimpses of snowy Alps above clouds.
2009. Eastenders Track view of wintry Barnett Park Caves, Port Hills, Christchurch
2009. Eastenders Track view of wintry Barnett Park, Redcliffs, Avon-Heathcote Estuary & Pegasus Bay, Christchurch
I recrossed the stile above lower Eastenders Track sign, and returned to my car the way I'd come up. Eastenders Track stiles had red and white NO BIKES signs. A young couple returning from the caves followed me down. A man, slogging upwards, rocked his head in greeting.
2009. Ferrymead Bays Soccer, Barnett Park, Redcliffs, Christchurch
By my car, soccer matches were still playing, spectators clad in winter clothes.
Downhill walk time from Summit Road: 50 minutes.
Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont