A different kind of travelogue. As an avid young traveller I often wondered what would it would be like when I got older, gathered commitments, created children and accrued debt. This is what it's like.
You have got to Love New Zealand.
I live in Australia. I work in the dry, dry desert. This landscape in utterly ancient, it is low, its is dry, it is fascinating. It is not New Zealand.
New Zealand is some sort of antidote to Australia. The landscape is fresh, its properly pointy, snow tipped pointy, its wet, its fascinating.
I’m not long back from an fantastic 8 day trip to New Zealand with my father. This trip has been, and continues to be, a very interesting turning point in my efforts to carry less baggage.
To try to to pull all of that together into one little story seems impractical and an opportunity/opportunities wasted. Instead I will try to tease out the multiple strands in a series of littler stories.
This not a spontaneous microadventure, this was a walk 8 months in the planning.
My father is almost entirely responsible for getting me out into the wilds. There are stories and myths a plenty to be recounted. But now, right now, things are at a turning point for him too.
Hugh, my beloved father, turned 67 this year. Things are changing for him. He is on his own journey. It’s not the same as mine. My father is also on a spiritual journey. Being on the trail with a meditator was new to me. It completely transformed the shape of the walking day. It placed a series of demands on the body, the mind and the relationship. We did this on a multi-day walk around the well know Caple Track and Greenstone Track. These are popular South Island “Tramping” tracks which are just south of the rather famous Routeburn Track which is one of the so-called “Great Walks”.
We both have “Creaky Bits”; parts of our bodies that groan and clunk in a less than super-athlete kind of way. Our plans changed repeatedly before we got going. We had planned to to a well trodden loop walk up the Rees River as far as the Cascade Saddle and back down the Dart. A very large slip changed that, closing the Dart Valley Track.
So we ended up on the Caples-Greenstone loop with the intention of spending as much time up some more challenging tracks if our bodies allowed it. They did. Every side track is a story in itself. Every night had a lesson. Every day was full of talk, which is unusual for my father and I at the moment. My father is almost deaf. Except when it wasn’t full of talk. We were in one of those parts of the South Island that is cursed with Sandflies. To watch my father meditating for at least half an hour twice a day on the trail, in the rain and beset by these blood munchers was a thing to behold.
There were a few lessons learned in South Island.