It’s Not Everest – Kennedys Bush Track

“On a Mish” #390 It’s Not Everest. Kennedys Bush Track. Port Hills (Christchurch). 1.10.2023. To most, hiking uphill is a grind we force ourselves through. Not many enjoy the experience, but most love the views and satisfaction that comes with leg power elevation. ‘The higher you go the better the view’ is a mantra I have lived by for a long time, however these days the elevations are a lot lower than they used to be. With our trip to Nepal just around the corner the training has stepped up, and in this case, literally!

I have been very lucky to be able to overcome my hip and back injury in Christchurch instead of in Te Anau. As much as I love my home in Te Anau there is very little support for me down there, and in my darkest times support is what I have needed the most. Whether it be physical or mental, having people around me, plus Ernie, has been crucial to me navigating my way back to better health.

Way back in 2019 I waved goodbye to my friends in Nepal with no idea that I wouldn’t be seeing them in 2020 as planned. Finally in 2023 we will be heading back to take up our role in the Active Hearts Foundation Whanau and heading to Nepal to go on a mish. I get so much enjoyment from helping out the Hearts Family on what is much more than just a hike in the hills. In a way I am happy that the trip in 2020 didn’t happen because it would have been impossible for me to have done the trek. Now a few years down the track of life and a ton of reconditioning work later, I’m going on the trip (Apologies in advance to whoever has to carry me!).

The specialness of an Active Hearts hike is unmatched and I have been able to get my family involved with fundraising efforts and also spreading the word about the charity. From getting knocked off my feet to nowadays, they have helped out massively with getting me out walking even at times when I’d rather just mope around at home. The 2023 Ganesh Himal Trek will be much, much different because not only are my parents joining me, but my fitness and conditioning that came with me on the mish back in 2019 will not be coming.

Just like when you lose your keys you can find your fitness again. It just takes a lot of work and a bloody long time!

Recently I joined my Whanau plus my Brother-in-law’s good friends for a hike / training trip up the Kennedys Bush Track. I thought we were just going to head up the track a little bit then retreat back down. I was wrong, but overall this was a good thing. It had been many years since I had done the track and it seemed much harder this time. You can’t go up forever, even when climbing Sagarmatha / Mt Everest. And today we are not climbing Mt Everest!

It seems a little ironic that a former hiking guide now needs guides (and the help of a Jack Russell!) to help him through the tough times. Liv (one of the expedition team members) was very familiar with the track and also other tracks in the area. Having someone there to distract you with information is extremely helpful and was the key to getting me to the top of the track. At times my body was screaming ‘stop’ but positive peer pressure was yelling no!

The rewards for getting to the top were immense and worth the wear and tear. On the way up we were treated to views of Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere and across the Canterbury Plains all the way to the snow capped mountains of the Southern Alps. Then once at the top we could see the many bays of Whakaraupo / Lyttlelton Harbour, the lumps and bumps of Banks Peninsula. And finally on every eastern aspect all the eyes could see was the endless stretch of the Pacific Ocean. After soaking up the epicness it was time for the downward journey and I knew this would be the most challenging part of the mish. To my surprise it wasn’t as tough as first expected, although I was very sore and did need a long rest after getting back home!

What a place and what an awesome little track so close to Christchurch City. It might not be Mt Everest but it was good training for when we travel to the home of the highest mountains on the planet…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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