Confidence (Day 23)

Walking in a misty forest
Confident footsteps
When the path is easy
Tick         thud        crunch
Of poles on the ground
Creaking pack straps
Fabric swishing
Footsteps meeting the earth
Deep stillness of an
Early morning beech forest
Connected to the great silence
Of the universe
And within

No wind
Occasional buzz
Of an early wasp
or two
Last night’s rain drops
Drip
from the canopy above

Then the path goes steeply
Downhill
Slippery roots
Slippery rocks
Steep tree-strewn drop
On my side

Fear and anxiety
Make their presence known
Uncertain footsteps
The memory of yesterday
Alive
Throbbing
In my cells
As this part seems
To go on
Forever

Back to the still forest
Not quite so still anymore
The wasps’ buzzing
Has now swollen
To a chorus
An ever-present hum

Single bird calls
Refresh the air
Bellbird, grey warbler, tomtit

Stunning beauty
Vibrant greens
Mosses, lichen,
After the overnight rain

The final descent
Is a beauty
Once again
But thankfully
The forest floor is dry
And I feel I can trust
My feet
And the ground
Once again

Baptism by fire 2 (Day 22)

A gentle start
On a little beech clad path
As if in a park

Suddenly changes
As I find myself
Slipping
And tumbling
head over heels
Down a steep bank
And hanging
On my back
In a fork in the tree
That was just
Minding its own business
Growing out on a limb
From the side of the mountain

Then silence
“I hit my head on something soft”
I hear myself say
Checking limbs
No pain
Everything seems
To move OK
Once my friend has found her breath
She takes me through
The steps
To extricate myself,
With some puzzlement
Fuzzy thoughts and
Shaking fingers,
From the bits
Of my pack
Which get hauled up
The mountainside
From before the
Big rock that let me go

We manage to
Disentangle me
From the tree
With some assistance from a pole
Pushing a branch far enough
To lift my leg
Over it

I slide to the ground
And scramble
Up the slope
To be on the path once more
This time on the right side
Of the rock

Remedy to the rescue once more
For both of us
Sandie makes it safely
Over the rock
Assessment for damage
Renders surprisingly little result
Other than a couple of
minimal scratches
A very muddy
Backpack
And a shattered
Nervous system

Very thankful..
This could have been
So
Much
Worse

Mt. Rintoul part two (Day 21)

My friend on a narrow ridge
Atop the mountain
Buffeted and pinned
By howling gusts of
Gale force winds.
Once again terrified
I follow suit
As returning
Down the slope
just conquered
Seems worse than
Moving on

Finally on a top
We now face
A treacherous
Steep, rocky, scree-carpeted
Way down
So far that we can’t even see
Fellow tramper Sophia
At the bottom.

Progress is made
Once more slower than snails pace
Inching my way
Down
Down
Down
Thank goodness
The day is dry
So far.

At our lunch spot
Halfway down the mountain
We’re overtaken
By Peter
Lightfooted
Light packed
He swiftly
Disappears
out of sight

Once at the bottom
of this peak
We make the long track
up to another summit
With the wind now died down
And sun coming out at times
I realise
We’ve just finished
“Little Rintoul”
The most challenging part
Of the TA
HALLELUJA

The views are stunning
A sweet
2011 message in a bottle
Greets us at the top

When after ten hours
Rintoul hut
Is finally reached
the two crones of the TA
Are greeted warmly
by others who
Passed us today
Two bottom bunks
Saved for us
And two young guys
Ushered on to
The next hut
Because YOU CAN.
It’s a full house.

Mt.Rintoul part one (Day 21)

Clear sky around Rintoul
Promises a good day
For what’s been called
The most challenging
Part of the TA.
We set off in good spirit,
With optimism
And some trepidation

On the lower slope of the mountain
Gale force winds
Let rip

Here is the first
Of three baptisms
By fire

Being pinned
By gale force gusts
Of storm
To the sharp uneven
Unstable rocks
That are the path
On the lower slopes
Of what we think is Mt Rintoul
Is no joke

Taking a few uncertain steps,
When the wind
Lets up
From time to time,
In fear of being
Tossed aside
And rolling down
The ragged
Mountainside
Is terrifying
Hiking poles,
Feeling hopelessly
Inadequate to
Keep me safe,
Are dangling on
One arm
While I use all fours
To brace myself
Against the force of the gusts or
To scramble another couple of feet
Further up the mountain.

