Hill climb worth the effort

At the long weekend I made the most of a day off and ventured out into the hills with my dad.

I love any opportunity to get out and about in Central and experience the adventures the region has to offer, plus it was a good chance to spend some time with him.

He turned 70 earlier this year and when he suggested a ‘‘short walk’’ I was pretty keen.

I should have known better.

A retired farmer, my dad has spent the majority of his life climbing mountains in pursuit of sheep and deer.

The first few months of his retirement involved him strapping on his boots, pointing to a hill and going ‘‘I’ll walk up there today.’’

Our ‘‘short walk’’ took us up Flat Top Hill near Butchers Gully — the sign at the bottom indicated that depending which way we went it could take up to four hours to complete the walk.

Well we did it in three.

I forgot that while my dad is starting to slow down — albeit only a very tiny bit — he is still part mountain goat, with a stride longer than the length of my car.

While I huffed and puffed my way to the top, he was climbing rocks to get a better look at the view.

But what a view it was.

Being able to look back towards Alexandra and Clyde, and down the river towards Lake Roxburgh, was truly spectacular. I am pretty stoked to be able to tick that walk off my list.

Having lived in Cromwell for eight years, and now part-time in Dunedin, I have not ventured on to many of the tracks around Alexandra before, but I definitely will be checking out more of them.

It was also great to see so many other people getting out and enjoying the area too — the majority of people we encountered were on mountain bikes. The next day I was out across the region chasing the snow making its way through the Maniototo to get a photo for the newspaper — what a difference a day makes.

We have some incredible spaces throughout Central Otago and Wanaka we can get out and enjoy, even with the cooler weather. Can I encourage you to not hide yourself away as winter hits, but to get out and enjoy what the region has to offer.

It is definitely worth it.