Day 22. Rain? What Rain?

9:55pm

I set my alarm to wake up at 8am but I woke up at 7:30 instead because it seemed the world around me was up and moving.

I knew I had to get all my things packed and return a tag from my tent by 10am. So I needed to move quick. I was hoping Christian would sleep in a bit. I know many people think it’s too cramped etc to sleep in the back of a car, but at least you’re out of all the weather.

(I got a couple hours of sleep last night. We plan to do some huge hike tm. One of the hikes is 2200 steps up this mountain.. kill me. Can’t. Stay. Awake. But we need to leave at a decent time the the morning. Le sigh.)

7:42am (talking about the day before)

So I got most of everything packed but I need to tryyy and let my tent dry out before I put it away.

I go and take my key back and get a text from Christian that he just parked some place and crawled in the back to sleep. He would come in a bit and to take my time. Cool. We talked about going to a grocery store and picking up some more food. I finally get all the stuff in my backpack and he arrives. Right on time.

I heave my backpack on and when we get to his car I lay it down on his air mattress in the back.

It’s nice to be in a car again instead of hauling everything on my back. He wanted to head to a second hand shop to get another backpack or something he can put everything in to fly home. It’s right before the town anyway. His car was broken into a little bit ago in a nice neighborhood where no one even locks their front doors. I guess I can’t say broken into because the doors weren’t locked. But all they took was hisbackpack. Had a few of his clothes in it, but most importantly it didn’t have any money or his passport in it. Thank the lord.

Keep in mind all of my technology says it’s supposed to rain all day. There were clouds but wasn’t raining. Hm

We go in and look around this thrift shop. Head towards the back we find some big old suitcases for $5. He grabs a big green one. Tests out the sturdy ness of it and takes it. I try on a $20 sport coat.. and say “what do you think? A new classy hiker?” Lol. I really should have taken a picture.

We head out of there and go to the grocery store next door. He heads right for the apples and I head towards the peaches. Their peaches are Amazing. I get a few then get a few apples. I get a tiny bit more than I usually would only knowing that we will put it in his car and will be eating on the way. I also get a bag of chips, two blueberry muffins and some mango fruit juice. I love me some mango.

I can’t really tell that I’m losing weight except that my pants are now relative big and I keep trying to tighten up my belt. It’s hard to tighten and takes a while so I usually just give up and leave them a tiny bit baggy. I also noticed in the shower that my legs were all of a sudden much more muscular! 😂 Kind of surprised me actually. Look at those calfs! I was doing 60 push-ups in the morning and at night till I came to NZ. it seems my arm and chest muscle has been migrating to my lower half. Ah well. The muscles I most use I guess.

We take off in the car heading to Mount Cook. About a 2ish hour drive north.

It seems the clouds in the distance are all around us except for over us. The weather is perfect and sunny.

We stop like tourists every time we see a scenic view. I think we stopped 6 times. Lol

We just talk about life and for a bit I plug my phone into his strep system and we listen to some of Mere Christianity. We says someone told him to stop off at this ‘Clay Cliffs’ area. Sure ! About an hourish into our drive.

We pull off where the sign says and drive down a gravel road for what seems to be a long time. I guess this hike / view thing is on someone else’s property. There is a gate and it says to put $5 in the metal pole for cars and $20 for busses or walk there. We look up how far it is to walk. Ehhh I’ll just pay the five bucks. I get out as he puts the money in the slot and I go over and take the chain off the gate and open it. Must be nice having a bit of extra cash to have a neat view on your property. Closing the gate behind his car I hop back in and we head out. I’m kind of glad we paid the $5 instead of walking because the sun is hot! We drive about 10 min down this windy gravel road and see these odd looking cliffs.

They remind me of a giant ant hill or bee hive. Lol I guess they are made of clay?

Oh yea, Christian walked barefoot. Lol. I used to have enough calluses on my feet to do that when I took tar Kwon do and had to walk around barefoot.

As we got closer this place reminded me of a Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk gets beamed down to another planet that looked like these cliffs.

We wind our way up in the car and come to a dead end where people have left their cars. We go on foot from here. I grab a bottle of water and we head out. It’s only a 10 min walk before we get to this:

Haha. Photo by Christian. We meet a couple people on the way and I take several photos of a girl who plans to move to LA in a few months.

Just past that clay wall it looks like a dead end. But I could hear someone using their drone. Gahhh … I neeeed to go get mine. It slips my mind that I have one while enjoying the scenery. I also have to remember to take more photos because I’m usually so in the moment.

We take the quick hike back to the car to get my drone and he takes off his shirt. “I only have a few good shirts, don’t want to get this one sweaty” I wish I could do that or I would would be wearing a bright red T-shirt for a few days.

It’s basically a big dead-end but just beyond the left spike of clay there was a further ‘room’ to go up a gravely incline. The higher the better! I’m now equipped with my drone. I climb to the to of the last room and take a picture looking backward:

Sooo. Lol. In this ‘room’ I’m in. I try to setup my drone. There is 0 flat ground in the entire area. I take it out and have it in one hand and my case less phone attached to the controller in the other. Two very important and expensive things. So I have them in each hand trying to climb kinda wet / gravely / clay ground. Not my best idea.. I set the drone down on a slanted but grass less area. I have both feet planted in a groove and set it on a title higher ledge. One foot braces down lower and one foot up a little higher than where the drone would be still in the groove. Hard to explain. I cross my fingers and start the motor. Tip. When using a drone, as soon as the propellers start, it hops a little. Why didn’t I notice that before? Wellll it hops itself right down to were my legs are and the blades start slicing into my right calf. Lol. Ouch! I’m glad that it popped up with a propeller error and stopped though. Didn’t realize the tiny props were so sharp!

besides the bloody slices, I’ve decided it’s a thing that when I get too hot I unzip my lower portion of pants and just let them drop. Lol

Wellll that failed. Drone got a bit dirty but was ok. I hadn’t given up yet. I climbed a bit higher, but came to the conclusion there was no decent place to set it. I knew a spot in the first room that I could have but I got too greedy. Now that I think about it. I could have set the thing out by the car and just flew it in…whyyy do I feel like I physically need to be there to get the shot. Just a natural thing I guess. Not used to not having to be where a picture is taken.

I slide down the clay hill on my butt with both expensive toys in my hand being supperrr careful not to drop either one. I put them back in their cases and back in my backpack to go further down. Safer and smarter.

Meanwhile Christian is climbing rocks like a monkey and has sat and laughed at me from his high wall. Very impressive that he is doing all this barefoot.

I get to a nice flat spot and set it up my drone again. Boom. Flies perfectly. Connects to gps. And up up and away!

I take some video clips and download a few photos to my phone.

Why do I find it necessary to hide the controller in my pictures? I guess I feel like it ruins the magic. Lol..? Like who took that picture from 200ft in the air??

I make quick work because we had already been at his ‘short stop’ for several hours. 😅

Heading backdown to the car:

Still. An awesome view. Everywhere I look is like eye candy for me.

We start driving again and make our way back to the main road and continue on. We take a few more stops. We can see it raining ahead. Of course there has to be a rainbow. With some tweaks of contrast and a very subtle vignette:

Cooool! I guess under water is where skittles are made.

Also the color of the water is that same color, ya crazy!

We start to feel VERY small.

Almost there!

We finally pull into this small campground.

The mountains are so high they go right into the clouds. You would think it would be colder? I guess his is also is a do it yourself campground. Fill out info on a tag and put your money in a small plastic bag ($13 / night) and put it in a metal pole.

Anti Igor sign:

We were told to come to this campground and do the Hooker trail. 😂 I kid you not.

It seems most people down find this as funny as I do.

I get my stuff out which is still wet so I lay it out before putting my tent up.

Nice view eh?

Christian starts to make food for us, shells and spaghetti sauce. I tell him he doesn’t have to feed me, but he said package was more than he could eat anyway. So while I setup and dry everything he is slaving over his hot portable stove. Lol

There is another German guy in a rented van beside us. We start talking and he offers some beer to us. It starts to rain. We open the hatch on the back of both vehicles and try to stay dry while chatting, watching the clouds roll over the mountain as and Christian has a small speaker that is playing some good beats.

Full heart. Happy belly.

It rained all night. Some of the stuff I had on was damp but it quickly dried once I got in my tent and tried blogging. Lol.

Thoughts:

It’s pretty crazy how meeting people broadens anything you could do in your own life.

Talk to people. It’s extremely hard for me, but I understand the benefits of having new people with new life experiences and things that they can add to your life are really priceless. All you have to do is say something.

The two guys have been waiting on me for the past hour and a half, while speaking German and eating.

Word of the day:

The more that we allow our hearts to expand to love, deeply appreciate, and feel inextricably tied to the places, things and people of this world, the more we are likely to take a stand on behalf of what we value.

KRISTI NELSON

9:27am

Day 21. Evening and Coincidence?

10:42pm

I left off makin my sammiches. I decided I was hungry so I ate one and a lil banana. I took the bag of food back to my tent and I just kind of sat there and sulked. It’s supposed to rain for at least the next 3 days. What the Hope Hike supposed to do if he can’t hike? I just started scrolling though Facebook. Sigh. So many issues and drama. It wasn’t making me feel better at all but pulling drama into my life from half way around the world. I thought.. I should be scrolling through the Bible app instead of Facebook. Cheesy honest moment. I read a devotional every morning. You can find reading plans in the app for about anything. I finished up my last one, “Undaunted Life: A Mans Devotional” and searches for another. I LOVED the book Wild At Heart and a plan popped out at me, “Wild Life, with John Eldridge”. (Same author as Wild at Heart) So I read the first day and watched a video. After that, I felt like I should go out and wonder around Wanaka and do some thinking.

I got out of my tent and put in one headphone and started listening to Mere Christianity again and left the other headphone out so people would actually be ok talking to me. You know those people that go everywhere with earphones in and you feel really rude talking to them because they have to turn off their music or take their headphones off kinda people? Not me.

It was supposed to rain and I had a little backpack on with a liter of water and some snacks and a poncho just in case the rain got heavy.

I figured I would just head to some scenic lookouts and take a few pictures. Walking through town I see a bunch of stores selling Merino Wool and Possum Hair clothing??

Pretty weird. Yet I have felt it and it’s reallyyy soft and warm. Maybe that’s why it’s so expensive and you get paid so much for possum hair?

I head through town and start walking through parks.

On my little map I a trail that leads around the entire lake shoreline. I saw a sign and it said it was a trail that went the entire distance of the north and sound island. Hm that would have been kind of cool. I continue walking next to the lake.

I probably walk on this trail for at least an hour. I see on my map that there is a scenic lookout ahead. I would prefer it to not be around people. There are benches scattered along the shore and it comes to a bend and I go down the bank and walk across some large rocks to the shore. This is where I spend the bulk of my time.

It’s so peaceful. I stopped listening to anything in my headphones. I sit on a large rock and put my feet on smaller rocks beside it just enough that when the small waves come in they barely touch the soles of my boots. I then really want to take a log exposure picture on my phone like on the Wanaka brochure. I realize the old one I used went out of date so I’m trying to download a new free app for long exposures. Took a few min but I got one. I realize after I experiment that it’s not really a long exposure app, it just tries to blend seconds together, not really increasing the light as the shutter stays open. Ah well. What can you expect. I took a nice time lapse of the waves and this over edited photo:

It’s relaxing just listening to the water. The sky always seems so menacing but never really rains. (Like it was supposed to) Clouds just roll along. It was about 8:15pm when I took that last picture. I should get going now, it’s going to be dark soon.

As I walk back, it gets darker and darker. I have a little pocket light beside my pocket knife, just in case but I never really pull it out to use it. The light from the moon is plenty light enough. It starts to spit rain so I put on my jacket and my texting gloves. Lol

So. There I am walking through a small dark forest with my hood up and black gloves on. I imagine anyone coming towards me would be scared? Low and behold I see a female walking towards me.. I try and say hello in a soft voice to not freak her out. She looks like she is in a hurry. She says nothing back and walks by. Just another dark figure on the path. I take off my gloves for the time being. Lol

I finished off my bag first bag of scroggin to get enough of a boost to get back. I could really use some fruit..Walking back through town i keep looking at restaurant menus to see if they have anything fruit oriented. Like a fruit cup or anything. I see a Subway restaurant (yes I guess they even have subways in NZ) I go in and get a blue Gatorade, a bag of Doritos, and a mango smoothie. Mmmmm delish-e-oso! I finish those goodies and continue the walk back to the campground.

Pretty much no one is outside.

I get back to my tent and the sleepy bug hits me immediately. I keep falling asleep when I need to go brush my teeth. Blogging was out of the question. I force myself to get up and just go..into the rain, and brush my teeth. I think I went to bed at 11 or midnight?

