• Christina Merrick

The Otago Rail Trail

The fact is, in this world, no one’s butt likes to sit on a bike for four days straight. So waking up for the fifth and final day of the Otago rail trail was not exactly heaven like. Don’t get me wrong; I was having the time of my life with my brothers and cousins but my clicking, clanking, aching bones were not in total agreement. 


My name is Evelyn. I’m average height, blonde hair, brown eyes and I obtain an unusual amount of freckles. I have two younger brothers, Remi and Luke, who are nine and seven years old. I’m twelve. 


We were on our way early and about one kilometre into the track when we really noticed the wind picking up. Two kilometres after that was when we began to wonder where all the other tourists on the track were. One kilometre after that was when my parents, Uncle and Aunty became visibly worried.


I am scared. No point hiding it; we all are. No cell phone reception, dangerously high winds and no other company to be seen other than ourselves. We come up to a lethally high ridge and see an orange sign that has been freshly planted in the ground. This is when I realise just how bad of a situation we are in. “Do not ride across,” it says. “Two adults per bike. Kids crawl.” I watch as my Aunty puts on a falsely bright smile and then see my parents follow promptly. “This will be fun kids!” My aunt yells over the gusting wind. I could not agree less.


As I was army crawling along the hard orange clay dirt, I was faintly aware of my fourteen year old cousin bearing his bike at the other end of the ridge. It was like a movie. In slow motion. I watched as my cousin’s firm grip on the bike disappeared. Without any explanation to myself, I felt a provoking emotion to be somewhat of a hero. So I scrambled to my feet with full intentions to catch the flying object. Instead I went flying as well.


As I landed half way down the ridge on the rock hard clay, the amount of pain I was in was fierce. But as the metal down tube on the bike ricocheted off the ground into my face, I swear I was going to die. I had hot, bubbling, red blood streaming out of my nose and trickling out of my freshly split eyebrow. I heard faint yells that the wind delivered get let out from above me. My cousin slid down the clay towards the almost flattened tree I laid against. He groaned loudly as he saw my blood covered face. “Sorry,” he grumbled, “Didn’t mean to let go.” He pulled me to my feet and half pushed, half dragged me up the hill.


If you have never had a broken nose, consider yourself lucky. The immense pain I was in as I finally reached the top and felt the full gust of wind against my shaking bones was horrific.


I crawled over to my family.  “Told you it would be fun.” My aunt said feebly. I could not agree less.


T Berger


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