“Don't you ever worry about doing this sort of thing with me?” my 80 year old, osteoporotic, spinal column stuck together with glue, can't feel her feet mother asked me as we cautiously picked our way down a bush track in Heathcote National Park today. In truth, I had under-estimated the difficulty of our days bush-walk as I had been busy with other things when planning the trip and had only briefly glanced at the trail description. “Mostly on fire-roads” was all I could remember, and, my mother does relatively well on fire-roads. The 60 vertical metre descent down a rough, steep bush track to access the fire-road had either slipped from my consciousness or never been there in the first place.
“I try not to think about it” I flippantly replied. In truth, the only thing I ever did think about on these occasions – and, perhaps regretfully, there have been a few of them – was “what will Search and Rescue think if I my mother falls over here and I have to call them to haul her out of here?” If Australia's Search and Rescue teams are anything like Canadian Search and Rescue teams, their condemnation seems guaranteed. I can certainly remember quite a few call-outs with Nelson Search and Rescue where, however unspoken it might have been, the disapproval of various team members hung heavily in the air.
But, if we can laud disabled climbers tackling Everest, El Capitan, Kilimanjaro, and other big name mountains, why can we not similarly celebrate an 80 year old grandmother going for a hike in the woods? Strength, after all, does not come from doing what comes easily, but from trying that which is hard.
Eucalpyt reflected in pool, Heathcote National Park