Wake up at 9am. Less tossing and turning but a few times when I roll over I can feel that I have rolled off my mattress. It’s much colder and harder. I now sleep pretty decently. Though my earplugs have had better days. I think I got rid of ones that I thought I had used too much. Now these ones are looking rough. I wonder what I’m going to do today… I lay there and stare at the tent ceiling. I can hear the pitter patted of the rain on the tent cover. I read my new devotional: Wild Life. It sounds oddly like my life right now.

I sit and think of what I’m going to do. I’m I have one more night at this campground. I need to make today count. In thought.. I have enough faith that I can climb mountains.. so I have enough faith to climb them in the rain..? A new challenge.

Accepted.

My brain rapidly goes over everything I need to take, how much food, water, power banks? Gear. I’ll be taking about 15% of my total backpack. Should be MUCH lighter. I grab two of the hooks on my backpack to attach to my smaller backpack (which was inside my bigger backpack) and attach my now two full liter bottles. The heaviest things on the backpack. I bring my jacket, poncho, and trekking poles. I will also need my cardboard piece and marker. I need to move it! I takes about 45 min by car. I need to hitch a ride there. How long will that take..? It’s already 10:30am. I know the trail takes about 5-6 hours to go up and down. Meaning it will take me 7-8. I check my gps because I now use that to acquire my exact position and calculate how far I have traveled. It turns on then back off. Batteries died. Niiice. I need to swing by a grocery store to get more. Making fast strides I decide against listening to books, I need pump me up music! I turn on daft punk. The Tron soundtrack. 🤓

No words just epic music.

I get to the store. I grab two peaches, because why not, a sugar free red bull, 🤷🏼‍♂️ and the two batteries. There really isn’t a place to put the cardboard and I’m carrying my trekking poles around. So putting the peaches into a plastic bag and holding too many things isn’t pretty. I have to hold my trekking poles, the cardboard sign, the peaches, the Red Bull, and the batteries. Not an easy task. Pay for those and go outside where I see a waist high cement wall. Cool. I’ll sit there, put my batteries in my gps and eat a peach. 👍🏼👍🏼

All done need a place to throw stuff away and off I go. I’m looking at a map of the city and trying to walk to where I can easily hitch a ride out where people plan on going anyway. I finally find a decent place where cars can pull off the road if they need to and it’s on the way to Isthmus Peak. It’s technically east then north on a highway called 6. I wrote on my sign, “North”. Standing there I’m not sure whether to use my sign or the thumb..? I’m probably standing there for 30 minutes as I see another guy walk past me and go down the road a bit to hitch hike as well. It’s on now. I ‘should’ get a ride before he does. Lol. I take off my hat and let my straight slow motion hair blow in the wind. He just has curls for his hair. Ok. I’m tired. I think the train derailed. I have now concluded, Asians don’t pick people up. Most people over 40 don’t pick people up. No camper vans. One guy drove by giving me the thumbs up as I did. Lol Funny chap.

A car pulled in front of me that had 3 people in it. Two girls and a guy. The guy driving. They had to move around some things in the back for me to get in. Robin, the driver is from Belgium, then the front seat passenger Lauraline is from France. They both have thick accents. Martina in the back seat is from Poland.

We drive by the other hitchhiker and Robin said he would have picked him up too, but it’s always better to hitch hike solo because most people only have enough room for one anyway. I had thought about walking over to that guy to ask him where he was going so we could ‘team up’ but remembered I heard some where the same thing he was telling me.

Side note… did I mention that the rain stopped as soon as I decided to go on this rainy hike..? Hmm

I assume the two up front were couples for a long time. How they interact and sometimes a kiss on the cheek or whatnot. Come to find out, they all came here as solo travelers and just found each other. Robin is staying for another 10 months, Lauraline is leaving March 10th I believe and Martina is planing on heading to Australia and staying for a bit unless she gets a job in Singapore with her friend. It seems every person I meet is just a person letting the wind decide where they go with no real set plans. My kind of people. 😃

They ask where I’m headed and I say to Isthmus Peak.. they don’t know where that is as we are heading east they just say I can tell then when I need out. Cooool. Surprised that after 15 minutes they turn to head north and I’m still planning on heading the same way. They say they are taking a lazy day and going up north to some blue lakes..? I try and look it up but can’t find it. We stop at some of the scenic overlooks to take more photos because they love the scenery as much as Ido!

I’ve given them my card and we chat about life and cancer.

Left to right. Robin. Lauraline. Martina. Martina was just tracking along with no tent and happened upon the other two who has met a while ago and asked if she wanted to travel with them. Haha. It’s a pretty crazy story, but it works out best for all of them.

We stop off at another scenic overview and we hop out and I see the sign ‘Isthmus Peak Trail’. Hmm guess we stopped where I needed to go! We talked about the difference between Roy’s Peak and Isthmus and they had also concluded that my peak would be better than the other super tourist my peak and you would be able to see more from this peak than the other. They say they will do it at some point. I make sure I grab all my stuff out of their car and head off. Rolling my sign up and stuffing it into my backpack, I’ll need it for the way back. All the sides are written on but at least there is one that says Wanaka on it. I halfway chug my red bull and turn my Tron music back on. I’m pumped. Let’s do this thing. This is the hardest rated climb I have done so far. No flat ground, just up or more vertically up.

I walk a ways in and see signs that I need to stay on the trail because there is hunting going on.

I figure I’ll take pictures and note how far I am up vs the struggle of my sweaty face.

Keep in mind this is barely 7% up the mountain. My shirt now has literal streams that are rolling down.

Those shiny spots. Yup. Wet. Sweat.

Now. As I’m hiking up..there are a handful of people coming back down the mountain. I started at 1pm. Already super sweaty 30 min in and taking a few breather breaks. There was a lovely Swiss couple, very fit might I add.. walked by me and I asked how the view was. “It’s amazing… if you can get there. And the guy chuckles as he walks by. ”

Oooooo boyyyy you did NOT just size me up and tell me I couldn’t do it. Did he?? For he rest of the day, I have had his voice and his laugh on repeat. I even make a remix out of it which not only pushes me harder but makes me work faster and push through more pain. If if if if you can get there there there…😡 He had no idea who he was talking to. ANYWAY.

I see some sheep here and there.

But I continue to make my way up. I realize I’m going through too much water.. t won’t be enough to last me to the top and back down. I grab a few pieces of tall straw / wheat looking pieces of grass and bite the middles out of a few. Something to chew on to keep the saliva flowing. (Thank you Bear Grylls)

I really want to make a video at the top of me yelling “YESSSSSS!” It seems any of the videos I have made.. in just so exhausted that the only thing I can mange to get out are weak woohoos. I try and plan videos in my head. Mainly motivational pointing at my phone and yelling at it, “NO ONE. Can tell you that you CANT do something. If they do, put those negative words in your furnace and burn them to use as fuel to get to your goal!”

Up and up. I’m really hoping the ‘peak’ isn’t on that far ridge out there..

Getting close.. it has gotten more and more windy. Now it looks like I’ve peed myself because the sweat has gone from my shirt to my pants.

The top! Only let positive comments into your bubble. No negatives allowed!

Oh yea, there were a bunch of hunters drive by in their Gator cart to head up the hill. Toting their rifles and camo using binoculars to spy. They rolled up to the top not long after Igor up there. Said they were hinting this animal that’s kind of rare but tasted great..? Hm.

Not too much later, Tibo and Lucy arrives at the top. I think I trekked right by them eating a meal out of the wind with full jackets and warm hats on. There were a few people I passed that all their warm gear on. I was sweating my butt off, unzipped my pants to shorts and just let them fall to my ankles. I had a short sleeved t shirt on and wasn’t wearing my jacket. It was incredibly windy at the top and VERY QUICKLY realized why they all had their warm gear on. As soon as you stop moving.. your sweat freezes! I guess I had just been pumping so hard I didn’t realize. They were both from France and spoke broken English kind of well. They were taking panoramas and each one would just stand in one spot for the photo. I taught them that you could be in two places in the photo. You start off on one side of the photo, then as soon as you are out of the picture, you run around to the other side and get in the end of the picture again. Lol they loved that. I took a few of them and they took some pictures of me.

I ate the most delicious peach I’ve ever had.. lol

This is Tibo and Lucy:

Such a cool couple they were intrigued with my trekking poles. I’m a major supporter of them and Tibo tried them out for a bit pacing back and forth.

They headed back down the mountain.. assuming I would catch up quick since I had ‘4 legs’. Lol (trekking poles)

I made a few videos. And a snickers commercial. (Because I brought a snickers, two sandwiches, two small bananas, and a little cheese thing. I also brought my drone, but I was too cold and needed to get out of there pretty quick. I popped in my headphones and filled my bag with my rubbish (they call trash rubbish) and just needed any kind of music.

I had just taken this selfie on my tripod:

Saying Lord, I’m here. Today is yours. What do you want me to do??

The first song the plays on my phone is Lay Down My Life by the sidewalk prophets.

“All your pain

Will be made mine

All your troubles

The tears you cry

Give it up

All that binds

I will place it on my shoulders

And up this hill I’ll climb

Father, give me strength

I know there is no other way

I lay down my life for you

This is the moment when all will be made new

I know that you don’t understand

But this is part of a greater plan

So I lay down my life for you”

This song some how hits deep. I’m in pain. My small backpack is heavier than I thought it would be. I’m cold. I’m wet. I start to tear up. Could have been all those feelings and emotions, but I know better than that. He heard me. 😄

I’m now trying to get down as fast as I can, I know tm will be dark in the next 3 hours. I’m thinking how I’ll have to hitchhike back to Wanaka and there are very few cars on this road. I see another peak as I’m walking down along the ridge. There is someone up there and it would have been a great photo if that was me. Lol I see 3 more people head up to the lookout. It isn’t tooo far, let me go check it out..

I’m walking closer and closer.. is that… Robin? The driver of the car that dropped me off?? He, Lauraline, and Martina had all hiked to the top of the closer peak! Wow! I had spent at least two hours at the other peak. They thought it was crazy that he ran into me again! I saw on his phone when I got out that they still had another 45 minutes to go till they got to their destination. They only stayed at the top to eat some apples and head down. They were so cold. They said if I was heading back to Wanaka that they could take me now. They went to their blue lake place but said it was boring so instead of having a lazy day they wanted to hike up the same path I did. Lolllll

Coincidence? If I would have stayed at the other peak 10 more minutes they would not have been there.

It gets more interesting. There had been a guy sitting there beside them at the top just admiring the view and not talking. The same guy I wanted to take a picture of but didn’t. They got up to leave and he did too.

His name. Christian.

The 3 of them walked ahead while Christian and I talked. He’s a German and is in NZ for 3 months. He only has 2 weeks left.

We got to talking so I gave him a card. Out of the blue.. “Does the 40 days relate to how long Jesus went into the desert?”

😳 He has been the first one here in NZ or pretty much anywhere that guesses that’s why I chose 40 days…

I found out later that the people i ride with saw him sitting at the bottom, unsure if he wanted to make the climb. He had signal on his phone and was just sitting down. The 3 of them asked if he wanted to go up with them. He initially was hesitant and reluctant so they had to ask him again. He finally said he would. I don’t even know if he would have come up the mountain. He initially hated his name, but after many things in his life he became proud of it and he himself was a Christian. Lol we talked about faith, the world, the prophecies, and God all the way downthe mountain. We had so many similar views. His English isn’t that good either, but I knew what he was saying. He had been to Haiti also to build houses after the earthquake. His friend let him borrow their car to drive around for vacation and had just been sleeping in the back of it. I had planned to head to Mount Cook next. Not sure if I would stay another day or not. I asked him where he was heading next. “Probably Mount cook” 😂

We make it to the bottom and it starts to rain pretty hard. It was supposed to rain all day.. but did very little going up and none at the top. I ask where he’s staying tonight, he doesn’t know. I asked the 3 others at the top where they were going. I told them about my campsite and how much it costs etc etc and they said they would probably come there because they could use a shower. BUT at the bottom, they had changed their mind. Said they were going to another campsite on the other side of town from mine. I had planned on riding back with them because I said I would but now I asked Christian if I could ride with him since we figured he could get a spot to park at my campsite. He drove a manual car with a mattress in the back. He talked about how much it sucked driving a manual on the other side because Germany is the same as the US. Martina adds me on Facebook in case they plan to come to my campground she could message me.

