Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Getting lost is good for you

Yesterday was my first solo hiking (tramping, as the locals say) adventure, and I spent most of it walking sideways. For four and a half hours, the wind blew incredibly hard, as if it were daring me to keep going.

The trail ran along the hilltops between Wellington City and the west coast. It offered a stunning view, but was very exposed with little shelter from the wind. It's hard to capture the strength of the wind in a photo. My windbreaker was flapping so hard, I thought it was going to tear.

Kiwi lesson #127: In a city that's known for its wind, try picking a calm day to tackle a hike on something called the Skyline Track.

This little butterfly was resting on a trail sign, and must have known I'm generally directionally challenged, and so it pointed me in the right direction. The track, which lead through forest, hillside and rural farmland, had markers every so often so you know you're still following the right path. A few times, though, the trail would split in two, with no marker in sight. 

I wanted to make sure I didn't end up like this guy. Most of the time, it was no problem. Once after walking about 20 minutes beyond such a fork in the road, the trail fizzled out and I looked up to see these fellas staring at me. 

I had been following a sheep trail. Whoops! The map was no help. Rather than backtrack, I decided to slide past my new friends, climb the hill and go in search of the track again. I found it at the very bottom of the other side of the hill, but had to backtrack even then when I realized there was a 10-foot drop into some prickly bush at the bottom.

The feeling of not knowing exactly where I was filled me with excitement and a little anxiety. I really had to focus. Once I got back on track, I felt at ease again, and the rest of the trip was just as beautiful. I found a thousand little red mushrooms of all shapes and sizes.

The best view was the clear outline of the South Island from my high vantage point. 

I usually like to know where I'm going, but getting off the beaten path, even a little, was a great adventure. I think we should all get lost once in a while. It's good for the soul. 


Dave said...

Like I need one more person telling me to get lost! :)

Anonymous said...

4.5 hrs lost. Hmmmm....I wonder why:
Jamie's Busted

Corey said...

Whoever did that is a genius. Bravo, anonymous...Bravo.

Arlene said...

I showed the pics to the boys (boys = Jeff and Jake) and they were both freakishly excited that the red mushroom with the white dots looks like the mushrooms from Super Mario Brothers. Little Jake wants you to eat it to see if you will grow. Jeff is only slightly against the idea. Gotta love my video game nerd family.