but you are alone
TA km # 957, Tiroa Station,
Currently listening to Rhianna on radio, we fell in love in a hopeless place.
So I figured I’d just go ahead and start walking on my own this morning and so I did.
If you are wondering about what a Tiroa Station is or Rhianna on radio for that matter, I’ll get to it momentarily.
Patience is a virtue, especially when you are a distance hiker; even more so when you are a distance hiker whose most anticipatory time of the day is dinner time and if you are the type who would forget to pack the most crucial of ingredients for your dinner.
One could say that without my spice/soup powder mixture I basically just have some hot water and egg noodles.
Yup. That’s where was at about half hour ago. I opened my food bag, boiled the water, took out the noodles only to realize I had forgotten the most crucial part of my dinner back at the hostel. Usually I keep it in a zip lock bag but decided this morning to transfer the contents into a plastic container after having added some delicious dal makani mixture and some ground cumin to the already delicious melange. I was so looking forward to it this evening after a very long day.
Oh ya, I hiked about 44 kms today. That’s about 25 miles to those of you who refuse to learn your metrics. Dinner time is about the most anticipated time for any long distance hiker. It signals much needed nourishment and the impending moment when you get to be sated and horizontal…
I am sated and horizontal but that’s partly due to some ad-hoc dinner. For the record I did not just have plain boiled egg noodles. Fortunately I had packed out some lentil humus for lunch and also had some aged cheddar. So for dinner this evening it was noodles cooked in. Cheese sauce with lentil paste.
It wasn’t so bad. It was hot, filling, and theoretically contains at least some nourishment I neeed to replenish for tomorrow. Six more days before I can resupply. Winning trail!
So what about Rhianna? Well I wrote yesterday that interesting trail magic happens to me when I hike alone.
I had every intention of hiking the next 14 kms to the Department of conservation field base off the highway, fading sunlight be damned. So what if it was 8 pm already; I was on a gravel road headed for a state highway, there was plenty of battery life left in my flash light and I had a veninson burger with two fried eggs for breakfast this morning, and a ginger beer. Game on.
There was so much water on this trail-in fact I was following a bucolic river, the type you’d expect to sirens, like in the movie o brother where art thou?, pop out, expect they would be kiwi or possibly Maori and it would have been awesome.
But I’d take the pretty river anyway over a siren fantasy. Curious that when there is ample water around you never really get thirsty. I hiked the first twenty kms without drinking water and finished all I carried, every bit of those two liters, within the next. Part of it was that I had to get off the bush and the cover of shade and start trekking on gravel road. I also had to just straight up hand over hand climb, using thick patches of grass as both hand and footholds to make my way up a 200 m accent. Even though the climb was sheer I had seen some wild goat do the climb when they saw me approach and figured I got enough goat in me to get’er done.
It was thirsty work, itchy too. I think I am allergic to new Zealand.
There was suppose to be a steam coming up in ten kms so ifigured it was safe bet to drink all my water. Of course the stream was on private property and I just couldn’t get myself to wander in there. Call it part of the apprehension of hiking while non white. You never know when someone might misinterpreted your presence on their property, but this was new Zealand and I would have been probably ok.
Still, I was amazed at my hesitation and was sad about my racial conditioning and insecurity. Not fun.
So I kept walking knowing that I had a filter and it is only really ten km. I won’t die of thirst.
It was seven pm. I had two liters of water in my system, few small chocolate bars and a muffin bake bar since breakfast back at the hostel. Being hungry and thirsty and itchy and alone on a dirt road is not fun. To make matters worse a young bull had escaped his confines and I had to play cowboy for a good two kms, hoping that he won’t realize that I’m no match for his brute black Angus strength if he decides not to share the narrow road with me. That was actually exhilarating.
It made me forget my thirst and hunger for a bit. Fear is a great distraction. And then I saw some after drip from a high bush rock wall, I was hopeful. Maybe if I just make a funnel I can fill up my soft plastic and use my Sawyer.
God invented Sawyer mini filter for preciseky these moments when you look at water running off sheep and cattle paddocks as a viable option to quench ur thirst.
Location and behold the smart new Zealand farmers had constructed drainage canals along the dirt roads that collected the water into a larger drain pipe that redirected the run of pack into the near by river. Cleber, efficnet buggers, bless them all.
So I sat there, collected and filtered water from the drainage pipe, are my lunch of cured meat, lentil humus and Tortola.a single Tortola since I only have five more left and they have to last the next five days.
I filled up two liters of water and decided to hike to the DOC base.
Listened to Beethoven’s appasionata / sonata 23 –the only piece of music on my phone and may I add the it is the best-for an hour. I figured that’s a useful way of timing my pace.i hiked 6.3 km in that hour. Only 1.5 km to go to state highway and then hopefully a hitch so that no body runs me over or take the risk and walk the rest of the 13 k to the base.
There was a sound of an ATV so I moved to the side but a Maori man with a disarming smile pulled up right next to me and asked me if I’d like to stay at the their field office for the cattle and sheep station. He had seen me walking on the road and decided to ride after me from his home to offer me a place to stay.
How awesome is this country?! At the Tiroa Station there are over 25000 heads of cattle and sheep and the station is well over 6 000 acres.
Wayne had seen other TA walkers go along this dirt road and had decided this year that he would offer them a place to stay inside.
There is a radio here. Thus, Rhianna.i just heard that George Michael has died this morning. That bit of news seems so distant where I am..
I had cheese soup with noodles for dinner and am listening to radio inside a sheep station. Life is pretty good at this moment.
It’s lovely to be alone.