We arrive at my campground about 45 minutes later and the office is closed. No vacancy. He is kind of concerned because he has been caught before sleeping in his car where he shouldn’t be. (isn’t that stupid?) He only ever showered in the cold lakes and streams. I figure I can get him a hot shower at the camp and no one would know anyway. He goes to shower and I get my stuff to shower. I’m pretty much soaking wet. I go and take a shower and he is waiting outside. I figured we could go grab some food and hang out a bit more. He says there is campground that is 20 min away that he could park at where it seems no one cars. He takes off as we exchange numbers in the rain. I get a message about 30 min later that Martina and her friends are staying at a cabin 20 minutes outside of town and plan to head to Queenstown next and said we could join them if we wanted to. No thanks, spent some expensive days there, we are going to continue heading north. She said it was nice to meet me and I say likewise.

Look back over this story. How many things had to line up for me to hangout with this random guy who believes the same as I do and is going the same place I am? Coincidence?

Nope.

You don’t need any motivation today. That story was enough. I will wake up, pack up, then meet up with Christian and we will head to my cook tm.

2:11am

Day 21. Decide and Go

10:25am

It’s been raining and it looks like it will continue. I’ve decided in the last 30 minutes that I need to do the Isthmus Peak today. It’s a 35 min drive, I’ll probably have to hitch. Then a 5-6 hour loop. Might take me 7..? 1386m high. This map says it’s hard with rain, harder. It will be extremely difficult but hopefully the view at the top will be worth it.

Today is for my bro Aaron! I told him I would dedicate the day to all the fallen soldiers that gave their life for the US. All the service men and women. He didn’t give a specific date, so I chose today as this will be a grueling climb.

Aaron has been like blood to me. Brothers from other mothers but we couldn’t be closer. He loves to make people laugh and we ALWAYS have a good time when we are together. I wish I could see him more often.. He now serves in the US Navy and I couldn’t be more proud of him. You’re a big deal bro! So as I climb my way up with slippery slope, it will be for all the fallen soldiers. Thank you Aaron for your donation.

I’ll finish up my blog from last night when I return.

Fueled by faith.

Day 20. Halfway + The Art of Hitchhiking

11:26am

First of all, I’m not sure if you people out there realize how lucky you are when you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night that you don’t have to finagle with your sleeping bag zipper to open, find the draw string to open the top, put on your headlamp, open one zipper of the tent and groggily put on your boots, then take a deep breath and open the outside zipper of your tent to feel the cold rush of air. Try and stand up from a squatting position, turn around and zip one of the zippers closed to keep the bugs out and try and remember where exactly you are and where the toilet is today. Freeze your booty getting and when you’re done, do the same process again…but backward. It’s quite a feat really, then you need to get warmer again. There ya go! Think of that the next time you wake up in the night and go to the bathroom. šŸ™‚

I was awestruck as soon as I got out of my tent as the stars were SO bright! It reminded me of the song by Incubus, Wish you were here.

“I lay my head onto the sand, the sky resembles a back-lit canopy with holes punched in it”. šŸ™‚

It was nice that is wasn’t incredibly windy today. Thought there was no chance of the sun peaking through.

I packed my things from inside the tent, then got my backpack and all things out and took each part of my tent and hung them on the fence to air dry. (Footprint underneath, actual tent, and rain fly). I ate my leftover pasta and chicken standing up and people watching. Ive noticed something. When you get dirty..al the time..you tend to care less about germs / dirt / pickiness / even things you might have been allergic to, it seems your body really doesn’t care at that point. Maybe most of that in your mind anyway? If you were starving I don’t think you would care if the only food available had gluten in it. Also I don’t think your body would care either. Your body is an incredible thing and always seems adapt to the lifestyle you choose. If you live in a germaphobe environment, your mind tells your body to get sick if you don’t sanitize everything. If you live in the woods, your mind really could care less, so I don’t think you would get sick as often..? My opinion of course of things I have noticed camping every day.

Also I guess this is called ‘Glamping’?

There are usually mansion like tents setup in campgrounds, basically if you just put your warm bedroom outside. I would assume it stands for ‘glamorous camping’? I guess if you want a pinch of the wild without actually being in it? I had figured camper vans would be considered glamping. Adam told me otherwise.

I had asked Fiona if there was a post office in town and I guess she had said it was inside the petrol station that I had passed a few times. So I took my bunji jump photos and T-shirt there to mail home. (Heads up mom!) The brown bag they were in was kind of soggy. It was flat in my backpack but the bottom of the bag had a few friction holes worn through. At least the photos were behind plastic.

Head back to the campground and continue to load everything into my backpack. I do the ‘dumby check’ (looking around for a last time to make sure I have everything). UGH. I had packed everything away and somehow forgot the rainfly to my tent on the fence! Sigh. Grabbed it and folded it to put in the top of my pack. Not going to take the core of my backpack out to put it where it belongs with the rest of the tent.

I lobbed my pack on my back, take a deep breath and a short prayer. I will need to do some hitchhiking today. I’m going to take the last 2 peoples advice and just use my thumb and see how that works. I start walking and using my thumb and I start counting the cars thinking it wont be that many. Welll I probably walked 1.5 miles as people drove by every so often. Everyone almost has to go through Queenstown as it’s between me and Wanaka. As I walk.. I start to think…do I face the cars and slowly walk backwards…? Do I smile? I’m thinking that maybe I should get out my cardboard because people have no idea where I’m going. Drop my pack in a driveway on a straightaway from the road so if they wanted to they could see my sign and pull over in plenty of time right in this driveway. Maybe I should have just stayed in Glenorchy and waited for a ride rather than walk out where the speed limit was now raised to 100km (60mph). So I write Queenstown on my piece of cardboard even though I want to head to Wanaka. Sever people had told me that I should go to a ‘Pack-n-Save’ as I guess it is supposedly bigger and better than ‘4-Square’ which had been the main place in Queenstown that Igor and I had gotten groceries. Though thee only. PnS was just past Q-town on the way to Wanaka but I didnt care where it was if I could just get to the much more busy Q-town. Sometimes I walking backwards I made eye contact with the drivers maybe to put more pressure on them..? I have no idea. Lol. For the most part I could hear someone coming and would turn around, but my thumb out and look past the car. Too intimidating me eyeballing the car? Ah well. I now held my sign out and started walking. This was much easier as I didnt have to feel like confronting the drivers or facing them. Odds are if someone was going to Queenstown and perhaps had ever been in my position, would understand and grab me. About 10 minutes later a small car pulled in front of me and a fellow a little younger than me got out and opened the back door of his car. Sebastian was his name. The first time I hitched, I don’t think I really had a chance to understand it. This time I was pretty relieved and kind of jogged to his car a bit ahead. It’s hard to move with any kind of speed with that backpack on. Lay my pack down in the back seat and hop up front.

Sebastian is a fit guy and had just come from Q-town to go to Glenorchy to do a hike and was on his way back. It was like 11am. Really surprised that he came out there (a 40 min drive) and did a hike already and was heading back. He’s German and is known as the world traveler in his family. Sound familiar. He is spending a year in Australia and has traveled for 4 months and is taking a 10 day vacation in NZ. His first time also. He is heading back to Q-town to go skydiving. Sweet! He said the price went up from about $200 at 9,000ft to $300 at 12,000ft to $400 at 15,000ft. Kind of crazy how they gauge people there. The 4 times I have gone it was always at 15,000 ft and around $160 US. Didn’t surprise me they figured a way to make more money on about a second or two of free fall. He had done various jobs in Australia as he is content with learning everything he can. He was a brick layer back in Germany and said that he had always wanted to run his own business flipping houses. He had been staying at the same campground that Igor and I stayed at just below the Gondola. He said he would take me to the shopping center just past Q-town where there was a shopping center and Pack-n-Save. Cool! So he actually passed where he was staying to take me a bit further out of town. He had mentioned that he picked up two other hitchhikers the day before and dropped them off in the exact same place. He said this place should be paying him! Lol It was cloudy, and he said that usually they don’t skydive when it is. I agreed, skydivers don’t like to go through clouds. I think I was told because they cant see through them and there could be anything in them. I hope he got to go! Really cool guy.

People are right, this place is huge. I’m thinking as I walk up to this place…what am I going to do with my backpack..? Wellllll I guess Ill just put it in my cart and wheel it around. Lol. It’s hard to be a person that fits in as you’re pushing around a giant backpack.

This is a new experience.. I now have to think, everything I get I have to carry around. Obviously I need food that I can make stuff with. Everything. Looks good. Guess I’m hungry and most people know that being hungry and going grocery shopping is a bad idea. Soo I get sliced turkey, sliced ham, sliced cheese, and bread that seems to have grains and oats and all sorts of stuff on the outside of it. (Might give me more of a boost?) I get two different kinds of granola bars and fill up a big of scroggin from the do it yourself plastic bins that candy usually comes in. They have a huge variety, and I’m just looking for what has the most energy / protein in it. Ehhhh might as well stick with the original. I get some very small packets of ketchup and look at the mustard. The small bottle is too big, ill never use that much. Only ketchup it is. I try to find a small amount of sand which bags but it seems 30 is the smallest amount I can get. I also want to get some fruit, so I got 4 plums and a pack of those really small bananas. Like a quarter of the size of normal ones. I need to find something I can eat…like now. Instead of a bunch of stuff to make sandwiches. I go to the sliced meat counter and see that they have chicken tenders and chips. (Fat fries) to put in a box. Sure why not. I also got a Twix and a snickers for moral boosters at the end of long hikes. Strange that such small things, like chocolate can lift up your spirits after a long day. I kind of hope that they have tables or something inside so I can discretely make my sandwiches and ditch the bulky boxes. Ummm nope.. The only place I find is a bench outside with a fellow on it. I push my cart up next to him and ask if he minds if I have a seat? He stares at me acting like he doesn’t understand. I just sit down. He says “Sorry man I don’t speak English”. ??? I just say “It’s ok” as I’m sitting down. Didn’t he just…. eh whatever.

This next 20 minutes is the most homeless I have felt in a long time. LOL.

Eating my chicken tenders and fries, a bus pulls up just to my right and lets out a bus load of young people who all kind of stare at me as they walk by. Hahaha

Quite a unique experience. I finish half of the food and open the ziplock bags and put the rest in one. When I originally good food in Toronto, it was all very compact dry meals. I now had fruit and bread and various sliced meats. Sooo I cram as much as I can in the outside zipper pouch and the rest in the top trying now to squish the bread, but know its bound to happen anyway.

I push the cart to the car corral and hoist my backpack out of it. WHOLLY MOLEY this is SO heavy! I can barely lift it with both arms! Is this how heavy it was when I first started?? I get it up onto one of the bars of the coral and quickly turn around to put my arms in the strap holes. UGH.. let us slowly drop onto my back. It’s never as heavy as I think it will be. The backpack helps spread the weight evenly across my back and it definitely helps when I buckle the main strap around my waist to let half of the weight sit on my hips.

I check the GPS and see which direction Wanaka is, cardboard sign in hand (folded inside out and Spelled Wanaka as best as I could) and I head towards the only road out of town heading towards Wanaka. It’s about an hour away and there is another highway about halfway there that goes a different direction. I can safely assume at least a quarter of the people that pass are going to Wanaka or through it. Where I’m dropped off is only 10 minutes away from the airport also. Needless to say this road was pretty busy. I shouldn’t have trouble at all getting a ride. I just kept my backpack on thinking it would be any second now.

Five minutes go by. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes. Thirty minutes. Thirty five. At this point I have checked the make sure I have spelled the city correctly on my sign 3x and have gone through a new range of emotions. Should I look happy? Sad. Tired. Exhausted. Maybe holding the sign in front of me and smiling a bit. Maybe looking away. Pacing pack and forth? Slightly leaning from one leg to the other. Whistling. I took my back pack off after 40 minutes of not gettin a ride. Alright Lord, I know you have someone in mind, maybe they just left from Glenorchy 5 minutes ago. I’m just waiting for that person. Maybe I had gotten too confident in thinking this would be easy.? One percent of me just wants to order a shuttle or cab and pay the price. That would be the easy way out. It gets to an hour of people driving by and reading my sign with no one stopping. At least I don’t have any plans for the rest of my day. I started standing here at 2:50pm (when the picture was taken). It’s now almost 3:50pm. I’m not really feeling anything really, just neutral and gazing off into space kind of day dreaming. I hadn’t even really noticed that someone pulled up in front of me. YESSSSSSS! It was a younger kiwi and her name was Penny. Hoisted my backpack up and laid it in her backseat and got in the front. So relieved! Thank you thank you thank you! She said she was on her way back to Wanaka where she lived after dropping off two friends in Queenstown I believe..? She has driving the windy mountain pass from there to Wanaka so many times. We got to talking and it seemed she was kind of an adrenaline junky but didnt know it. Haha. She told me stories about her and her friends driving these very tiny, 2 person powerful boats. Her first time she just floored it the entire time and made quite the impression on the boys. She asked me if it scared me the way she was driving around these turns and how she hated the tourists that went so slow as she floored it around each car with a quick flick of her blinker. Nope! It kind of impressed me really. Lol. I could tell she was confident in her driving and wasn’t making stupid decisions. I almost felt like we were in a rally car and I was her navigator! I told that to her and she said she would love to drive a rally car. Yep, same! She mentioned that she wanted to get out of her marketing job and just sell honey from bees. Quite the change though she had only read a book on it, she wanted to give it a go. She had just bought a ‘flat’ a ways away and planned to move soon. (A flat is a house of some sort I believe?) I asked her about recommendations of hikes to do in Wanaka and places to go. I also asked about Pavlova (spelling?), she got excited and said it was amazing but had no idea where they sold it in Wanaka. She said its more of a Christmas / Holiday desert. Mmmkay. I always take note of where I should go from the locals.

