Many years ago when I lived on the flat Canterbury plains my mode of transport was by bicycle. The range of my meanderings were wide and formidable (for the legs of a child). One of my favourite journeys was from our home close to New Brighton, around the estuary to Sumner and up the exhausting ride to Evans Pass. Nothing could be seen of the harbour until the very top of the ride. Then the panoramic view would suddenly explode into view. That view is majestic and I would sit on my bike and stare and stare for a long time, drinking in the fabulous view and looking out keenly for the sign of a sail.
Each time over the years when I have driven to this spot I am seized by the need to linger for a long, long time to survey the view and slake my memories of old experiences - like an eagle returning to a familiar nest high on the tops somewhere.
A month or so ago Christine and I returned to Christchurch for my Auntys 100th birthday and while staying in Sumner I felt a compulsion to drive the few kilometers up to Evans Pass to take in the view. We had already spent time staying in Akaroa and ranging widely around the beautiful bays and roads of the Peninsula. A last trip to Evans Pass would be a nice way of putting the cork back in the bottle before flying back north.
But I was not rewarded for my effort. At the top of the pass was a large fence with signs warning of grim death on the other side of the fence from both the terrain and council bylaws. Of course I took all this as any New Brighton bred boy does with a grain of salt and tried to squeeze through the locked gate and even eyed the possibility of climbing over the fence. But common sense and late middle aged rotundness sorted out that idea.
So I parked the car and took a walk to look back down on Sumner from where I had come. While doing so these little friends came and looked at me sheepishly. I am sure they had a look of sympathy on their little faces. Not a word was said. Not a baa uttered. They knew that sometimes its best not to say anything as they communed with me in my disappointment.
This video (above) shows the reason why the road was closed. It has been this way since the devastating Christchurch earthquakes a few years ago. If you view the video you can get a sense of the scale and beauty of the harbour that draws me back from time to time.
One positive note is that when I peered through the fence at the top of Evans Pass at the car park area I could see that a lot of repair work was being completed. Although I don't think the road from Evans Pass to the port of Lyttleton will be opened any time soon, hopefully access to the car park and the wonderful view will be available next time we visit.