13/1/08 - This was a nice first time hit-out for three of my family, having just moved to the North Canterbury area from Taupo. Leaving the heat of the plains at home, we piled into the car for a bit of a late getaway and drove for an hour to get to the top of Lewis Pass. My navigator showed her usual response to windy road by falling asleep. Consequently, I got to the top of the pass and missed the carpark, driving down to Maruia Springs. On return, everything was far more visible and we bumped up through the ruts to the carpark. The boy was pretty keen to prove that he is ready for an overnight tramp and headed off up the hill at a fair rate of knots before being reigned in - he wasn't carrying a pack, after all. As designated packhorse, that was down to me. After negotiating the open rocky track to the lookout, where there wasn't a huge view of the surrounding country due to the low cloud, we entered the forest and started the climb to the treeline. Very pleasant, and the fairly sustained up saw the boy ceding the lead. Taking slightly longer than the advertised hour we exited the trees about 100 m below the cloud base. Dropping packs, we scooted up to where the ridge seemed to ease off a bit, and got the distinct impression that the Lewis Tops would be a very pleasant place to be on clear day. Sighting waterfalls on the other side of the valley was also nice, and I got a chance to view the start of the St James Walkway along the Maruia River, which is on the must-do-before-too-long list. After a quick lunch, the descent was fairly uneventful, with the exception of a bump on the shin of the boy that sounded pretty painful. The navigator and I agreed that such bumps can be pretty painful, and yes, it was bleeding, but we thought it highly unlikely that his leg was going to die. The alternate route from the lookout to the carpark was very pretty, and then it was back home to the heat.