Can’t stop this madness
‘Cos’ my walking bud’s
Ahead of me
Bracing herself
Bent over
Legs wide apart
Hands gripping poles
With each howl
Cast
Like a giant spider
In moments of determination
To win this battle

Inching forwards
I finally
Reach the top
Of this rockfield
Exhausted
Traumatised
And in tears

Nothing a few drops of
Rescue Remedy won’t solve
And on we go

First rest and resupply days (16&17)Nelson

First things first:
In search of FOOD
Followed by a shower
and a THICK WHITE towel
And good night’s sleep
In a real bed

Resupply day is
A frantic affair
In an unfamiliar town
With unknown streets
And new shops
A visit to DOC
For the weather on
The Range

A most enjoyable
Dinner with
An old friend
And then
Packing, well into the night
For our first
Ten-day hike
With frightening amounts
Of food
To be found a place
In the packs
and
ON OUR BACKS!!

Mysterious disappearance

The mysterious disappearance

Of my precious
Inflatable
Pillow
Causing irrational
Irritability and
Frustration
How is it possible?
Such little space
So few belongings
And still
Items vanish
As if in a puff
Of smoke

I try to sleep
Or even just rest,
But with my head
On the rocks of my
Folded clothes
It’s all in vain
As the unfathomable
Little loss
Awakens
Feelings of
Powerlessness
in the many elements
Of this journey

Searching
For different possibilities
I finally rest
Knowing that
All will be well
In the end

Birthday on the trail (Day 14)

Sarah’s birthday was early on in our journey and could be celebrated. Several others won’t be: Fern’s, Emily’s and Holly’s birthdays will happen without mothers’ contact probably….

Kind and thoughtful Sandie
Spending the day before
Looking for
Little heartfelt
Treasures,
So she can weave
A surprise gift of
Love and wonder
For our friend
Who’s been battling
Uncooperative knees..

I find a tree card
and hearty leaf
We sing
our happy birthday song
which lands well

And is enhanced by the gift of
A remnant hut candle and biscuit
From Janosh and Symi, our TA friends,
Who gleefully
Enter into the spirit
Of the occasion.

Facing change (Day 13)

Struggling to face change
In pace, in plans
In dream of completing
In not being present
To the here and now
Of this pilgrimage
Trying to find a way
To move through this
First world
Struggle of mine
In the midst of
My mate’s  pain
As the main concern
For us all

Finally finding peace
In nature’s demand
To watch every step
Amongst the gnarled
Ever present tree roots
And rocks
That are the path

Finding joy
In nature’s plentiful
wonder
Showing up at every step
The pair of wood pigeons
Just sitting overhead
The friendly robin
Looking at us
With its little beady eyes
Playing hide and seek
Amongst the logs
The tiny tomtit
Showing itself
Black and white and flighty
In all its glory

Finding it in myself
Once again
To be open and present
For all of us

Realising the pilgrimage
Happens
Inside

Realising my banner
If I sported one
Would say
I’m walking
For freedom
Of mind

Finding mobile reception

Some updates from the last few weeks… it is not easy to find time and opportunity to enter posts. So I’ll start from the earlier ones and work my way towards the present while having some time out in Hanmer Springs with my friend Sarah, who is struggling with knee challenges.

From Rocks hut
Two venture out
To return to the spot
Not far back
Where reception
Presented itself.
In search for
Transport to Nelson
We trace back our steps
Up a small stream
With little waterfalls
And fluorescent greens
That was the track
Yesterday

Giving up after half an hour
We return
To find it atop
The lookout
Two minutes from
The hut’s
Back door

Transport arranged
We’ll be met
On Sunday on the track
From Hacket car park
Thank you Jocelyn!