The doesn’t-stay-at-home dad
When becoming a dad for the first time last year, I was super excited at the prospect of being able to share our beautiful country and my love of the outdoors with my son George.
I had visions of mountainbiking in the hills, hiking through our national parks, and kayaking through the sounds and fiords.
I was quickly brought to the harsh reality that this wasn’t going to be so simple.
With nappy changes, three naps a day, and breastfeeding, it was clear I was going to have to reduce the scale of my dreams somewhat, at least to begin with anyway.
However, George is 14-months now, my wife Ally has returned to work and we’re cosharing the work/home life balance.
So with more days at home playing dad for me, and a reduced need for boobs and constant napping during the daytime for George, can our adventures become a little more adventurous?
Join George and I over the next couple of months, as I share our stories of exploring the best of Marlborough, and discover the ‘new dad’ side of fostering a love of the outdoors into a toddler.
This week we set out for a walk around the Lower Quail Loop track on the Wither Hills. A walk estimated at 1.5 hours, I thought it would be a good test to see how George would hold out in his backpack.
We set off along the lower track from the Rifle Range car park, which was a great warmup strolling through the bush line to the Quail Stream track.
As we headed up the fourwheel-drive track beside the stream, George made friends with some resident sheep, and had fun pulling at my ears as we bounced across the stepping stones crossing the stream.
We stopped for a drink at the fountain, before turning off towards the twin tanks, zigzagging our way up away from the bush and into the open paddocks of the hills.
As the views of Blenheim and the wider Wairau Valley opened up. George’s chatter quietened, had he fallen asleep? Or was he as mesmerised by the views as I was? I opened my phone to selfie mode (the wonders of technology) and sure enough he was just taking in the views.
Maybe my love of the outdoors was hereditary after all.
We descended further to the Rotary Lookout, and back down the Gentle Annie track to the car park for a well-deserved play in the new play area.
A thoroughly recommended walk for families wanting to stretch beyond the local park. The tracks are well maintained and a reasonable gradient most of the way.
The backpack certainly seemed a good choice for the terrain, and George definitely enjoyed the perspective from my shoulders, not to mention the added bonus of using my ears as reins.
Lee Griggs is on a mission to share his love of the outdoors with his 14-month-old son George. His first stop: the Wither Hills.