I had told her I had no place to stay tonight and asked about campgrounds. She said she would drop me off at one right beside Wanaka where I can literally see the town. We had some good talks and she dropped me off at that campground. Walked inside and said they had plenty of room so I asked for 2 days.

I have been watching the weather since Glenorchy..It doesn’t look good this week… šŸ™

Rain rain rain. I guess Ill have to do a hike or two in the rain… I am told about several good hikes.


Of course the most ones mentioned have been Roy’s Peak and last night Isthmus Peak I was told would be less touristy / popular. Hmm. Also, they are marked as HARD. Sigh. Igor and I know what medium difficulty means…Even thought it says only a 5-6 hour return, I understand that it will take a full day. I was told the last two hours are just a straight stair climber for 2 hours. Am I really ready for that? My thighs could be ready tomorrow. Ill let them know.

I checkout spots where tents are able to setup and try to pick the highest ground assuming rain is coming.

14 minutes later.

I would like to think I’m getting quicker?

I get everything inside my tent and just lay down for a bit. Expending lots of energy hitchhiking I need a boost. I don’t even know what to call it when you need to recharge your introvert batteries.

I decide I should at least do something with the rest of the evening. I decided ill checkout the campground before heading out to see the town. I had a map that he been highlighted where the kitchen and bathrooms were. I see a building that has a pool table inside and assume that is it. I see a sign on the door “Guests staying in lodges only”. I have seen many of these signs at other campgrounds. Like only guests staying at that campground can use their facilities. I walk in and head to the bathroom to take a wiz and walk out and momentarily poke my head into the room sight he pool table and tv just to take a gander. I encounter my first RUDE person so far in NZ. A larger guy with a beard walks in and asks if I’m staying in the campground and where. Just a spot over there in a tent. “Come here I want to show you something”. Hm ok? He walks outside and points at the sign and says “Read it. Seeeee yaaaaaa” and lets the door slam behind him. At first I know I’ve read this sign before…then I read it 2 more times. Click. The people staying in their own lodges have their OWN building and restrooms. Ooooooooo. RUDE. I guess our less than kitchen and bathrooms are a little further. All of the campgrounds I have been to never had them separated by how much the guest was paying. You get the atta boy of the day Wanaka. Feeling kind of annoyed I brush it off and continue walking to find a larger building where lots of people are cooking and making food. This place had a tv and living room area but no pool table. I think I would rather be here than there anyway. I go in and look around taking note of places to sit and electrical outlets and leave.

I walk out of the campground and can see the lake and head towards it. The same Lake Anne-Marie and I walked around in the rain a while back. Still seem just as overcast but none the less a lovely site to see.

I start walking towards town and as I’m walking I look down and see that there are a very long row of…umm rock plates things. I dunno.

All along the side walk had these hardened clay squares that told the highlights of the last 2000 years. Pretty cool.

I decide I would like some ice cream, not much, just a scoop. Find a shop and taste test the plum and cotten candy. Can’t decide which one is best so Ill take 2 scoops. YOLO (You only live once). I hate that acronym but sometimes it works. I wonder around the streets as most places are closed except for the bars and restaurants. I walk into a bar after finishing my ‘eye crem’ as I know that most bartenders should know more about the town than most and its almost like they are expected to talk to you. Lol well I order a beer and try to have a conversation about the city and what to do…girl says a few things things then goes back to washing her dishes. Click. They don’t need to talk to you because they don’t work for tips here. My bad. Everything I learned about bartenders came from my buddy Brian Kaufman when I worked at Hoosier Communications. He was always a go to guy for knowledge and random trivia that he would learn from people. Anyway another bartender arrived and I got some tips on what to do, how hard theses hikes were and where else to go in NZ. I have a few place of my own, but prefer to hear what the locals say. She arrived me not to do Roys Peak because EVERYONE does it. It’s basically 6 hours up and down, a non changing terrain and in the sun if its sunny. She advised me to do Isthmus peak as at least sometimes it went into woods and had basically the same view from the top but it was less popular because its about 30 minutes outside of town where as Roys Peak is right around the corner. Good to know.

Headed back to the campground and to my tent. Of course I wake up in the middle of the night and have to use the bathroom. I know I know, I shouldn’t have liquid so late at night.

Today! I sleep in till a late time of 8am. It’s actually kind of sunny. I know I need to actually make food and spend a chunk of time blogging. I could use a shower as well. I headed to the kitchen to make sandwiches.

I figured I had enough bread and meat for 6 sandwiches. I spread my stuff out on an empty table.

I made one sandwich and put the ketchup on… creative moment…

I figured I will eat my words of happiness and my Joy needs a little work. lol

I’m also charging my drone batteries and both of my power banks.

I look beside me:

I recognize that photo. Slight long exposure to create the blur, and on a tripod. Boom done. Sometimes I wish I had my DSLR. I could take those pictures of the night sky, the Milky Way, and make really long exposure shots. I just cant afford the weight.

Thoughts:

First off all…this is my friend Cottonsoft. He’s pretty quiet and has a dry sense of humor. He usually hangs out at campgrounds and runs out of things to say after so many people take his advice. He loves to clean up messes, and is usually hanging out by himself. Nice guy!

There’s a poster in the kitchen that says, “It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

How true is that? This life I’m living right now is like living out of a suitcase but the suitcase is quite heavy and you have to carry it on your back. Lol. If you don’t take many journeys I hope that you won’t regret that later in life.

While being happy to be in the present moment, there are still many things that try to crawl under my skin. It’s almost like I have a list of things to do before I can enjoy myself. I constantly fight that and remind myself that I’m in one of the most beautiful countries I’ve been in. Stop looking at my list and look up. The sad key to making time fly by is being busy. Being productive and working towards a goal is one thing, but don’t get weighed down in the lists you have created for everyday.

“Someone’s the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must but take the step.” -IG MotivationalPage

3:36pm!

Day 19. The aftermath

9:17pm

I believe I left off yesterday after blogging for 4 hours and I was hungry! I went back to the same Glenorchy Hotel/Bar/Restaurant. Hobbling all the way there. I realized that my legs would barely support me starting out the day. Pain-fulll.

I ordered a giant hamburger and fries. Food is supposed to heal the body right? I think I watched most of my first Cricket game ever on the tv. No real idea what the rules are. I’m sure I’m in the minority of people reading this? Everyday I start to feel drained by like 7pm. My bod needs that sleep. It was about 10 or 11pm when I finally laid my head down on my little inflatable gray pillow.

Walking back to the campground.

I woke up right on time.. 8:30am.. on time because it seems everyone is hustling and bustling around. I had to find the hole in my sleeping bag top where I cinched it closed aroundmy head. Then stick an arm out into the cold.. tap around blindly beside me to get my phone then suck the arm back into my bag with my phone. It’s cold out there! Turned it on to check the time.

The sun was slowly beginning to shine and I had no data left. I needed to get to the bottom of that. After about 30 minutes I figured out how to get an online chat going with Spark Support. (My phone service) After going back and forth with the agent I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t blindly throw money at a problem. I was using data at 30 cents per mb. It was considered ‘casual data’ I think. She even agreed it was expensive. Well she gave me a gb for free and said if I needed to put more on it, go into my spark website and put it on the data plan she just gave me. Oook. So now I would be using the data amount rather than the 30 cents / mb. Whew. Got that sorted out and it was starting to get hot in my tent. The sun is in-tents here. 🙃 har d har

My legs decided that today would be mostly a non-productive day. I had decided I wanted a bit of alone time with God. Preferably with a view. Lol My legs almost buckled under me getting out of my tent. I was semi hungry and decided to explore a tiny bit. Also walking will help my legs. Instead of just walking the normal way down the street heading towards food, I took a street over and found a tiny little building that was the church. Probably had enough room for.. 8 pews? Like the size of a master bedroom. The door was open and there was no one in there. I went in and sat at the first pew. Spent about 30 min in there just kind of praying and asking where I should go and what to do and who to talk to. This was now his trip, not mine. I usually don’t go too much into religion as the generation I live in is pretty sensitive about the word ‘Church’ and ‘Christian’ and ‘Religion’. I prefer to become friends and sprinkle facts of faith on their life and to show that as your friend I won’t judge you and I ALWAYS keep my word. I like to feel dependable. It’s really hard to find people out there who do what they say they are going to do. Thank you dad for engraining into me that giving my word was the most important thing I could give to anyone was.

(I had found what I wanted… with a view lol)

I drop all my change into the donation box and go in search of food.

Instead of going to the normal Glenorchy Hotel for food I crossed the street to another small restaurant. I go in and order a decent sized breakfast. I can’t say I’ve ever eaten mushrooms that big before?

I order hot lemon tea and I get honey with it. Actually the best combination I’ve had of tea. It was really good and I feel like tea is soothing to a persons body. No idea why. It’s just a thing. I watch the 2 waitresses run around waiting on people and becoming pretty flustered. I’m sorry Chinese people, the impression you make on these people who work in NZ from my point of view has not been a good one. I saw one guy yell at the waitress, “Coffee! Now!! Omelette!!”. Then another younger waitress, two walked in and said “coffee!!” She tried to tell them to go to the counter to order by way of pointing several times and motioning that they need to order over theeree. Here in NZ, anytime you want food or drink, you grab a menu, then go to the bar to order aand pay for your meal. They give you a number and you go sit down till they bring it to you. Another big difference is there’s no tipping here. You can if you want but it will just go into a jar fir everyone to split at the end of the day. So you will never be asked or charged for tip anywhere here. Of course it’s kind of nice, but a part of me feels like it effects your service? Like they don’t really need to care at all since they aren’t working for tips.

Anyway I never got a napkin with my food so I gently ask a server coming in from the outside carrying dishes. She points around the corner and said they are over there, kind of get as many as you need. It kind of cane across as rude, but I didn’t feel that way because I could tell even just for breakfast they were stressed. No problem. I had some sticky honey on my finger and it transferred to my tea cup, then the palm of my hand. Thought I could make it to the end of my meal. Nope. It was spreading. Grabbed a few napkins and the same waitress came back over a few min later and said that she had been kind of rude and gave me a stack of them. Like most severs or people working, they usually ask where you are from, how long you’re staying, and what your next plan is. I talk about hiking and how I want to head to Wanaka next, so she pulls out her phone to show me pictures on Instagram of the recent hikes she has done. She’s really into photography, so I add her and she starts to ask what the Hope Hike is.. So I tell her all about it, come to find out both her parents sadly died from different kinds of Cancer. I tell her, that’s the main reason I’m hiking, for people like her and her parents.

When she first came over she was saying how she couldn’t wait to get off work to go hiking. After our discussion she asks if I want to go on one with her. Ehhh I don’t think my thighs can handle a hike today. So she says ok just a walk along the lake. Yea why not. She got off in like 4 hours. Cool, I didn’t have anything really planned today anyway. Her name is Fiona. lol like princess Fiona from Shrek.

I head down to the lake and walk along the beach.. enjoying how lovely the water is and trying to soak in the views as a few years from now this will all just be a faint memory.

I walk back the 10 minutes to head to the campground, stopping and getting toothpaste, another small gas canister, some beef jerky, and some small cans of tuna and chicken. It’s so nice and warm out.

I painfully squat and get into my tent. I just lay down and have an accidental nap. Those are lovely. I get up and go take a shower and see a couple that has like 15 pears..? Weird.

I get a message where to meet Fiona and I get a small backpack together for a short walk. She ends up giving me directions to her house. I know what you are all thinking. No. It’s not like that. I go into her place and it’s a really cool 2 story small cottage..? It’s like a loft but cabin like? Very nicely decorated she has a few instruments scattered about and this clothing line across her living room about 8ft high it has about 20 hand sized paper squares each each with different. I guess each traveler she had over writes their own life quote and clips them to this string. Cool idea! Everyone in NZ is really friendly and tourist welcoming. I usually take the more expensive things from my tent as I don’t trust just leaving things in my tent for a long period of time. I’ve slowly learned that people just don’t do that here. I’ve never heard of any theft. It has to be some kind of back packers rule or just the fact that people wanting to escape from their lives for a while, aren’t the stealing type.

