Day 5 and 6. Recuperation.

10:53pm Monday Blogging about Sunday and today.

I don’t have any epic stories for Sunday and today was kind of only a traveling day.

Sunday was the first day we didn’t have to get up to go anywhere. We slept in and it was aamazingggg. We both were pretty sore and walked like 90 year old men in need of wheelchairs. I realized that was because our calves were so sore that we were just trying not to use them. You should try walking around not using your calf muscles and see how that goes. After I realized that I started doing what I should have been doing, stretching. Point toes, pull toes back point pull point pull. Painfulllll. Igor on the other hand doesn’t like to put himself in pain, so he would never stretch. Lol. By the end of the first day I was walking pretty much normal again. We only left the room to go to the small restaurant of the Last Light Lodge.

Let me tell you about that place. It was our first campground and when Igor got back much earlier than I did Saturday it was recommended that he get a room there. This place makes you feel so much at home. No one is in a hurry, life is laid back, everyone is nice, the food…..the food is to die for. They have their own garden and chickens and everything they make is super fresh. They make everything themselves. We kept talking about how dangerous this place was because of how we could feel like we never wanted to leave. Igor said “this place is like quicksand!” Dangerously good food. Lol

We knew we wanted to get out of there and head to a different town. Our checkout time was 11AM the following day and we still had no plans of how to leave or what to do. We had to sit down and talk. He flat out said that he didn’t intend on backpacking anymore… Kind of threw my head for a loop. He wanted better accommodations and not much physical activity. The opposite of this whole trip for me.. We talked about going our own way in a few days. I don’t want to leave him, but I don’t want to trade the soul of this trip for more money and to be lazy. I really struggled that night thinking of what I should do, where I should go, and how I or we would get there. I was praying in my mind laying on the bed and literally like 2 minutes later I got a comment from my blog. It was from Katarina? She was the girl from the “young couple” I wrote about in my blog. We were talking in the kitchen and I gave her a card of mine if she wanted to follow along or whatever. She gave a long detailed list of amazing advice, things to do, and places to go. You can read her comment on the last blog I posted. Day 4 I believe. I know you’re reading this, so thank you Katarina!

We finally decided on going to a close popular city Te Anau. It was like 8pm and were about to be kicked out of our room at 11am and still had no way to get there. Our little town was way off the beaten track. There was a shuttle that ran through the same Humpback Trail people that could take us there but they were closed already and were told they wouldn’t take us if it were just the 2 of us. Only other option was to hitchhike. We talked to an employee in the small restaurant and he was saying people would do it all the time. We asked what time the Hump Ridge office opened because we saw the shuttle ran at 3pm only. They opened at 7:30am. So we had to wake up early to call them and find out. Igor said or we could just stay another day, but asked about that and they were all booked. So we had to leave no matter what. I called the next morning and it went pretty well. They would pick us up at 3pm. Ook well we still had to be out of our room at 11am. So we repacked out backpacks and moved them to some kind of movie room they had? It was just a big tv and a DVD player. We were told we could just hangout there till we got picked up.

We searched all morning for ANY place to stay when we got there. I guess 95% of the town was booked solid. Igor finally found a campsite close to Te Anau Lake and booked it right before we left the Last Light Lodge. Of course we almost got seduced into buying more than just breakfast there. I had a raspberry and strawberry sorbet glass of ice cream right before we got a lift. Ugh..so good.

Good ole George came with his van and another fellow who had JUST finished the hump ridge trail and was going to Te Anau to stay the night then going back to Australia where he lived. He was here for 2 months. Everyone I talk to makes me feel like 40 days is pathetic lol.

It was about an hour and a half ride and George was nice enough to drop us off at our campground. There is a ton more people here just walking around vs the barren city of Tuatapere. Walked into the main office where we waited for a few people to be helped and they circled 4 places on the map where we could setup our tents. We took longer than necessary to pick a spot because we wanted to make sure we were close to the amenities / water / shower stuff. Hungry but didnt want any dried meals I saw there was a strip of restaurants and a grocery store about a 20 min walk. We setup our tents then realized we should plan something for tomorrow before the office closes.

