Mt Gravatt, Brisbane, Australia 🇦🇺
The sky is blue. It’s warm, almost hot. It’s a school day. But the kids – my nephew’s – are stuck at home. Ages range between 8 and 15. Some of them are doing homework, but mostly they’re gaming on laptops, watching kids shows, listening to music and making a mess in the kitchen. Time for some fresh air, burn off some energy, escape the cabin fever.
Mention bushwalk and they perk up. Even if it means pausing their games or music. We promise adventure, maybe some wild critters, and we find the closest patch available with a short walk of around 3km – any longer and we may be inviting revolt.
Mt Gravatt sits in the southern suburbs of Brisbane, and kisses the sky at a modest 187m. The trail that runs around the hill promises koalas, but this day we see none. Only one lazy magpie who couldn’t be arsed to fly off as we approached, and a rather large spider. The trail is made of rough stones and gravel, dry and broken, running beneath dry eucalyptus forest and over creek beds that haven’t seen a trickle of water for months. We can hear crows and kookaburras in the distance.
The main circuit around Mt Gravatt has one decent climb on the far side. This ascent pushes the youngest two of our group to breakdown in tears, annoyance and defiance. ‘I’m tired”, “I’m too hot”, “My legs have stopped working”, and my favourite: “Why are we walking in a desert?”
My nephew walks on with the older two, leaving me to fend for myself with the now desperately complaining duo. I have it in stereo. But somehow I cajole, coax and convince them that the top is just around the corner. I stretch the truth, just a little, this is serious.
At a well-positioned spot, the others are waiting on a bench in the shade. The two youngest throw themselves onto it, in huge floods of sighs and groans. They refuse to budge. Not since the mutiny on the Bounty, has rebellion been so visceral. I consider dragging them off under my arms – dad’s not helping one bit. He’s thinking: “Welcome to my world, Uncle Walt’. But I have an ace up my sleeve, as I resort to a tried and tested method for achieving positive results. Bribery. Two words: Ice cream.
The youngest takes some convincing. Am I to be trusted. But eventually gives in. We still have a small hill to climb that pushes one over the edge, needing the next best coercive tool – piggyback. That works. But only just.
Unsurprisingly, the tired legs, the resistance, the heat, all evaporate like the nearby creeks, as soon as the trail begins to descend. They’re now running down, finding new energy. All the tantrums and stubborn refusals to move, forgotten.
Thank God for gravity. And Icecream.