I plop on the couch and she asks if I would rather just hang outside and relax than go for a long walk. Anyway, we end up outside with her beautiful view of the mountains playing frisbee and going to checkout her neighbors horses. Oh yeaaa before that, another girl walked in to the house and I recognize her from the restaurant also. Danny was her name.. maybe short for Danielle. She came in all in a friz. She was a kiwi and talked really fast. She had so many stories from work and how this person treated her like crap and I said I saw those two guys yell coffee at you and how you tried to get them to the front counter. Her flustered faces for all her stories was so funny. I heard how waitresses get treated my the young, the middle aged, the Chinese, and the elderly. Behind the scenes of a kiwi servers life.

Fiona was a super positive person. Good vibes only. Carpe Diem tattooed on her foot. All about, if you’re a nice person and you put out good happy vibes, good things will come your way. She like to paint, and play music. There were maracas, and a guitar in the corner, and other small instruments that she said sometimes she will have people over just to have a music night. Very chill person.

She was right, she had an amazing view of the mountains from her back yard.

(Jump back in time.. as I was walking to her place I saw a pear tree. So that’s where they got all those pears!)

Anywho, her and Dani planned on going to this essential oils thing. So we all walked back close to my campground and says our goodbyes. What’s funny is that Danny decided that she wasn’t going to wear shoes.. it’s a common thing here!

I ask her about cheap food in town and groceries. She also tells me about a post office box at a petrol gas station. She said if I went back to her work to have dinner, ask for it to be ‘take away’ food and it would be half off. Nice! Basically to go food is a lot cheaper and I never knew.

Dropped off my small bag of stuff at my tent and went to get some take away food. I went back and ordered chicken pasta and ate it at a table around the corner. lol.

There are tons of these hippy looking vans. They all have some kind of writing on them.

I eat half of the food and take the rest back to my tent. I plan to make a break for another city tm.

Hitching alllll the wayyy

No picture of Fiona or Danny. I think the reason I don’t get pictures with girls is that most people see the picture of the girl and I, and just assume I’m dating her, or there’s something more than friends going on. It’s never the case.

Thoughts:

Sometimes in life we are put on hold from moving further because it’s best for us. We need to remain where we are till we learn the lesson, or meet people we were supposed to meet, or to protect us from something bad happening.

It’s exhausting always being outside of your comfort zone..

I’m about halfway through this adventure. I see people come and go or a few arrive safely back at home. I would be lying if I said that a tiny part of me didn’t want to be back in a normal bed.

Word of the day:

Grateful eyes look at each thing as if they had never seen it before and caress it as if they would never see it again.

BR. DAVID STEINDL-RAST

11:30pm

Day 18. Thigh and Quad Killer

2:43 Pm

Rise and shine!

Ill start by talking about how cold it was in a loosely built hut at the top of a mountain.. After finished blogging and the candles went out, I made my way to my sleeping bag and awkwardly crawled in and closed the top of the bag. I laid there for a bit thinking how cold it was… There was no way I was going to be able to sleep like this. I opened the sleeping bag back up and fumbled around to find my dry sack which had my clothes in it. I pulled out 2 more pairs of socks and a long sleeved shirt and a very Canadian neck warmer / hat / it has 10 different ways to wear it. I had to take off layers to add layers. BRRRRRR. I put on all three pairs of socks and only found one sock of the 4th pair. (I brought 4 pairs of socks as I planned on wearing 2 socks on each foot a day) I put them allll one but found one that didnt have a partner. My feet were still frozen. I had this one sock in my hand and it was like trying to decide which son I liked better. Kind of funny but I knew one foot would be warmer than the other. Left foot. Done. Sorry righty, tonight isn’t your night. I checked the little plastic MEC thermometer on my backpack. About 39 degrees! The ONLY thing this hut did was block wind. The only thing. I had all my clothes on but my swimsuit and my other pair of boxers. I had drifted off so many times only to wake back up again because of my cold toes. It was a tough night.

I hear people rustling around in the morning and turn on my phone to see its about 8:30am. Sigh. Why do all the better backpackers need to get up and leave so early. Lol. I just laid there for a while but the thought of getting down the mountain and how far I had to go kept eating at me. FINE. Ill get up. I boiled some more water and made some horrible instant coffee. Not my first time, I just knew it would get my body all pepped for the day and the fluids runnin before I needed to get runnin. I had half a bag of scroggin left, 4 pouches of instant noodle soup, and the other half to my just add water chicken and rice. The last of the food I had bought in Toronto. I had a little less than half a tank of gas left. Boiling water and making food with it would kill it much faster I thought later. I saw couples using their water filters for the water…whyyyy did I use gas to boil the water..? Stuff was getting kind of low, but enough food to last me to the bottom or an extra day if needed. Plus, I see people everyday so if it came to it I would just ask them for food. IF ALL ELSE FAILED and I hurt something broke whatever, I can SOS my personal locator beacon. (I don’t know why I just went on that side story of what I had left or the what ifs. I don’t do those)

I slowly ate my cold scroggin while I watched the other 2 couples making these fancy hot oatmeal’s with apples n such. Maybe I could be like them one day and actually bring real food to make? I slowly ate as I watched one of the girls (Natalie?) bandage her 4 blisters. I’m always interested to see how other backpackers do it. (Pack, manage food, blisters, clothing, water) I need to learn how to fly on the way down remember? Barely got the hang of this stuff. Just out to show that if you want to do it….like really…you can! Just takes a huge step of faith. Both couples were very nice and chatted with me about the cold night and about the day ahead. I was kind of waiting for them to leave just so I could occupy the dinner table with all my junk.

Took a tiny picture of me in a shattered mirror that was by the door:

Allllll byyyy mysellfffff…. 🎶🎵

I boiled another 500ml of water which brought my total water for the day to 1.5 liters. Should be fine to go down a giant hill.

The table and the back wall it seemed many people wrote on.

This hut is so small (height wise) I’ve hit my head numerous times! Another thing that isn’t fun for hikers, the outhouse was down a hill from the hut. Guess at least we have one.

Crammed all my gear into my backpack and headed out. (Here comes my TMI) I didn’t think I needed to put sunscreen on as I had smothered it on the last few days. Maybe it was fine and still working? Today was my 3rd day without a shower. 😝 oddly I didn’t stink (I didn’t think so?) I had deodorant though. Not an Igor moment.

Down down down. Gripping my trekking poles tight I felt good. Someone’s in the middle of the day, I don’t even really feel my backpack on at all. Placing each foot carefully on the loose rocks and gravel. I choose my path but the Lord directs my steps.

I need to go way down then up the next huge hill. All the same terrain.

I reach the bottom of that little valley in the picture and take my pack off. I eat another handful of scroggin and take off my jacket. It was really cold and windy at the hut, I was starting to sweat now. This isn’t going to be fun.

I’ve been listening to the same book, “Mere Christianity” as I tramp along. I would like listen a few times to cement it into my soul.

I start heading up the steep incline and have to stop twice before even getting to the first turn. I look right..

It’s hard to complain when you have views like that..

I reach the first curve. I think I feel my arm skin sizzling.. sigh. Take off my backpack again get out the sunscreen. Take a few gulps of water and get on with it. More zig zags as I wind my way to the top.

Got a lovely diagram for you:

Just to get idea of distances.

I had to go downhill then up another smaller hill. Seems like I’m tramping along the ridge of this sucker. I find myself faced with a gate that says no public access. 🤔🤔

I turn back around and see a small sign that says “stay left of the fence but follow the orange markers”. It has two steps up to get over a different fence then two steps on the other side. Oook. So now I guess I just follow this fence line forever. Walk walk walk (my version of a time lapse)

This trail really takes you through some sketchy areas. Like this picture, loose gravel then a steep drop off.

Go out to the peak out there then round another corner always on one side of the fence. I think I see a faint trail of people who just hop the fence to take a straight shot across…nahh I’ll take the proper way and enjoy more views.

Down up and along. Through tall grass and bushes.

I go up and another hill.. and I’m wondering how I’m supposed to get down from up there. I never saw a nice easy slant going downhill from over here.

I walk closer to the edge… I can’t see it go down at all? Just a drop off. I get up right on the edge..

See those little metal posts in the ground? I know it doesn’t look that steep but this is basically 1000 meters semi hilly to the bottom. I think the only person that knows how far that is (except for the people I’ve met here) is Igor. I make my way down, thinking it’s easier to hold onto each post as I pass and kind of step and catch myself with the following one. For at least an hour or two. I realized today I have a bruise on that hand where I was grabbing each post. I get what I think is a decent ways down and decide I should stop and eat lunch. I went away from the posts a bit, found a nice bushy place to sit down and ate the rest of my chicken and rice.

I think I sat / layers there for about 30 minutes. I was kind of hidden as I heard two girls talking and laughing as they headed down the same path. I made sure I was visible to them and said hello. Talked a bit and they said they were just doing a day hike.. A. Day. Hike. They started where I started but just didn’t go up to the hut where I left. So in my two days they covered in a matter of 7-8 hours. Course they weren’t carrying much either.. said good luck and they continued on.

Decided I should get down from here now and as threw my pack on another German fellow cane walking down. Talked for a bit, his name was Linus. He said he had been tramping around for 6 months now. Wow, me and my measly double digit days. He said he had spent his last two days doing a larger peak (as I broke off onto the downhill to the stream, he kept going up to a different mountain) and his thighs and knees were killing him. A lot to do in two days!

I decide that it’s nice to have company on the way down and keep up with him. He’s carrying a pretty good pace and doesn’t have trekking poles. A liiitle faster pace than I would go, but I challenge myself to keep up anyway.

Down down down.

At this point my thighs are quivering.. this is like doing a leg press 1000x with my body and backpack weight. I tell him I’m going to have a quick water break and he agrees. He occasionally rubs the tops of his knees and his thighs. You can tell he is in pain too but just doesn’t show it much. We continue on. Hill after hill going down.

Pause. Sheep!

There are also huge piles of horse poo on the trail. The very beginning of this whole trail it says to stay out of the way or horses. I wish I had a horse to take me down this hill.

I keep repeating as I can now feel my legs don’t want to support me anymore..”Fueled by faith, not by food and water alone. Fueled by faith and not by food and water alone.” I continue on. Each step seems to get more wobbly and sometimes I feel my legs turning to jello. Don’t quit! Push it!!

This of course is going on inside me and Linus has no idea. We don’t talk much on the way down, I have now considered his pace my pace. I just try to keep up. I enjoy when he stops for 5 seconds to rub his legs letting me at least know this isn’t super easy either.

We FINALLY make it to what seems to be the bottom of the biggest hill and we can now at least walk on flat ground for a while..

All those bushes are the one inch spiked bushes, fortunately they are no match for our expensive, quick drying pants. Meandering a long way I think I start to feel my legs getting a LITTLE more sturdy. This was purely a battle of my mind over my body. Some instances I had it.. I walked upright and took strong steady strides.. the next minute my legs were flopping and sliding around underneath me. I now also felt like I had blisters on the tops of my toes seeing that I was basically constantly stopping my forward momentum with my feet and thighs. Sometimes there was tall brush taller than we were that we had to get through. He just put his arms in front of his face and without losing a stride plowed through. I lifted my poles in front of me and plowed through just not as elegantly as he did.

My body had moments of rejoicing when there was flat grassland to walk through.

I would think it was over to only have to go down further. My body trembled going down hills now. Even though he didn’t stop for water anymore, I kind of realized I could continue walking and grab my bottle mid pace and take a drink. This was the hardest leg workout I have ever had! I couldn’t quit because there’s only one way. Down. I think I was relying more and more on my poles for balance.

I keep calling the road a mirage.. I think it’s right around the corner but isn’t.

I THINK I CAN SEE IT!

😅😅😂😭

We come to the final gate and he easily drops his pack off to get his water. I realize if I take this thing off, ill never get it back on. So I just rest it on top of the sign. He looks at his phone, “Made it an hour faster than I predicated” lol. I told him I always add an hour or two onto what it predicts and he said he always takes an hour off. Ha heh…sigh. I guess I kept up with a veteran then..? Tooting my own horn.

One last muddy hill in which I come super close to falling down.

WE MADE IT! We cheer. We talked about what’s next. He is heading to the left to go back to his car and I’m heading right to try and get back to that campground. It’s still like a 2 mile walk to get back… I hand him a card and quickly explain my story and we head out.

That last two miles I felt like I could have collapsed. 😅😅 I knew I wouldn’t though..

