It seems to be a recently established tradition that we climb Hartz Mountain the day after we return to Creekton Falls to have a family ‘Bruce memorial’. That is, we did it last year, and again this year. Hartz is near our base of Driftwood Cottages at Dover (nearer still to Geeveston), and is doable for the children. Traditions are good things to have, as long as you don’t become their slave.
I recently read a book by Katherine Abetz (An Obstinate Love) set in the Federation era, when they took three days to climb Hartz Mountain (and wore long frocks and high heels shoes). Abby wore a tutu, as you do if you’re three, and strapped leather shoes, and we were back by early afternoon of the day we set out. Gussy had his proper bush shoes on, and Abby agrees that she needs a pair. She got her feet very muddy, and a little bit wet. Unlike the characters in Katherine’s book, the children elected to run most of the way, despite Abby’s tender age. We adults, more burdened down with gear, went at a more measured pace. Gussy pressed on the accelerator between Ladies Lake and the top, so I left the group to keep him company, tucking in behind him to let him keep his nose in front. I rather think that next year, when he will be in third class, I will have no choice in the being behind bit. This year I was comfortable, but aware that the pace was verging on the “not so”. Soon I would be puffing. He is getting very fit, and already has a fantastic beep test score.
Keithy braved a swim in Ladies Lake, to “have one for Bruce”, who, for most of his life until Parkinson’s got a good grip, swam any season, any weather, any altitude. I have pictures of him and our daughter swimming with icebergs in the Alps. Keith was a delicate shade of blue at the end. The rest of us watched.
Predictably, Abby was very prepared to examine insects and other interesting features on the way down. She is a diminutive three, and her running on the outbound journey must have been pretty exhausting.