The Cliffside Adventure

Our hike in Kaikoura ended on a bit of an adventurous note, and I asked Evelyn (11 years old) to write about it for this blog. The following is her account. I have added a few snippets of details [indicated by brackets] but otherwise not changed anything.

The author, pensive.
The author, pensive.

In the beginning, we had just finished driving down the coast. When we started the hike it was almost three o’clock, we knew that it was an out and back trail on a cliff top. We didn’t worry about the tide coming in. We’d be on the cliff top, not the shore anyway.

“This is your chance to show us what you can do.” [Apparently I said this. I have no memory of saying this.]

The ocean was very beautiful; it glittered in the sun and the snow-capped mountains glinted in the distance. When we reached the end of the trail, we decided to [climb down a railed stair and] take the path onto the beach instead of going back the way we’d come. As we descended the wooden staircase, the tide started to come in. We knew we would still make it [back to the trailhead] if we sped up.

A steep descent to the shoreline from the top of the bluffs.
A steep descent to the shoreline from the top of the bluffs.

Then the path went through two seal colonies. Each time we walked too close to a seal, it hissed and growled even though seals aren’t usually thought of as intimidating creatures. Signs warned us to stay 10 meters away from them but it was impossible because the path led right through the seals. After [tensely] wading through the second one, we noticed that far ahead, the path that had previously led back to the start of the trail was nearly covered in water. [At this point the sun was already starting to set behind the cliffs and mountains.]

Dad said we had two options: one, go back through the seals, back up the stairs and along the cliff in the dark for another hour and fifteen minutes, or two, risk trying to use trees and brush to climb the meandering rock part of the cliff surface [back up the top of the bluff].

“No, three,” Mom said, pointing to a path that was straight up the cliff, with large slippery footholds in the mud.

“I don’t know; can Calvin do that?” Dad asked, “Maybe I can check the other options and you can try to climb it.”

The highlight shows the climb we made up from the shoreline to the top of the bluff.
The highlight shows the climb we made up from the shoreline to the top of the bluff. It’s hard to see from this photo, but it was a pretty long and steep climb.

So they did. Before we knew it, we were starting the long climb up [the steep incline]. Dad entrusted me with going first. It took about 7 minutes from bottom to top, and it was really fun. I finished first, then Charlotte, then Calvin and Mom behind him, then Dad. When I finally reached the top, I felt extremely happy and accomplished.

Cal looked like a little panda bear, pawing his way up the hill.
When we were all at the top, Mom said, “I think that this shows us what you can do just fine!”

Triumphant (and Mom and Dad with sweaty hands...)
Triumphant (and Mom and Dad with sweaty hands…)
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