They have a ton of options ranging from hikes to a few hour cruises, to helicopter rides to kayaking tours to getting to see the glow worm caves. They are some kind of worms that give off a bioluminescent glow? There was also a track called The Milford Track. Supposed to be a challenging but beautiful hike. (I suppose ill start calling them Tramps instead since Katarina said that’s what Kiwis called them instead of hiking). Anyway, the Milford gets booked up MONTHS in advance. I guess a lot of these trails are run by the government so they only allow as many people on the trail until the huts are full. (I feel like I’ve said that before…?). Figured an easy day for the both of us would be doing that Milford cruise and the glow worm cave tomorrow night. Kind of a compromise with Igor so I’m not just bailing on him to go hiking some more. Once agin…I can hear him snoring a tent over. I know you’ll read this too Igor, so thanks for at least not wanting to jump right to a fancy hotel and at least grab a campground to setup our tents. I need some kind of rugged in my life still! Maybe it was just that everything was booked but this patch of grass. Lol

So we booked both for tomorrow, boat ride from 8:20-4:30 then we wanted to glow worm earlier but only 9pm something was available. I think its another small boat that goes through the cave at night for 2 hours.

After that we headed to go get groceries and food. We walked down by the water because it was on the way.

Quite a lovely view! I got a time lapse of the light shining through the clouds that ill post tomorrow. They are called God Rays. Maybe that’s just a visual effects term, I’m not sure.

Strolled there and walked up and around the center part of this town. Incredibly geared towards tourists. Signs all over the place for tons of things. Kind of similar to what was offered at our campground. Anyway we grabbed a few groceries. Grabbed food at a decent restaurant and headed back. We were both pretty tired when we got back and sat on our picnic table but a fellow plopped down beside us and we started chatting. His name was Phil and he is from Switzerland. He planed to only be here a month or so then spend some time in Australia. After his first week here he decided to spend more time here and only 10 days in Aus to visit some friends. This place is addicting lol. I finally went to brush my teeth as we said goodnight. That takes me to here where I sit blogging to my faithful readers and not getting as much sleep as I should. Heh… It’s ok, its worth it knowing that people can experience what I’m doing out here. Plus one day I can look bag and remember everything i did.

Random forgotten things..

Looks bad huh? It’s a combination of sunburn and sand fly bites. This was taken two days ago. I was reading about them and it seems they are worse than mosquito bites as they itch more, leave bigger bumps, and last longer! Little punks!

It seems the thing to do here is drive your car to a camp site, get out a few camp chairs, and sit. The lady seemed surprised that we didn’t have a car.

Been trying to think of a quote or something motivational…cant. Too tired.

Wait …got one!

“The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find themselves in places no one has ever been before.” Albert Einstein

12:27am

Day 4. Jealous of Igor’s Helicopter Ride

1:26 PM Sunday Blogging about yesterday.

We were put into a room with another young girl and guy and I came in late the night before from typing my blog. Woke up accumulating more pain than the day before. Legs, calves, shoulders. We had porridge at 7:30am and I had a coffee and a can of sprite from the night before. Only place to charge anything was a USB strip in the kitchen to charge my power bank and phone. Igor usually eats like a bird lol. Not very much and kind of picky. It’s hard for him to get a big meal down, but its necessary with all the calories we are about to burn. Right before I head to get my backpack on I had a 2 minute walk to get a picture.

Another amazing view. We get all our gear on and start to walk. I’m sore but I feel like I have regained 75% back to normal. Igor said he felt worse. Much worse. We left before most people did. There might have been 10 people in different rooms. Each day we were supposed to cover 20 kilometers. I think that’s roughly 13 miles..? Ive looked it up before, too lazy to again. I could tell it was going to be a long day if we had to stop at the top of small inclines for him to catch his breath. An hour away from the campground his body broke down on him. He said he legs wouldn’t work anymore. I could see them uncontrollably shaking and his hands and left thumb kept spasming and cramping. We kind of sat for 20 minutes trying to figure out the best options… She mentioned kind of jokingly before we left that if needed we could get a helicopter ride out of there for $5000. Heh. That’s crazy! I don’t think so. As we sat, he kept saying he didn’t know if he could make it, and me being like, yea you can! Being the motivational person I am, I was like we will just stop more often. I could tell nothing I said would work and it would take us at least 13 hours to do this hike if we continued to stop this much. I said out loud, “Lord what do you want me to do??” We had three options. 1. Continue VERY slowly. 2. Go back and see if he recovers in a few days to hike out. 3. Heli him back to the car park for 5 grand. Can you imagine yourself in that situation? I was extremely frustrated and he was even more than I. Shaking and emotionally broken. It’s crazy that he wanted to turn back and pay so much to get out of there…just shows how much pain he was in. We started the slow walk back to camp. I walked on ahead of him so i could talk to the lady working the campground. She looked worried as soon as she saw me. She knew he wasn’t in the best condition leaving. I said to her, his body broke on him an hour out. Legs wont work, cramping, shaking, hand spasms. I told her that staying longer at the camp wasn’t really an option and he was looking into the heli ride for 5 grand…. She said “You guys are lucky! I just ordered the helicopter to come here to pick up a shipment of supplies so it will only be $1000!” Lol….what deal! Igor came and hobbled to a bench and plopped down. She went over to check him out.

