As I’ve become older I realise that it’s not imperative to march on day after day.

These last six days haven’t been massive in terms of the time spent in motion but the load aboard, all that bland food and the energy expenditure in maintaining progress in the various scrub immersions, there were three scrub bashings required yesterday, tend to drain the reserves. My hands and lower arms are well scratched up and the feet, well, it’s best to keep that dry pair of socks on, they are a particularly ugly sight after my major tramping kilometres since the start of spring.

Down here, just below the 47° S mark, there’s another issue to contend with. It’s somewhat hard to adjust to getting sufficient sleep when there’s only about six hours of true darkness, about 11 pm to 5 am, you really need a blindfold to help nod off when your body is insisting it has had sufficient for the day, rather than what your mind is assuming, ie, it’s still light, big boys don’t go to bed when the sun is still shining.

After a late breakfast the rain started, it’s very different style of day from yesterday, the wind blowing and precipitation continued for the next four hours. In these circumstances there is little option except stay confined in The Coffin, my small one person tent that does not allow the pleasure of sitting upright, you just wiggle around the undulations on the ground, peering extensively at maps, reading all the annotations on one map more than a few times, writing this, listening to the radio where I can pick up a few stations, Radio NZ, my main focus despite all this Christmas filler recycled at this time of year, talk back, err, can’t stand ads, and there’s always the racing channel loud and clear, or Radio Rhema, do some planning for the next week or so, I’m a bit of the planner.

After lunch I have a snooze and when I wake the rain has stopped, the wind has lessened and I was released from my confines for a while. I find it completely foggy, hardly visibility to the end of the clearing, no point in trying to find the old tin mine up the hill, might as well just head back inside for another nap.

One thing about a day like this, noticing time passing slowly, is that you pay attention to anything that happens around you that would normally be drowned out by your usual amount of activity: changes in the wind, the sound of raindrops on the tent, a bird’s flight, or song, the taste of your food, the tannic smell of the water. It feels useful just get back from the standard level of life activities and concentrate on some basic and timeless things and remember that not so long ago this is what life was like for most people, before distractions turned our lives into a blur of sensations.

It was that particularly languorous style day, I guess I needed it.

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A guide to the night’s accommodation: Tramline campsite

You kind of feel you are at the end of the Earth here. Guess you are. | Tramline campsite, Tin Range, Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island
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