I love that New Zealand has funny words for regular things. Tramping is what they call hiking. So, I was a tramp in New Zealand…hehe. I also often act and think like a 14 year old girl. No shocks for regular readers.
Rewind to last year and I went to an information session at Sass Place West Lakes. It was the information night for Wise Women Walking – Big Heart Adventures. Led by the big haired, big hearted and big laugh Lisa.
As soon as Lisa started talking i knew that this was a person with passion. Lisa and I had been doing Yoga classes together for some time, but hadn’t gotten to know each other because for a pair of chatterboxes Yoga is our quiet/down time.
I can’t help but LOVE people who get excited about the things they love. It draws me in and sometimes I wonder whether it’s that energy that attracts me rather than the activity itself.
I joked in New Zealand that it was Lisa’s passion rather than the hiking that drew me in and that I was going to completely abandon the hobby when I returned to Australia. News Flash ; I’ll keep hiking. Let’s just give my poor old knees a little break first.
At the info night a lady got up and spoke about how much the Queen Charlotte track had changed her. How she loved the challenge. I was incredibly moved and shed a tear or two. Then kind of filed away that part of the info. My mind was spinning and I was completely terrified and thrilled at the idea of going to New Zealand. We were asked what would be a barrier or main concern about the trip.
People had lots of answers, finances, time, fitness levels and other things you would expect. I wrote down “sore feet”. I can’t stand sore feet. My feet were fine 🙂
When I got in the car and faced my husband with a beaming smile he gave me the look like “what the fuck is she up to now? ” but he smiled and nodded and went along with my flat out chatter.
I had decided I was going.
Then the training began.
Here’s the hot tip : DO THE TRAINING. DO THE TRAINING. DO THE TRAINING!
Honestly if I hadn’t done the training I wouldn’t have finished the whole 72 plus KM. It had never occurred to me that I wouldn’t do the whole track, I just hadn’t entertained that idea.Why fly to another country, leaving my family behind to not finish what I had started.
I almost didn’t finish.
We’ll come back to that bit.
New Zealand is absolutely breathtaking, seriously. You hear how “beautiful” it is from people but the reality is,it far exceeded any expectations I had.
From the minute the Island came into view from the plane window I was awe struck. Stunning.
I had focused so much on this being a hiking adventure I seemed to not actually take in the itinerary. There were a few days before the track that were spent going to the Te Papa museum and Zest walking food tour.The guide at the Museum was a fascinating character, I probably wouldn’t have given a single fuck about Maori culture if it had been some middle aged white man telling the stories. This Maori woman made me care deeply about her people, in fact I actually felt down after the tour. So sad.
The Zest food tour was OK. The coffee roasting guy was amazing! passionate and entertaining I could have listened to him go on about coffee all day. It was good to see parts of Wellington, but if I had skipped this bit I wouldn’t have felt my trip was lacking.
You wonder how I could have possibly gained over 3kg in 11 days whilst doing a massive hike right? Food!! OMG! hahaha. So good. We ate in the restaurant at Rydges hotel, we ate at fine dining restaurants and we ate at the lodges along the track. Most often 3 courses each meal. Not bad for a self professed non sweet eater! Plus I drank the local wines, loads of it. Yes, no fucks given about that. It was enjoyable.
I think I would have preferred to go straight into hiking and leave all the other bits and pieces til the end. By the time we were ready to start the track I was antsy, maybe even a little agitated and wanting to “crack on with it”.
Anyway, I write like I talk, all over the place. Day 4 and we headed to the Ferry from North to South Island. My mind was again blown. Sun setting in the sounds, calm water. Like nothing I had ever seen. It touched my soul. Something I’ll never forget.
Staying at Jasmine Court Motel, Picton that evening ready to start the hike the next day.
This is where I mention my room buddy. When signing up for this adventure I didn’t think about how group dynamics might work. Like most people I was focused on myself, my fitness, my training and making sure everything at home would run smoothly whilst I was away for 11 days. Remembering I have 3 kids at home and one with complex care needs.
My room buddy was AWESOME, respectful, easy going, with the added bonus of being bloody hilarious at times. Thank the Gods! Can you imagine sharing a room with a twat for 11 days? I might love her a bit, but don’t tell her. If the walls could talk! Our story hasn’t ended. We have plans.
The other ladies were all amazing too, bringing various quirks and passions. We had a world traveller, with engaging stories and fabulous dry humour. A teacher who had given so much love to family and students and now it was her time to give love to herself. A passionate, tambourine playing librarian,with a beautiful and often hilarious take on life. Last but not least a business owner with as much invested in her business as her family who she clearly adored, in spite of some challenges. I could bang on about all the amazing things I learnt about these Women but that is their story to tell.
Had it not been for the Queen Charlotte Track we would have never met and that would be a very sad tale indeed. My life is definitely richer for having shared this adventure with them. I still believe we meet people for a reason and that the exact people who were meant to be on this track were there.
Here we are 600 + words later and I haven’t even spoke of the hike itself. It was hard.
I am tempted to leave it at that and tell you to go and do it yourself, but hard can mean a million things to a million people. It was glorious. The ferns, THE FUNGI,the waterfalls, the fresh air and the VIEWS! OH MY GOD! There were times when my small mind couldn’t take in the sheer beauty. I can say with hand on heart I have never seen anything so beautiful, ever. I still feel like I am processing the beauty.
I went to the track with questions. Some of those answered immediately and some that may never been answered. The thing with hiking and pushing ourselves to do new things is it creates a space for new ideas and new opportunities.
Will I ever do it again? No. Hahahaha. Maybe. Who knows.
Would I recommend for people I know to do it? Absolutely. Train. Go with an open mind and my biggest tip : Go with no expectations.
It was a great trip.
Almost forgot, I nearly didn’t do the last 20 km, my knee was fucked. Swollen and painful. I had a real struggle mentally and went over and over the pros and cons. Luckily after a day of rest, some voltaren and strapping I was good to go. The only thing holding me back was a panic attack and anxiety.
I know right?!! A perfect holiday, everything amazing and then anxiety. Bah!! So I did what I do best, soldiered on, breathed and climbed a fucking mountain. I laughed at how many times that track was an analogy for my life. So many ups and downs. But the views from the top! Worth it. So worth it.
And here we are I’m home with the same quote popping in and out of my head “if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you”. Am I changed? You betcha, but that’s another story.