Going home (Day 90)

Today is the day
We’ve started
Making our way
Back home

Three months of
Walking
Cooking
Eating
Sleeping
Shopping
Negotiating and adjusting
Plans and expectations
Amongst three strong
And independent women
Is no small feat

Opportunities galore
To practise letting go
Being generous
Starting again

The many hearts
Seen on the journey
My reminders to let each be
In freedom and safety
Some remembered in time
Other occasions lost

I’m happy
I have lived the dream
Of walking the land
Of the country
I call home

I’m grateful
To have been able
To walk this journey
With two dear
Friends
To have been able  to share
Some of the
Indescribable beauty
With them

I’m ready to be
In my own space
Once again

Cycling to Bluff and back (Day 89)

Cycling the flatlands
Between Invercargill and Bluff
And back again in the rain

Misty wide views
Farm smells
Gravelly bike paths
The wind in my face
Legs pedaling
I’m used to this

I’m back riding to
And from school
Riding to do my shopping
Riding for pleasure
Riding to go anywhere
This is fun

The rain and the day
Coming to an end
Add some urgency
And a greater sense of risk
Keeping an eye
On trucks coming up
From behind

Pedaling fast and strong
Feeling fit
Healthy
Exhilarated

I am not a tramper (Day 87)

I’m not a tramper

I am just walking
This land
Responding to its call
That I hear
Each time I
Come home
From my motherland

I am climbing the hills
Descending the ridges
Following the valleys
Sometimes walking the roads

I am walking
River flats
River crossings
And through
River beds

I am walking
Scree slopes
Narrow ledges
On the side of
Precipitous slopes
Soft springy
Leaf covered bush paths

Negotiating
Swampy terrain
Boulders
Tree roots
Spikes of
Speargrass and
Matagouri
Tussock large and small
The path sometimes
Slippery from rain or
Loose stones

Feeling the sounds
Colours
Smells of
Everything the land
And all that lives here
Offers

Feeling the beauty
Available freely
Without me having to give
The right answers
Without me having to prove
Myself
To be worthy

Allowing tears
To flow
When it moves me
That I’m here
At all

I’m not a tramper
I am just
Walking
This land
Responding
To its call
And beauty

Today is a struggle (Day 81)

Today is a struggle
Pack heavy
Back sore
Hurt leg tight
And uncomfortable
Gut rumbling
Walking hard work

In need of a rest
After two and a half months
This is
Another six days
Of intense walking
Amongst ever-changing
Mindblowing
Natural beauty
Narrow ledges
Long and steep descents
On sheer mountain sides

I have reached
My limit
Of tolerance for
Scary experiences
Or even their
Possibility

Longing for a normal bed
For not moving on
For no conversation
For no opinions
For a day of just being
Alone

Early morning nature call (Day 79)

Lying awake in a dark tent
Putting off the inevitable moment
When the pressure in the bladder
Has to be relieved

It’s been raining in the night
My little low tent
Is hard to get out of
At the best of times
Even more so
When the flap is wet
And the ground is wet
And I want to stay dry

Finally I give in
Unzip the sleeping bag
Wriggle out of the silk sack
Or so I think
Unzip the tent
Put crocks outside
Hands out
One in each crock
In protection from
Wet and muddy ground

Crouching
One foot comes through
The tent door
Balancing on one foot and
One hand
On the ground
The other foot comes through

Oops tent mesh caught
Under the heel
Quickly resolved
Or so I think

In the dark
I fumble towards
The shrubs by the tent
A little pee in the grass
Won’t do any harm

Crouching once again
Relieving the said pressure
I notice something behind me
And realise
It was my silk sack
That was caught
In my crock
Under my heel
And it had not been
Released

And now
I’m peeing
All over it

Fumbling attempts
To rescue the sack
Yield little success

It seems that Sunday
Will be
Washing day

Motatapu track (Days 73 – 75)

“Challenging
For experienced trampers
Day one is the easiest
Day two is more arduous and challenging
Day three with its long sidling sections along steep mountainsides
Requires care and concentration”
Say the track notes
This section started with some trepidation..

When the wind picks up with gale force gusts on day one
I remember Little Rintoul
And walk, sometimes shuffle
Leaning into the mountainside
On my bit of track
No wider than my two feet
Holding on to rock or tussock
In fear of rolling down the slope

Rescue remedy does wonders
Once again
I can walk on the track
Like I would if it did not have
A precipice on my right
And stop to stand in awe
Of the environment
Once more

Saddle reached
We see what the notes mean by
Steep descent

With a tight stomach
once again,
I don warmer gear
So the cold won’t be
A distraction

Trying to put off
The moment
There is only one way onwards
And down we go

Relief:
The ground underfoot
Is not as slippery
Nor the gradient as steep
As anticipated
My step more confident
And skilled

This is simply more
Of what I have completed
Successfully
Before

I can do this..

With the hut in sight,
The last steep downhill
To be negotiated,
I see an easier way
And stumble
Over my pole
That gets stuck
In a bush.

The smack onto the stoney ground
Is accentuated by
The heavy pack on my back

The cold water of the stream below
A welcome relief
For a swiftly swelling shin

Thankfully the knee is fine
The walk on day two
Approached
With relative confidence
Once we’ve waited
For the rain
And clouds
To clear

Any pain soon forgotten
In an unforgettable
Environment
The physical challenge of
A long steep climb
Followed by another
Long ridgeline descent
Is more than awarded
By the feast for
Eyes and soul
All around

The final day
Long and narrow sidles
Up and down precipitous mountain sides
Confirm the need
For care and concentration
Not one but two
Massive hills
To climb and descend

Fit and capable by now
Walking this land
Is once again
Exhilarating

Bush wisdom (Day 71)

In the midst of the forest
Trees toppled
Amongst the others
Across the river
Across the path
Strewn here and there
In all directions

Walkers walk on
Over
Around
Or under
Part of their
Their journey

Life continues to
Sprout
Around
Old and rotting stumps

The river finds
Its way down
Over
Around
Or under
Rocks     boulders
Tree trunks

Streaming through
Waterfalls
Swirls, eddies
Seemingly still pools
Continuing
Its path
Of least resistance
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