As things both good and bad tend to do, this trip is winding its way to a conclusion.
Yesterday I had two more nights, and the patch of bog to traverse. This morning the equation is easier. Just the stroll back along the railway line, and a night in a well-appointed hut. Out tomorrow.
It’s obvious that your mind adjusts to the length of any tramp. The first leg of this Southern excursion was an overnight to Mount Brown Hut.
Up. Have a look. Oh, we are going down now.
The Copland was a two night. That was three reasonably lengthy walking days, but not far from civilisation.
This trip is eight nights, nine days, with all except my rest day at Waitutu Hut full of energy expenditure.
At the end of Day 3 arriving at Waitutu Hut the first time around I still had almost a week to go.
And this is the first tramp since I started this website that I haven’t taken my little radio to keep up with the world events and the weather prospects.
Have I missed it?
I’ve become saturated with the general shenanigans of the world. I’m constantly flicking to what’s going on when I’m in front of the screen back home.
Actually when I’m not “working” I spend a great deal of time in front of my big screen doing website updates, or editing books. Screen has dominated my life in the last few years as bandwidth has increased.
So this trip has been my first big switch off for a while, and I’ve been totally disconnected with the outside world.
Instead, I had to deal with my immediate surroundings. Notice what is going on with me, rather than the wider world. And for once I haven’t spent much time thinking of the future, or the past.
There’s plenty to occupy me in the present.
As light slowly increases, enough to write by now, I look across the little north-facing clearing with its little lakes in the hollows to the swingbridge over the Wairaurahiri River, with the sound of the river running quickly past dominant, although there are a few bird calls punctuating the gentle background roar.
I liked my first morning here, with the frost forming as I watched sufficient to cover the dark paint on the roof. This morning it’s an expected Southland gloom.
Misty, err, humidity that doesn’t quite qualify to be turned drizzle, although when I examine it closely it is generally falling.
It’s a picture of serenity that just can no longer occur in the city. We are overloaded with sensation, and that all lives in our head.
Out here it is manageable. Bellbirds call. My jandalled feet feeling the cold. Sips of strong coffee. The sensation of my skin where numerous divets have been removed, and where it has been ripped by an occasional encounter with bush lawyer’s tiny thorns.
This screen time detoxification is doing its thing. And being alone now for four nights has meant no distractions.
I chose to be here, at this time in the middle of winter.
Yeah, I’m feeling great.
One of the calmest moments of my life.
Next on the itinerary will be a big two weeks on Stewart Island/Rakiura with most of that doing a circuit of the top half of the island.
I’m undecided about taking my radio in the future. Maybe I should extend this estrangement from the outside world.
Here’s my reality.
Wet clothes. Wet boots. And stepping out into the drizzle.
Now that’s living.