She did a few tests and then pushed a thumb down on his arm to see how fast the white fingerprint went away. It’s a way to see if your blood is circulating well enough and if you are hydrated enough. (I’m no doctor, but I know that it’s not good if it stays white for a few seconds). It did. She asked if the only thing he had was the porridge and he did. It’s obviously not enough nor did it have enough salt. (Salt helps with cramps). She said she had to make some quick calls to see if there was room on board for him. While she was on the phone I was discussing where we would meet because I wanted to continue the hike alone. I was about an hour and a half behind schedule now. It was taking us 11 hours a day to get to each campground. It was about 10am so I knew I would have to book it. She got off the phone and said “You guys are really lucky! The heli guy said it was only $400 today to get a lift!” Hahaha yesssss! From $5000 to $400. Ill call that the angel discount. (No such things as coincidences). So we verified that we both had phone and would stay in contact. She said I could take anything I didnt need out of my backpack and leave it for the heli to take. Nice! I unloaded about half of my stuff. She said I needed to call this guy the runs the humpback ridge trail and this bridge right after the beach section ended. For some reason I thought that he would come pick us up before the end of the trail but then quickly realized it was so he had time to get to the park to pick me up. She said something like “Call him at this spot on the bridge where you will have signal and before you take the 1000 steps up”. She was laughing. Figure it was a joke. Anyway, I very quickly left making sure Igor would be ok and we had planned to meet. Go Go Go! I got back to the same spot we stopped in like 25 minutes. It was sooo humid, every time I stopped to take a quick breather and some water I could see steam coming off of me. Even more odd, every time I exhaled I could see my breath like it was really cold, but it wasn’t! A couple hours in I could hear the helicopter fly over head. I took a video which I hope plays in this blog. (Never tried video before, don’t think it will work.) https://www.thehopehike.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/img_0996.mov

As it flew over me, I said ” There’s Igor’s ride! Jealous….” I was happy we made the decision to turn back. The hike was a lot more difficult that I thought it would be. Knowing that he was being taken care of was a relief for me as well. After a few hours of sweating and steaming the hike opened up to a short beach walk. It was around noon, so I was feeling hungry and say down on my own private beach front property. Lol. I used my jetboil to quickly boil some water and make eggs and bacon in a small pouch that you just add boiling water to and close the top and wait 10 minutes then you can eat it right out of the bag. Expensive little meals though. The beach seemed to rejuvenate my soul and muscles. The beach has been my happy place for so many years. I couldn’t think of a better place to be. Even though there was time constraints…you have to enjoy the moments you have and not worry about deadlines or the fast pace of life. I got out my drone and played around with it for 2 hours! I was warned against staying on the beach too long because there were ‘sand flies’. Sand flies are about the size of fruit flies, but they bite you and like mosquitos survive on blood of mammals. I had put bug repellent on right before I hit the beach, so I was doing ok. They are 5x worse than mosquitos because they fly quicker, are smaller, and you cant hear them or feel them till after they have bit you! They also find the smallest areas of your skin that you don’t have repellent to bite you! I put it all over my arms, neck and cheeks, and a bit on the back of my hand. Not on the backs of my fingers though. Mistake. I was constantly walking up and down the beach flying the drone because if i stopped they swarmed around me. I think I even jogged a few times to look behind me to see how fast they could fly to keep up. Haha. Also have a blue broad rimmed hat on, it seemed the big honey bees keep thinking its a flower! Flying and landing on my hat! (Things you have no idea about when you buy things in the comfort of your concrete jungle city. Only experience can teach you). When I sat down to eat when I got there they weren’t so bad. As time went on, its like the little flies went home and told family members about this amazing meal and there seemed to be more and more. I was about done flying my drone around when a guy about my age was walking over to me with his big backpack. White fellow with the same hat as I did but not a flower color. Asked if I was just getting footage of New Zealand and we talked for a while. His name was Levi and he was from Australia. He had just been backpacking around and camping for 3 months! Had a decent sized beard and told me a story about a time he was stuck in a hut for 3 days because it was constantly raining. He said he only had a solar panel so his lost all his electricity on the first day. Talked about how bored he was because his kindle died and had no way to charge it. Gave him my card and added each other on facebook. Cool dude! Igor had booked ‘The Kepler Track” for us to start that same day as soon as we got back. LOL. He also booked us three sites to stay along the way. No way that’s happening. I told Levi and he said that many of the huge hikes are owned by the government here and will only let enough people on them till the huts are full. Kind of disappointing. The Kepler was another 3 day hike but was more difficult than the one we just did. I think there should be a disclaimer on the difficulty of the tracks. Ours was ‘moderate’. I think they should say that the kiwis consider it moderate but anyone who doesn’t hike constantly is quite challenging. Levi was just heading to hike some of the south parts of the island.

