Broken pole repair

With surgical precision

Duct tape is applied

Over the splinted break

The results are dubious for strength

On our path

Tomorrow

Gabriel offers his pole

For our next section

He only needs one for a

Less demanding route

They decide to take

The next day

Walking Slaty to Old Man Hut

Amongst the mists

rolling in and away again,

Over the crests of the hills

We walk

The higher we go the more

Spectacular the views become

Layers of clouds

Chased by high winds

Going in opposite

directions

Fierce winds force

Donning different gear

To stay warm and protected

Expansive views

Multiple valleys in all directions

Sunshine and shadows

Chase each other

Ridges with rocks,

slate, scree or softness

Underfoot

Proud and solitary

Mountain daisies

Defy the elements

The scale of things

Is beyond fathoming

Trying to capture the images

In my tiny camera

Shows a lone human figure

As a small dot

In a small section

Of the vast landscape

 

Brief encounters with three walkers

Travelling north

The ups and downs of the “undulating” trail

seem never ending

Even on a small scale

Finally the sign

Points to the steep descent

To Old Man Hut

Another long “steep descent” to a hut

Tiredness beginning to show

After another eight hour day

A small slip and plop onto a stone

Snaps another pole in two

Then the beaming smile of another trail angel, Gabriel,

Concerned about the fate

Of the two older TA walkers

Comes to meet us

Carries one pack down

For the last ten minutes

To the hut

A warm welcome and reunion

With these lovely people

Their washing on the line

Soon joined by ours

Wild goats in an adjacent paddock

Mt Rintoul towers over us

Beckoning in the distance

That will be our path

Tomorrow

Life

Life

In its bundance

And tenacity

Strong

Exuberant

Alive

With fresh new beginnings

Twists in maturity

Fragility and decay

Vulnerable

To the elements

And the natural course of things

Day 20. Fog around Slaty

Fog around Slaty

too risky for setting out

stay warm and cosy

time to write.

WALKING RICHMOND RANGE – Part 1

Seven to ten             days of

Rugged

Highcountry

Walking with

20 kg of everything

I need

To survive

On my back

Is a challenge

Knees, feet, iliac  crests

All complain

And the 900 m

Climb has not even

begun.

We go up

Up

Up

Tree roots needed

To help bridge the

Distance between

Two steps

At times

         Breath is hard and cold

         Body hot and sweating

         Heart pumping

         Muscles working       working

Energy needs

replenishing

every 30 minutes, sometimes 10

Leaning into the mountain

Taking care

Paying close attention

To placing every footstep

Aware of a precarious

altered          balance and agility

and risk of

rolling down a steep

mountain side

Day 18 start of Richmond Range

The day has come

for two of us

to enter the big Richmond Range

the most challenging section

of the TA.

Some fellow walkers

already begin to feel

like family.

Starveall hut is at the end

of seven hours

of climbing

a lot of it

at least

at a 60° angle

We find ways

to amuse ourselves

see a moss

Peter Rabbit

Mrs. Tiggywinkle,

various

hearts,

 

and other signs of

encouragement.

We are moved

by Rebekah and Jonathan’s

signs of encouragement.

Sandi’s past tramping stories

provide much hilarity.

Arriving in the hut,

a welcoming fire on,

we find out

Jonathan

left the hearts

for Rebekah..

Nelson

A day and a half of rest and resupply

After catching up with

and staying in the flat

of an old friend

it is time for sorting

through stuff for tomorrow’s return

to the TA.

New food

all our stuff

new GPS app on my phone

sifted through

sorted

decisions to be made

what must come

and needs to go?

How heavy is the food?

Who has the heaviest bag?

In the final analysis

my pack weighs

eighteen kilos

without water

This can’t be possible

but it is.

Catching up

Today is day 27 of our trip and we’re in St. Arnaud for two rest days. We just reunited with Sarah yesterday. She had to, at least temporarily, abandon her walking due to the start of patella tendonitis after negotiating the massive hill up and down, just before Havelock. She heroically still completed the Pelorus River track and we got to Nelson for resupply and two rest days (days 16 and 17). The next few entries are impressions of various days from my last post until now.

Time’s a funny thing (2)

This journey

day 19

walking the length of 1/2 of NZ

takes time!

Personal

Physical

Emotional,

Planning

Organising

Resourcing

 

Walking

Unpacking

Eating

Sleeping

Packing again

 

Planning for water, food, the route, the weather, our bodies,

Adjusting to change,

Takes

A lot

Of time

 

 

Day 14 Trail angels (1)

After a nap by two

We’re walking again at three

Ready for what will be

Three hours or more

From Middy to Rocks hut.

The trail is steep

Up all the way

No way of knowing

How many more

Steps and rests

It will be.

Beauty of mossy

Beech forest

So many shades

Of green

Interrupted by

The sudden sight of

A pair of wood pigeons

Above our head

More green mosses

Ferns

Carpet of tiny

Beech leaves amongst

Rocks and

Roots

Excited        by the sight of a

South Island

Robin

Playing hide and seek

Amongst some large

Fallen tree trunks.

Going up

More up

More rests

Then there’s  a tomtit

Flitting from tree

To tree for us to admire

And be distracted

momentarily

From the seemingly

Neverending up..

When darkness starts

To draw in

Mists visible through

The tree tops

Raindrops making

themselves known

And travellers

getting more weary

Even though a whiff

Of wood fire smoke

Tells us the end must be near,

there’s the wide

Beaming smiling

Eyes and face

Of Janosh

Who’s come to do

What he can to

Relieve the load

Of the last few

minutes of toil

To arrive at Rocks

By 8.30 pm

And the elements

Explode

Around us

 

Kayaking on Pelorus River

Some butterflies

Announce themselves

About the unknowns

Of white water      what kayak     what partner

I will have

Donning the blue jacket    the life vest

the helmet over my sun hat

In a long line

We carry the

Inflatables

Down to the water

Safety checked

We step aboard

Then we’re off..

Pelorus is up

Full     and

Beautiful..

With expert eye and commands

From the  skipper,

Careful listening

And feeling into

The flow of it all

From her mate

We glide

Follow the guide

Aim for the best channel

And rush into

And through

The rapids

Exhilaration!

Water so clear

And emerald green

Rocks fitting

The fantasy of

Hobbit-land

My mate reliving

The excitement

Of the film

And her elf

In it.

We return to camp

A few hours later

Filled

In so many ways.