I keep my pack on as I walk into the hut to hoping see if they have a spot for me. Guy asks if I want to take my pack off because it looks heavy but they do. He said it would be filling up fast so I came at a good time. 🙏🏼

LOL I almost.. tear up. I drop my bulky pack off in a thump. Pay him $20 and he points out my site. One last time I need to it this thing on today.. staggering to my site I just plop down. I think I just sat there for 15 minutes. There’s a girl that is trying to put up her tent beside me and asked if she can have a hand. Lol.. yep. Her name is Scarlet.

Just needed help pounding her stakes into the ground. I just use a big rock and realize how crappy the ground is beneath us. Like an inch of dirt then gravel? Her pegs are way too long and she says this is the first time putting up this tent. She is bending her pegs. It’s ok.. in pounding I broke me in half and said it wasn’t supposed to be that long anyway.

I get back and start to unpack my backpack. I’m pretty hungry and thirsty. I first grab a handful of scroggin and drink the last of my water. Just a boost to get my tent up. It’s soo windy! I have issues laying down the tarp and putting the tent on top. Like Scarlet my ground sucks also.

I finally get it setup and I keep thinking the wind is going to rip up the pegs. It already did one of them. I put large rocks on the stakes. That’ll do.

I lay down in my tent.. lifting and lowering my knees is a lot of pain. Taking off my boots was a piece of heaven.

I am contemplating taking a shower first or walking down to the restaurant to get a solid meal. I have white salt remnants on my shirt from where I have sweat so much there are salt lines on it.

(Before having a coma in my tent)

I had some more scroggin and planned to have a shower first.I stepped out of my tent and hadn’t realized another guy was setting up his tent in lot 4. Adam is his name. He can tell by the way I’m getting up and asks if I’ve had a long day. Oh yea..I pointed to the top of that mountain..I just came from there.. shower. Now.

The shower is $2 for 7 minutes. A hot shower. You better believe I put in that second $2 coin. A second slice of heaven.

I needed to do my laundry but it was getting kind of late..? I asked both Scarlet and Adam if they wanted to come with me to get a ‘real’ meal at restaurant 5 min down the road. Scarlet freaks out for a moment and says she just ate a horrid meal and Adam decided he will come for a night cap. A little while later after washing half my clothes I tell them I’m heading out. Adam comes with me Scarlet says she will stay. We go to this restaurant and it’s 10pm. I called earlier, they said the restaurant was closed but the bar is still open. They have bar food. Good enough. Walk around the corner and at least the lights are on, I think. We head inside… the place is packed!! It seems the entire town is in there. Me with my shorts on and long Johns coming out from under them go up and order a beer and some chicken tenders. Adams as surprised as I am orders a drink and food too. You know.. I’m not really a fan of beer… but that first and all of the gulps are my 3rd slice of heaven.

We chat and he is ‘holiday’ (vacation) from the UK. He is taking some one off after he got his bachelors in Biology. He is going to spend a good amount of time here and has all his hikes planned out. He plans on going back to get his masters. I show him the breakfast menu and he totally agrees before he leaves in the morning that me must go there for breakfast. I agree.

We make our way back to the campground and I grab my dry laundry then pass out in my tent tent without turning my phone on airplane mode. Ah well.

It’s supposed to rain all day today and be super windy.. and it has lived up to its expectations. We had our big breakfast and I wished him well.

I return to my rent and TRY and take a nap. Impossible. The wind is blowing SO hard it’s whipping my little tent walls inward and the winds outside are incredibly loud.

Me realizing I can’t get back to sleep:

I then head to the kitchen to begin this long blogging process.

I might spend two days here to recoup then I think I’ll head to Wanaka, a few hours drive from here. I’ll probably hitchhike? I need to get some real groceries for food, another small tube of toothpaste and another gas canister. It was really windy and spitting rain all morning. Now that I’m sitting in the kitchen area.. it’s pouring. Everyone around me is speaking German. I ran out of data this morning..no texting no communication. I get a few texts saying how low my data was getting then it said I had used 100% and to click a link to refill it. Of course the link uses internet so I couldn’t. Good call spark! I didn’t think I would run through 8 gb in a month! Great $15 for 1gb. I purchase that.. all this social media I ripped right through it. I purchased a significant amount more. I only have like 3-4 days till my second 8 fb kicks in.. sigh. I WILL be using these free WiFi slips now! Even though it’s 30MB at a time..

Thoughts:

As C.S. Lewis would say, “You never know what you’re capable of till you HAVE to do it. ”

(My thighs are super sensitive to the touch)

Do you notice that I never make plans and things work out?

Also interesting that the big rain storms happen while I’m at a campground.

To end this extensive daily blog, I’ll leave you with this. It was a writing on the Macintosh hut wall:

6:37pm!

Day 17. To the peak!

9:54 pm

First of all I wanted to say sorry for leading all wrong! I told you C.S. Lewis himself narrated the book. The book started over and I heard him say it was read by another guy. My bad.

Second of all. I need to post pictures with my donors names on them, just haven’t had the signal to do so. Igor, I almost forgot about yours. šŸ™‚ Buuut I didnt.

Third of all. Without solid signal it will take a long time to post pics in the blog, but I should have them up and linked soon. Tomorrow I guess will be a long day but I will have to be at a campground I was before because there isn’t really any huts left because they figure it should be easy enough hiking downnn the mountain.

Last but not least, Thara Sekar (aka Tarrrfishhhh, Tar t tarr tarrrr) is who I will be hiking for today! Today is also her Birthdayyyy! Happy Birthday!! I met Tara working at Stereo D. Ok. So. there are people from India who stay together in cliques and then there are those that do not. Those that do not clump together with their own for comfortability are the most open minded ones. No offense to the clumpers, they just like to be comfortable and there’s nothing wrong with that. Tara frequently steps out of her comfort zone to meet new people. I think that’s why we became good friends. We don’t really judge people unless we know them already. Lol šŸ™‚ She is very sweet, shy, and sensitive girl. LOVES new experiences and want to try everything at least once. Sounds familiar!

She wanted to dedicate this day to 2 people.

Rayza. Her very best friend who developed a brain tumor in 2013. The most amazing person she ever knew. Rayza isolated herself from everyone after she found out about her diagnosis. Tara figures she didn’t have the strength to accept it and even with all the treatments she passed away a few months later. Those are the kind of people I do this for. The people who quit life after hearing the big C word. I want people to see it can be ok! It can even be better than before! I need to make a video and make it mandatory to watch when anyone gets their diagnosis of Cancer. Might soften the blow a bit? Or at least people can come to me with questions, I know a lot about brain Cancer, but any kind of radiation or chemo questions are good too. Sorry Tarfish, side rant!

The second person was her Grandmother. She passed away November 12th, 2017 from stomach Cancer. She fought it the first time and won. She was brought back to health quickly actually. It came back October 2017 and it spread throughout her body and only made it a few weeks. She spent her last days with her grandchildren, family, and friends. She died peacefully and had a good life. She was the best grandmother and we will cheer on her life today instead of her death. Ill be hiking for them both today.

Bloggin:

Today I pretty much slept in, I knew I didn’t have a long way to go to get to the next hut. A sign said 2-3 hours but I also knew that it was the biggest elevation climb in the shortest amount of distance I had done in the last few days. The next hut only had 4 bunk beds but was first come first serve. I wasn’t sure if the couples were going to stay at that hut at the top or just make a long day of it and tramp allll the way back down in one day. As I was almost ready there was a couple came in about 2pm? (Yea I left late) Check the place out and decided they would just head up to the higher hut since it was close enough and early enough in the day. Then another couple came right as I was getting ready to leave they were out of breath and sweating but stopped to have a bite to eat and decided to head up also. They said they would save me a bunk bed. Lol It was a nice thought but I knew I would get up there close to last anyway. Finally headed out after trying to upload those pictures to the blog. Each picture was taking 3-4 minutes. So I had to keep my phone in the air in front of me to get the best signal and some of them kept failing! Ughhh. I have to go. I loaded a few at the top then counted the pictures heading to the bottom. I think I had 11 pictures. Calculated like 45 minutes except for some panoramas would take much longer. When I get to the bottom tomorrow Ill spend some serious time social media’ing. I will have to upload and link all the pictures I put in this one as well, because the hut I’m in, once again has no signal. Outside I can get very little.

I think I left about 2..or 3? I see a time stamp of the hut at 5pm. So it took me a few hours..

The steepness of the trail forced me to a breather every about 53 steps. Specific! It was an average. This is like legs day / stair climber every day. Sweating and panting…stopping frequently I can see the hut. I thought it would be at the peak or at least higher up for some reason? There were the 2 couples that stopped in before I left just hanging outside in the sun chatting. I panted “Hello again” and just dropped my pack and sat down. It honestly looked like I peed myself. My shirt was once again soaked and my entire crotch area was wet. (Does that count as my TMI for the day? ‘Too much info’). I attempted to be more social this time around. They were talking about being in the armed forces innnn Iran…? Or one of those counties over there. I chimed in and asked questions whenever I felt necessary. Arabs maybe…? Sigh I wish I could remember better. One couple had been from there and the other couple was from some place in Canada because they were speaking French. They blur together, I’m not sure. As we were talking another couple came up the trail looking exhausted. I hadn’t even been in the hut yet, but they set their packs outside and walked in to check the place out. They came back out a little bit later and started to setup their tent. They really didn’t say too much. I walked in after and was pleasantly surprised with the amount of room there was. All the bunk beds were taken but I could at least have my own side room of a wooden floor. Hey its inside at least!

Pictures of the hut:

I had decided after a relatively short break that I wanted to see the top of the mountain. It might be only a 45 min climb. I was eager to see the top mainly because I didn’t need to take much. I grabbed what water I had, some snacks, and my drone and go pro. Wow, it was soo light! This is how the kiwis feel tramping up a mountain!

In this picture I was up a little bit and took a picture down. If you zoom into the center right of the picture you can see the hut.

You will defiantly need to revisit these blogs after I can get the pictures up because the pictures look like postcards…seriously. You know I try to use filters to put on Instagram or facebook and they never look as good as the original thing.

I also encounter snowww! I guess most of it melted but a few patches up here.

I am basically at par with most of the mountains around. There are only a few that have tons of snow on the top and poke through clouds that you cant see the tops of. No one else at the hut plans on coming up here. I don’t understand why. You made it this far, you only have a teeny way to get to see the top! Nope. I made it up the trail relativelyyy easy. I approached one side of the mountain and it was a drop off, yet I wanted to get up to the highest peak. There had been a trail all along, and I saw a small one looking like it wrapped up the other side of the mountain. Alright, lets try that. It got steeper and steeper, and the ground included squishy dirty, and loose gravel and shale rocks. The kinds you can see all giving out at a once. I tried to stay on as much chunks of grass as I could because I knew at least they had roots and wouldn’t give out from underneath me. I could see the trail go from thin to nothing now. It was getting a bit more hairy as some of the light rocks under my feet would roll down the mountain a bit. That’s steep. I had planned to climb until I literally had to climb then I would turn back. I might have pushed it a bit far and got to a drop off and could go no further. I needed water but didn’t want to let go of my poles or take my backpack off. I made a short video and took some pictures while sitting on a ridge of dirt and grass.

I took some deep breaths and a short prayer. You know what’s worse about going up? Getting down. Climbing is one thing because your face is facing the rocks, but being forced to face down the steep mountain is another thing altogether. I sit there for a while and choose the best path and also see there is a small trail going up the mountain beside me. Maybe Ill do that to be able to see the top. My ultimate goal was to be able to do a 360 and not have to look up at anything taller I could have climbed up. I had to at least focus on getting back to flat ground again. Verrry slowly and steadily I used my poles while mainly on my butt to head down. I poked at each pole spot several times to make sure it was solid. Scaring ya aren’t I? šŸ™‚ After 20 minutes I’m back where the trail was and I feel much safer now. I think I honestly had less fear bunji jumping. Lol. I had contemplated going down and around and up that other mountain. Wait a second….why did I need to take myself to the top, I had my drone on me! Boom, plopped down and got the goods out. Besides some of the advanced follow features, I think I have it pretty well down. I snap some pictures with it and get a lot of good footage. You know before I could even fly the thing, my phone said a update was available. (Oh, I had amazing signal at the top by the way but it got really cold because of the wind up there. I was also worried about getting back to the hut before the sun went down. Soo no time to social media anything. ) The drone needs the controller and the drone to have the same update version on them both. I made the mistake of saying ok to download the update not realized it had to download 2 updates and install both. As soon as the first update went through, I saw the second one coming and said nope. I don’t think I’ll have enough time. I exited the app and restarted the drone. Sigh…I wont let me fly it till the versions are the same… UGHHHHH DJI!! I’m on a mountain with this drone and I’m updating the software…on the side of a mountain! I say fine download the huge update and it super slowly installs to the drone, which the phone needs to have enough battery, the controller needs at least 50% battery and the drone needs at least 50% battery. It takes 25 minutes. Seriously. At least I have another spare battery that is 75% full cuz this update about killed the drone battery. Finished! Slap the new battery in and get ready to take off. Of course I had plenty of time to think of pictures and video I would like to get.

