I’m now dreaming constantly of walking, this time pushing through scree, trapped and not getting very far. I’m either a full-time pedestrian even while sleeping or I need a psychological break – or maybe more accurately, a revamping of my psychological approach.
All was fine yesterday until I did what I’ve often done – believe the hardest part was completed only to discover the trail wasn’t quite finished with me. After Kuakua, I nearly bonked needing to climb higher in the hot sunshine. I’m going to have to find a way to ensure I’m pacing myself or I’ll bonk while supine in bed.
Perhaps it’s because something momentous is happening in finishing the first island, but the magnitude of what I’ve completed coupled with the magnitude of what’s ahead is hard to comprehend and there’s a part of me that’s skeptical of my success, certain I was just lucky in making it all come together.
Maybe I need to remind myself that trail is walked one step at a time – and starting Monday, it will be in brand new La Sportivas and fresh pairs of socks.
We laze around late and I search online for hints from other walkers who got scared halfway through before Raf pops out of their bedroom dressed to go. He’s sporting a backpack and gets me out of my funk by walking us out into the brilliant sunshine and cool wind.
We eat poached eggs with bright orange yolks on potato crumb-cake at Leafee, before visiting the botanical gardens filled with an astonishing array of succulents. From the spectacular view above the harbor, we take the cable car to the CBD, on the hunt for sungloves (no luck) and to simply be tourists.
Nicola and her sister pick me up for lunch in Miramar at the Chocolate Fish, made famous by a famished ‘Lord of the Rings’ cast. I am planning on doing a project with Nicola, a pianist who teaches at Carleton College, along with a Wellington composer named Gareth Farr. He’s on vacation, but we came up with a game plan over Trevelly flash sammies and I’m over the moon excited.
Sarah is not a musician, so talks about different topics like how Kiwis feel connected to land and sea, and very much to each other. It’s deeply embedded in their souls to look out for their fellow man and it explains why I have experienced such generosity of spirit while in this country.
We drive along the coasts and into the little bays strung like pearls along the dry, rocky shore. People swim in the turquoise water, even next to the airport runway. We come as far as Owhiro Bay, a place Gareth lived and wrote a beguiling piano miniature to describe it in tones.
They deliver me back to Raf and Laura’s, where we clean and sort my gear, mend the tears in my pants from nearly two months ago, figure out my resupply boxes – three need to be sent ahead with a week’s food in each – repack the bounce box heading to Wanaka and generally get my head wrapped around what’s next.
After dinner, Raf and I climb up the hill to Wadestown with all the lovely houses perched on the hill watching what we watch: the sky turning pink and purple over this stunning gem of a city.
Raf tells me about his own stress and how he’s learned to live with it and I tell him that I’m actually not a great planner. I’m too ‘big picture.’ In fact, spreadsheets don’t work for me, though messy ‘to do’ lists on the back of envelopes do. The stress I felt this morning comes from knowing I have details to attend to, but have not yet sat down to figure out how to attend to them. Once I do this evening, I feel powerful and accomplished.
So the day turns out to be exquisite, ending with the famous Wellington wind shaking the townhome as it fills it with fresh, sweet-smelling coolness. I hike some of the trail without really trying and I find pieces of the puzzle – my project of walking a thru-hike and my larger artistic project – coming together organically. I am indeed pulling it together, but in my own style.
And that’s just fine.