Staying active during COVID was hard for most people; finding ways to be out and socially distanced meant usually that quiet trails became highways of people. Clover Hill Road was no exception on this particular weekend. I first walked the trail 10 years earlier when I was in a ‘right’ mood over something, most likely trivial, and had stormed out of the house….phone almost flat, in the middle of the day without having lunch or packing water. That sure solved things! Needless to say, I didn’t make it to the end, as I quickly became hot hungry and thirsty opting to turn back and deal with my tantrum.
I have walked the trail a few times since then, once with my sister, and another with a resident of the Youth Refuge I worked in at the time….
Now for another venture….this time it was going to be different; I was going to share this beautiful walk with my ‘willing’ family. To avoid the “I am tired, my legs are sore can you carry me?” routine, I decided the two boys would ride their bikes while Kane and I trailed behind. The day before, I had imagined a wonderful day; so come the day, I woke up early as I always do, and was eager to get away before the crowds – hoping that no one else had the same plan.
When the house was finally awake I was met with stomping feet, and a kiddish moaning barrage of ‘’I don’t want to go on the stupid walk’’, ‘’it is going to be boring’’, ‘’you always make us do dumb things’’…nothing gets under my skin more than whingy whiny kids; I just can’t handle it especially when they are my own. To say that tensions were high was an understatement, but I determinedly packed a lunch and we all headed out.
The attitude quickly changed as the boys got to navigate their bikes around the locked National Park’s gate, and their competitive streaks quickly emerged as they raced off to be ‘first’…..the first to do what didn’t matter, changing variously depending on who saw the river first, or who saw the Lookout first. But we were all outside, and there was only a handful of people already on the trail.
The fire trail quickly ended, and I mentioned that it seemed so much longer than when I first ventured out on my own. I let the boys know there were copperhead snakes about as one had scared the life out of me on a previous jaunt, so that became the next competition – who could see the first snake.
We hid the bikes when we found a somewhat hidden trail ahead. As we wandered along it, through the canopy, “ How long is this going to be? “was brought up only once, and before they knew it we were there. “ Is this it!?’ Blake sounding somewhat underwhelmed. “No” I said and explained that we had a little further to go, and suggested the boys might like to figure out just where the faint trail was. I shouldn’t have done that! A new competition was formed and I instantly regretted my words. Luckily neither of them worked it out so we narrowly escaped another argument.
Boulder hoping and river crossing always ticks the right boxes for the boys, and they were too caught up in trying to be Tarzan to notice the rather larger boulder perched at the top of the waterfall. When they figured things out, it was “OH WOW!! That’s pretty cool Mum”. My ’mature’ response was that of sarcasm and mocking, reminding them about their lack of enthusiasm at home about coming on this journey.
The boys explored, attempted to skip rocks, made boats to launch off the waterfall, and loved every minute of being there…and there were happy smiles that came naturally in our photos.
The kids loved it so much that the next weekend, on Mother’s Day, they returned with their cousins to do it all over again, this time with zero resistance, some might even say enthusiasm and excitement…but they will never admit to that.