Here’s an amazing shot of yours truly on a boulder from the drone. ..

I know i know, you cant see it. You will definitely have to come back to look again later. It’s epic!

I do my rounds with the drone and the controller starts to beep that the drone battery is at 30% which is considered low. I could change it to less if I wanted to, but why, its just a caution and I get it back pretty quickly.

Pack it all away and head down the mountain again. I cant stop taking pictures..

You can see the huts in this picture.

I get back in time to see everyone out preparing the watch the sunset… I quickly go cook some food and set my phone down on a tripod to get a time lapse. A few of us chat while watching it go down and its a nice moment of solitude and triumph for me. I went further than anyone had up that mountain and got some amazing shots and still get to see this amazing sunset with some hot food. I count that as a big win in my book.

One thing about the sun going down…it REALLY gets cold fast. I setup my air mattress and sleeping bag. Everyone went to bed at 9:30pm. One of the couples said before I went up the rest of the mountain if they could see my photos when I got back so they didn’t have to. They were just playing cards at the table when I left. As it cold too cold to sit outside I came inside to eat at the table and I lit 2 candles that were on the table. I overheard her say to the others that she set her alarm for 1am to go out and get some pictures of the stars. She has a Cannon with a pretty large lens. I have been typing quietly at the table with my jacket, t-shirt, thermal top, pants, thermal bottoms, gloves on and hood up. My fingers are freezing and so are my toes. Both candles went out about 20 minutes ago.

Picture of the sunset over the mountains.

Kinda spooked..just heard an animal running around full speed on the front deck and ran into the door. Changed my red head lamp to white and peered out the window…nothing there. Hm. Red makes it easier on other peoples eyes so when I go into the bedroom my light shouldn’t wake them.

Thoughts:

Today I learned that I’m the turtle in the rabbit and the turtle race story. Probably not the right fairy tale name.

Pause: I just heard the animal again. I turn around and look out the window again. It’s sitting on the railing. Fat cat sized animal, with large ears, a gray body and black tail. He is just racing back and forth across the porch.

Shivering now.

As the turtle, I will always finish the race. I might take a bit longer, but ill be there and probably beat you in the end.

It’s kind of sad that my motivational part is at the end, because thats when I’m the most tired and cold. Might think about changing that.

I also like the phrase..that ‘I am faith fueled’. I like the sound of that.

Not much motivation.

I need to wake up at a good time to get out so I can get back down in a good time.

Ill post this tomorrow when I have signal.

12:12am

Day 16. Macintosh

10:33 am

I’m hiking for two people today! My good buddy Adam Taylor and my tiny friend Mandii Bisnauth. Also, congrats to my Tae Kwon Do teach Terri Himelick for finally having her first baby. I know her and her husband Phil have been trying for years to have one and she finally has one! Atta boy Phil! šŸ˜€

Ive know Adam for what seems like forever! We started in Tae Kwon Do ehhhhh 10 years ago..? I’m not good with time. We started off at Hoffman Karate and made the move to All Star Martial Arts. We were on the demo team together and did most of our routines together. Sword fights, board breaking, weapons routines. Always a good guy. We actually did our Tae Kwon Do demo at Terri’s wedding too! He has grown up so fast and I have seen him turn into a responsible adult before my eyes. He is a manager at 5 Guys Burgers in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is heading 3 hours away to open another 5 Guys in Indianapolis, IN. You’re doing well my friend. Today he requested that I hike for his grandfather, Lewis Taylor. He passed July 22nd, 1999 from Acute Leukemia. He was a firefight in Swanson, Ohio for 53 years! He served as fire chief for 38 years and was also in the Navy. He had quite a life of serving others! I know Adam misses him dearly as I miss my Grandfather as well. Here’s to Lewis!

Mandiiiii, aka Tiny. Today is her Birthday! While working at Stereo D, there was a small bar where all the Stereo employees liked to hang out. It was called, The Joker. Anna (the owner) and Mandii (the unofficial bar tender but knew how to to make all the drinks) basically ran the entire bar. Tiny was ALWAYS there. Lol. So we got to know each other. She has a very good heart and cares about others more than many know. She was a dealt a poor hand to start in life as I was, but she is confidently climbing out of that hole. The hardest thing to do in life is to heal our wounds of the past. Sometimes it takes years.. Just when we think we have it all worked out and are pushing forward, life knocks us down again. She gets back up every time and dusts herself off again. We hung out a couple times outside of the Joker as she really loves to watch scary movies. She loves cats and is a total book nerd. šŸ™‚ Small but mighty, she will triumph! Miss ya Tiny!

Bloggin!

I woke up this morning kind of in a rush? I had to collect all my things and pack them again. It seems the longer I stay in one place the more things I pull out to use. I moleskinned up my feet and even though checkout was at 10 I think I finally left at 11:30?

I was incredibly happy to see the sun again.

Today was really hard..

I did have the breakfast of champions to start the day off though..

I packed everything all away, ate breakfast and lifted my beast of a backpack onto my back. Ive been told by every single person that I’m carrying too much or “what do you have in there..rocks??” I tell each person what I have and that I need technology to capture what I’m doing. Like yesterday and today there are huts on the middle and top of the mountain. One is pay $5 and has 5 bunk beds and the other is first come first serve. Sooo I almost have to take my tent, sleeping, bag, air mattress and pillow. I never know for CERTAIN if I have to set my my tent or not…soo its better to have it than not. Even though I have to take many more breaks and I’m sure with less weight my poor feet would be doing much better.

I walked a ways down the road to get to the entrance to this trail up the Macintosh Loop.

Any takers?

It takes about an hour and a half before I get to the entrance. I’m already pretty sweaty and it must be nice to have a car and just drive places and hike. Sometimes I feel like that’s cheating..? I dunno.

My aim was for the McIntyre Hut, only a measly 3-4 hour hike. Those are kiwi times with barely anything on their back. I believe it took me an extra hour and a half with all my breaks. So I left camp about 11:30am and got to the hut about. 6pm? You guys can do math. I decided to do the Macintosh loop backwards. So I started on the Judah track (a walking trek) and it has a point where it connects to the Mac loop (a tramping path). The walking paths are like a steady maximum incline on any treadmill…forever.

Like so. Also. I saw a small squiggly trail going up that mountain ahead and I made a video… ” Pleeease don’t let that be the trail I need to go up…” heh..

It seems the mountains have 3 sections to them.. (I saw a picture somewhere that explained them, don’t think it took a photo) the bottom section is usually a lovely yellow, like wheat and tall grass area. The middle is more rock and small shrubs and much less wheat looking grass. The tops usually have snow and just rocks and patches of grass. (Like sub-alpine, alpine..?) There were people I saw getting out of their cars at the bottom and as I was almost past the bottom part of the hill, I sat down and took off my boots. Need to air out them feet more often. Moisture is bad news. Had a snack as a few people walked by. Back up and put the boots back on and like to rest the pack on things so I can just lean against it and strap it on, rather than have to hold it up to put it on. Up up up.. Finally it comes to a point on my gps where it shows two trails, one towards the Macintosh loop and the other walking path that continue up the hill. I know these paths are supposed to be well marked, but would the intersection be marked? I saw a path where people walked that way before. Why not. I walk on it for about 30 minutes as the path gets smaller and smaller…like more and more people have turned back..? More and more shrubs, and as the snow melts at the top there are sometimes clumps of grass I have to jump from to avoid large pockets of mud. Most of the ground is pretty squishy. It’s ok, I’ve tramped through worse.. More and more bushes right in the middle of the path that I have to squeeze and scrape through. Some of them are those bushes with about 1in thorns? Lucky I have poles and my braid rimmed hat on. I put my head down and push through. It doesn’t really save my arms though. Some bloody scratches. This tends to happen more and more…at some points I need to crawl to get through to the path on the other side.

I could see on the gps I was getting close to probably the actual path down to meet up with the Mac loop. Guess I took a wrong turn.. Like many others. It alwayys gets harder before it gets easier. I had one more obstacle before hitting the ‘real’ trail.

Screen shot from a video where I had to try to avoid all these mini daggers and get through for about 10ft and up on a ledge to the other side. I tried to figure out the easiest way for about 10 minutes. There wasn’t one. So I just pushed through as the small hooks grabbed not only some skin but felt like they were trying to hold onto my backpack and I painfully muscled through. MADE IT. Whew….

Backup one second…picture of how hard it was..before the thorns.

There were also abandoned mine shafts around and signs told us to make sure we stayed on the path.

(Self timer tripod action)

Back to the main event..

I come to what is supposed to be the main trail on my gps.. I see a solid rusted steel cable attached to the mountain side and it goes down the mountain. Puzzled. I see it also has some large metal tray..? That has a bunch of rocks on it. Ooook. So this was used at back when to take rocks from the middle of the mountain to the bottom I guess? I HOPE this was not what I came here for.. I see a small path that winds up beside it and head up there. NICE the large path that goes up higher to the right and heads down to the left. Whew! I feel like I have a technique now for going downhill that doesn’t rely on only my knees. If I keep straight up and push my I hips a little forward and still use my poles on the ground to keep from slipping, not only does that push the main belt buckle of my backpack forward…also kind of sticking out my bum, it lifts the weight off my shoulders of the backpack, and uses more of my thighs on the way down. Nice eh? Anywho.

Follow the trail down down down…I can tell we have to go all the way down to the river because the hill and the mountain don’t even connect / overlap. I run across a love stream going down to meet the river at the bottom. I take a break there and relax. I’m told all this water is suitable from drinking because it’s from glacier (they say glass-e-eh) and snow melt. WHICH makes the water extremely cold.

Ah yes, this entire time I’ve been listening to the book, ‘Mere Christianity’ by C.S. Lewis. Ive heard TONS of good things about his books, but this will be my first one. I’m very surprised at how good it is. He is narrating his own book and sounds really smart. He might have been a scientist at some point? He was also an Atheist and spend the book explaining how scientifically he set out to prove there was no God…but came up the fact that there had to be one. He goes into some complex situations but always gives you example that you can understand.

One example: If a person doesn’t understand how God can listen to every single person’s prayers at the same time he explains.. “It’s like if you and I are writing a novel…and we are writing about a person in the book. We could take a 3 hour break and come back to writing about them, or 5 minutes or a day. Each person essentially get their own unlimited amount of time with the writer at any given second.”

Another one: Our timeline is past, present, future. Linear. One way. Time is how we record events, so we have a history. Events come, are present, then go into history. This, then this, then this. He is outside of time and doesn’t ever have a history. He can see the entire timeline as if it happens right now. So anything you did in your past, or present, or future, he can see all of them as if you were doing them RIGHT NOW. Confusing isnt it, but it makes sense. He can see the entire timeline.

We were created with free will, just as a teacher would instruct her students to be tidy, and cleanup after themselves and to be good students. One the teacher leaves, she gives the students free will and would hope they would cleanup after themselves and be tidy, but many don’t. Love is giving the person free will and understanding that many wont do as they were taught..

anyway..I don’t think I got that last one right but its from an Atheist point of view to how he proves there is a God. You should really check it out..or just the audiobook if you don’t like to read.

Back to the hiking.

I get to the bottom and the rive is moving pretty fast. I sit down and take of my boots again to air them out and to eyeball how the best way to cross is. I guess I only took videos because I only have a few pictures of my feet. Lol

I probably spend 30 minutes eyeballing… The river / stream / creak is actually flowing pretty fast as the ice and snow melts from the top of the mountain. Hmm first time doing this. I make sure all of my electronics are in zip log bags, take off my shoes and socks and attach them to my backpack, then put on my water shoes and roll up my pants.

Grab my trekking poles and find the most rocks / slowest moving water/ and will only place my feet where I can see bottom. SUPER carefully I start to take steps in this ice cold water. I make sure I understand the consequences of falling in. Not that I would get washed down the river, just that everything I own would get soaked. Like my boots. You cant really hike with wet boots or socks as blisters would be imminent. All that is going through my head as I make my way across. Slowly and carefully sometimes the water goes up to my knee in the non fast moving parts. Buuuut I make it!

You can see a bit more of the creek there.

Sit down. Make sure to dry off my feet REALLY well and pick off some of the pebbles that got inside the water shoes…

You can also see a bit of the pending blister I have and what ‘moleskin’ is. I put my socks and boots back on to start the major tramping portion of the hike. MUCH steeper than the pretty incline I had before. It zigs and zags its way up the mountain and I have to stop and take a breather at each zig and zag.

