“I heard there is a part with a lot of spear grass, is it really that bad?”
“Yeah is it, then it isn’t”
I seriously think this is the most zen thing I have ever heard. And totally sums up walk the length of New Zealand, and how you cope with suffering it.
As I walked over the tussock hills up towards the highest point of the trail this was the conversation I held on to.
The path was steep then it wasn’t.
The sharp terrain bit into my legs then it didn’t.
The long road walk went on forever then it didn’t.
Enduring suffering is about knowing it ends and of course seeing the beauty that rewards your endurance.
The path is long….and then it’s finished
(Let it be noted that the following pictures are the random stuff I see on track unlike the big scenery this is the little stuff no one notices unless your short sighted and broke your glasses)
Well the south island really is a completely different place.
We have travelled over mountains and been eaten by sand flies. Christmas on the Richmond Range was challenging because I broke my shoulder straps (and had to steal some off an abandoned school bag), lost the handle to my bow (therefore attempted to chase the eight goats at old man hut with an axe), and while carrying fourteen days worth of food forgot toilet paper (genius).
But all said and done it was amazing having a birthday on the trail (complete with river swimming, mountain climbing and a candle light to blow out), celebrating a rainy New years eve with eight random Te Araroa hikers in a five bunk hut (no one remembered alcohol but we did have grain waves) and moving through three completely different environments from beech forest to alpine to Mars all on one trail!
The Nelson lakes was popular place with me needing to add an hour onto track times for photos with tourists and having yarns with other Te Araroa hikers. Then coming down off the mountains and into grassy meadows was a nice change of pace. Though I was food poisoned by my dehydrated coconut milk and it took me two days to work it out (don’t ask what I used for toilet paper).
After a quick break in Hamner we headed down the hope kiwi track with packs full. This is when I began to feel the hikers blues. You see when I began my research into walking this trail I read a lot of blogs and in them I saw a common tread I call the hikers blues. For me it was the endless repetition of waking up early, eating the same thing and trying to make distance each day. Your feet become robotic and your eyes focus on find markers rather then taking in where you are. You get to the hut find your bed and stay there hopefully finding something to read (I even got through a woman’s day magazine). To top it all off my pack was having issues like always making walking very uncomfortable.
The trail would take us five days tops and our last food package wouldn’t be there for at least eight days. So our little group went our separate ways, the Swedes decided to get out early and get to Christchurch to look for a car so they could get to a few other tracks not on Te Araroa before they had to head home and I took a bit more time actually enjoying where I was rather then making kilometres .
I had more food then I needed and time to kill so this meant I had time to hang out in random hot pools, finish weaving myself a wallet and reflect on why I was doing this at all. It’s amazing the deep revelations you have wandering around in the wilderness. The truth of it is I really enjoy making stuff (even when it doesn’t work), taking in the small stuff (I’m short sighted I have no choice at this stage) and chasing goats with an axe. Sometimes the walking can get in the way of that but I have to admit this trail has grown on me.
On a side note the harpers pass track used to be part of an old Maori trading route, the fact they carried greenstone through this terrain really means I got nothing to complain about.
So with less then 1000 km to go I still feel up to the task but will stop and enjoy the hot pools from time to time least it starts to feel more like a job and less like a journey.
A lot has happened since we set off through the Richmond Ranges. And currently we have been diverted to Hamner because of a lost food package. So instead of the normal tales from the trail I’m just going to up load my pictures.
The next post will be full of stories of the people and places of the trail I promise.