You can see the tiny trail going up and the left side of the picture where I was a while ago on the pretty walking trail.

FINALLY, after sweating my shirt through, and feeling the greasy salt on my face I make it to the hut on my map. First thing I do…

Amazing view! I’m beat. I’m panting and sniffling in the videos I make. Not sure if I’m still sniffling from the cold or when your body is in overtime your nose runs. Anyone else?

This hut has 5 bunk beds and at least is out of the weather. It has a huge container that catches the rain water, and a sign says you can boil if you wish. Oh, Ill boil. The sun as just set over the mountains as I’m assuming I have the entire hut to myself.

Nope. Two couples arrive to stay with night. Most speaking French and one guy I talk to who is from Canada but moved to NZ about 4 months ago? I hand him my card and we talk a bit. I had already claimed two bunks with all of my stuff so I have to quickly shift it to one. It ok I spose. As I’m cleaning another girl shows up and I found sitting outside making dinner. She is young and says she worked 8 hours today then decided to make this little climb and did it in two hours! Yeeea…..umm. I don’t mention how long it took me and I didnt have to work today at all. I say, ‘You aren’t planning on sleeping outside are you?” She said she isnt sure yet. She will find a place on the gravel floor of the hut to stretch out her sleeping bag. Welllll most of you who know me..can’t allow that. I have everything with me. Including my blow up mattress. I quickly go inside and pull the stuff off my bunk, blow up the mattress and put my pillow on the sleeping bag on the gravel floor so she can’t say no. She is pleasantly happy and appreciates it. She “needed to get good sleep tonight anyway, because she has to work at 6pm the next day”. Lolll. Nice little jog I guess… As most of them set around the picnic table I just laid in my sleeping bag. Not feeling super extroverted tonight I guess? Everyone goes to sleep soon after and twice I wake up and try to turn over and hit my head underneath the bunk bed. How did I slide over to here??

This morning..most made food and left. I might see the 2 couples at the next hut at the peak.

Morning coffee with a view..

I think ill start putting in a section of ‘too much info’ into my blogs..

By far the best view I’ve had on the throne.. lolllllll heh..eh…yea..

Thoughts:

As I trudged up the mountain, I thought this was the same kind of idea for life. It’s an up hill climb everyday. Some choose to stop and take breaks frequently, some see the entire mountain and feel immediate stress and just want to stay comfortable. Some rise to the top as if its nothing. MOST of us…find it incredibly challenging, and some of us take it bit by bit, one small step at a time looking at your feet, and every so often glancing up to know you’re on the right path and you’re still aiming at your goal.

In C.S. Lewis’ book he talks about the fuel needed for life. I would like to think that my faith fuels these long strenuous days. With that kind of fuel, you can go much further than most because you aren’t focusing on your pain or well being, but constantly thinking about the main idea / knowing things will be ok / staying positive for others. Understanding someone is always watching whether you think they are or not.

12:55pm

I’ve been trying to upload this blog and all it’s pictures for 45 minutes. Such poor signal. I’ll have to link the pictures later.. sadly.

Day 15. A ok escape

8:25 am. Toes are cold. Fingers are cold.

So yesterday I came out of my cocoon like a moth. Not a butterfly. How it felt anyway. Had a hot shower with the window open because you don’t close them so when skin wasn’t touching the water it was cold!

Headed to the restaurant so at least my fingers would move faster to type my blog and Anne-Marie, (driving from Queenstown at her hostel) joined me there and we had a decent breakfast.

No idea what to do. So she just drove. Rain rain rain. Got to Queenstown 40 min later. It’s quite a hike from Queenstown to Glenorchy. It was nice of her. She said it was that or stay in her hostel all day.

Oh yea, we picked up a hitchhiker at Glenorchy after we ate heading to Queenstown. His name was Phil. Older gentleman but still quite the adventurer. He said he didn’t know about the cyclone and got caught in it up on the mountain. Said he hiked all day in the rain. Horrible.

Dropped him off at his hostel and decided we would go to Wanaka. I take recommendations from locals and more than one person said to go there and hike up a trail. She had advice from a friend to go to a certain place and eat their scones? I dunno. I’m along for the ride and the company. She also was in search of pavlova? Never heard of it so she showed me a picture:

Ummm yes please!

It’s like an hour to hour and a half to Wanaka. Heading up into the mountains, I had heard of checkpoints where everyone pulls over and the cops make sure you have chains that you know how to put on your car. We were heading up into a snowy area when we saw a bunch of people on the side of the road. She was like, we need to turn back. I don’t have chains. She is also getting anxiety from driving up these sheer cliffs on one side. Kind of jokingly I say I could drive. Mind you… this is the opposite side of the road.. opposite side of the car.. the turn signal and windshield levers are on opposite sides. Heh. She quickly pulls off and says “ok I’ll take you up on that”. Also. She has known me for less than 24 hours and is letting me drive her rented car which only has insurance in her name. Welllll I took it as a challenge. I adapt well to machines and motored things. Changing 36 years of one thing in my brain in his instant would be tougher. I kept saying over and over, “left is right left is right left is right” and anytime I turned my windshield was spotless. 😂 I messed that one up all day. I had to keep a hand on the blinker so I didn’t hit the windshield wipers.

Anywho we pull up to the top where we thought they were checking for chains but it’s just a ton of Asians pulled over to take pictures at a scenic overlook. No offense to Asians, but there was nothing to see! Clouds! Sometimes I think sheeple do things because everyone else is. “Hey there are lots of people in that line.. I want to be in that line!” “Look at all the people pulled over to take pictures… we need to pull over and take pictures!” Anywayyyy. We drove in and drove out.

It was very interesting driving on the other side of the road honestly.

So we arrive at Wanaka and really don’t know where to go. We spot a lake ahead and just go there. So we get out in the rain and decide to walk along it’s shore jumping over the small streams that cut off the beach in so many places.

What a dreary day.

We see a bunch more Chinese people all gathered and taking tons of pictures of something on the lake. So I’ll be a sheeple and walk over so I can take the picture they are all lining up to take.

Cool pic. They love that tree.

Also.. if there is anyone reading who is foreign or of the Asian decent.. pleaaase teach your kids not to throw rocks at the ducks. I have seen it a lot actually. Ducks will come over like you have food but instead get hit with rocks. Grrrrr

We head back to the car and figure we will find that scone place. I take a picture showing that I’m on the wrong side and the view from the car. We have similar tastes in music. She is playing Ed Sherin.

These are scones for anyone that doesn’t know. Some kind of pastry.

I realized going straight on a highway is one one thing driving, but tiny stressful situations I revert back to what I know. Like I’m pretty sure I drove on the wrong side of a parking lot for 3 laps to find a place to park. Also every time I looked left to see the side mirror I just looked at the passenger seat. Weird.

Found that place that was recommended. Sat down.

Only in a place like this will you see people with trekking poles while getting a cup of coffee.

We both have different scones so we can try the others. Meh. Not a big fan. Not sure what the big deal was. We spend some time there looking for a place that has pavlova. Even asking some of her local friends. It’s supposed to be a big thing here in NZ. She points at a town on the way back and says we should try there.

So we head out. Drive drive drive. City. Very small city where you pass the city center quickly. Of course most of it’s closed. It’s like 6pm now.

Realized the other thing we had or lunch our stomachs tell us. So we just head beck to Queenstown and park to find some food.

We head towards my favorite lake to see FINALLY the rain is clearing..

We do that thing where while your walking you check the menus of about 5 places to eat and always go back to the first one. Igor knows what I’m talking about.

Forgot the name of the restaurant but it was cool. A Dj was setting up and we had dinner while they played regular music over head. We just kind of hung out there for a while. Lots of people watching. Then when the dj had setup we liked to laugh at peoples dancing. Not in a mean way, but for some reason everyone dancing was in sweatpants and some guys had fanny packs on. They looked really young too. Like we were at a middle school dance. Very interesting experience. Finally we head out and I drive myself back to my campground. I counted 10 possums / love animals I had to watch out for. Not a normal thing for me. Her living in Colorado it was.

I don’t know why I forget to take pictures with these people. I always think I can later then don’t.

Got back and headed to my little cold tent. She has to leave in two days, but doesn’t have the gear to do the hike I want to do. So she is going to do some hike in Queenstown and I’ll set off today to conquer this one. Pretty cool girl.

This is a good sign. Sun!

Checkout is 10am. Hope he doesn’t mind me leaving a bit later. Eating and packing all this up is going to take a little longer.

This two day storm came at the right time, my snot is no longer yellow (too much info?) and my blister is better. I’ll have to take better care of my feet. Learning to fly on the way down.

“Do your best and then relax. Let things go on in a natural way, rather than force them.”

-PARAMAHANSA YOGANANDA

Need to get up this mountain! Enjoy your day peoples.

Day 14. Bunkered down

9:45am Wednesday

I’m not sure if most of you know or not but there was a pretty bad cyclone hit New Zealand so it’s been raining a ton, really windy and, now there’s snow on the mountain tops. (Where I was supposed to be today) Yesterday:

Today:

Same mountains.

So I did a lot of this:

The mountains I was supposed to be at the top of today:

There wasn’t snow there yesterday!

It’s also a lot colder here too. The high today is 50(f) and the lows get to the upper 30’s (f). It gets so cold at night I pretty much have to wear all my cloths, then pull the sleeping bag over my head and like a mummy I cinch the head part closed till only my nose and mouth can get air. Lol funny image I’m sure. (I don’t have a picture because that would require an arm outside of the sleeping bag. I had 3 pairs of socks on, my thermal bottoms and pants, a T-shirt and a thermal top on with my jacket and hood over my head. I also was wearing my gray beanie over my ears. Lol. I was actually pretty warm till I had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Ughh then coming back I had to take off my wet jacket and cocoon myself back in. I was pretty warm.

I extended my stay for 2 days at this campground.

I just had to get myself a hot meal, so I went to the only place that serves real food and head a hearty lunch.

The silver lining, I did get out to the small coffee shop yesterday. There is really nothing to do in this town. There’s a general store and a bar/inn/restaurant and a coffee shop. I picked up a book about ‘tramping’ and started reading about things like ‘what to do if you have a blister’, ‘how much food should I have’, ‘how much water should I bring’ yadda yadda yadda.

I was reading one of their books so I got a large cookie and a cappuccino.

I also knew was ‘scroggin’ was because I got a decent sized bag at the grocery store.

It’s basically the same thing as trail mix, nuts, berries, chocolate, chips, and some other good stuff. Oh oh, I was asked if I wanted tomato sauce with my breakfast… umm no thanks. Saw this in the general store:

Oooooooooo ketchupppp. Lol I see now.

Anyway I’m just readin away and this coffee shop is getting more and more busy. A girl sits down with her laptop beside me and I overhear her tell the worker that she feels bad that she hasn’t done any work while on her vacation and should at least answer some emails. So I look up from my book and talk about how sucky that is. Anyway we start chatting and are really just trying to get out of the rain. Anne-Marie. She works out of Colorado and her company paid for her to go to Australia for a few weeks then one week in NZ. Must be nice! Anyway we basically just kind hangout for the rest of the day. The coffee shop closes so we walk across the street to the restaurant and keep talkin while watching the Olympics for the first time. She rented a car so she drove back to the campsite and figured we would hangout today since she felt bad for me because the weather sucks. It’s supposed to be 20 degrees warmer tomorrow, so at least I can try and shake this cold and have a better understanding of how my feet get blisters. I got some ‘hikers wool’ from the store and in the book they say to stop as soon as you feel a hot spot on your foot and take a break / take your boots off and allow them to dry or swap with a dry pair of socks. Noted.

So I’ll head up the mountain tomorrow. Sorry I don’t have any new and exciting pictures but pouring rain and bring really cold succckss. At least Anne-Marie is just going to drive us around so I’m not stuck in my tent. I planned on listening to some audio books in my tent, but I guess I didn’t need to.

I heard a guy at my campground talking about how a lot of people were stuck at Milford sound because I guess there is only one way in and the road is covered with water. I also heard the north island got smashed too.

Even though it’s a pretty bad situation I feel I’m in the best spot possible. I kind of compare this situation to my Cancer. It’s actually a really bad situation, but I had the best of the worst in that situation. I know the Lord tells you to yield for your own safety. Doesn’t matter what happens, it’s ALWAYS for the best.

In this cold rainy day, I feel pretty blessed.

I’ll leave you with these two pictures that I feel are accurate for this point in my life.

1. Just good knowledge that what we think, we become.

2. I had the privilege of going to Celebration Church in Orlando, Florida for a bit over a year and I still Celebration church on Instagram. Pastor Josh Turner has always hit the nail on the head.

Aaand something funny to lighten the mood. (Picture in the bathroom)