I figured I wasted too much time and left in haste knowing I had about another 3 hours to go. Back up into the jungle up and down and up and down. Over streams and tiny waterfalls, over suspension bridges that could hold 1 person at a time and swayed and bounced as I walked across. This picture wasn’t one of them. This was just before the beach / bacon and eggs part. I figured the caption would be: I better not!

Eventually I ended up on a beach that seemed like it went on forever!

There was either car tracks to follow a little bit from the coast or you could just walk on the beach the last 7-8 kilometers. (I was covering 1km every 15-18 minutes). They had small white posts that said how many there were left till the destination. Igor called them “little white guys” lol. “Where is that next little fu&$in white guy?!”

Eventually the beach portion ends and I see the large suspension pedestrian bridge. I’m beat. My legs, shoulders, and feet are all really painful and sore now. Funny comparison: I relate the feeling to when you have to go poo. You body somehow knows how close you are to home and your own personal toilet and as you get closer you just have to go more and more! Well its the same thing here excerpt with your muscles. As I knew I was getting closer to the end, my ‘hang in there attitude’ was starting to fail. There was 2 km left. I called and the guy said he would pick me up in 45 minutes. Cool easy enough. I had texted Igor and he got a room back at our first campground and the Last Light Lodge. It was about 20-30 min car ride from where we got dropped off at. They had taken him there and this guy who was some kind of manager for the Humpback trail that we were on would take me there.

Backup a few hours. There weren’t any ‘real’ places to get water along this entire day and I knew it going into it. Two liters of water should have been ok, but since I was going so fast I went through it kind of fast. I have a small water filter but hadn’t really used it in a stream situation where i chose the water source. I eyeballed streams as I walked over and past them. Too dark. Not moving fast enough. Stagnant. Green on the surface. Too much dirt. Too far down. Came across one that was moving pretty well, looked clear, so I pulled off my pack and got my filter stuff out. Ill make a video later of how I do this. There is a small pouch you fill with the ‘dirty’ water then you screen the filter on top of it that has a nozzle on the clean end that you aim into your bottle and you squeeze the pouch to force the water through the filter into your bottle. I filled up another liter. I was really kind of hesitant to drink it..So I waited a few hours till I got to that bridge to even try it. I knew I needed to since my throat was now dry and my lips were starting to feel chapped. Here goes! I gulped down quite a bit. If any side effect would happen I would have already been in good hands. Needless to say its the next day and I’m fine. Trust your gear!

Back to the end of the hike.

I realized after the bridge that I had forgotten how many steps we came down to get to the beach. We were so excited and happy and healthy that it didnt matter, all we talked about was the sound of the ocean erasing any doubts in our minds. Well. It wasn’t 1000 steps but it sure felt like it. At least 200. Why in life are the hardest tests at the very end of the journey?? Like when your season is about over and you know you need to move on but life throws a real tough situation to keep you in fear and where you are, or you can push through it to better things. I now knew why he said 45 minutes for me to cover such a little distance. Made it to the top and still had another 20 min hike. The closer I got the more my body hurt and my feet and shoulders were screaming at me. Through the jungle, twists and turns and more turns relatively flat. I finallly see the end with a small wooden gate and a van in front of it with a guy waiting for me. The first thing he says to me… “Well done!” Those two words meant a lot. God says to you after you have a finished your journey having a faith filled life: “Well done my good and faithful servant”. Mathew 25:21

I dropped my pack in the back and he drove me back to where Igor was at the campground.

Closing out the 3 day hike thoughts:

You never know how far you can push your body till it breaks. Failing is the only way to know and learn from it. No one likes to fail. Just the word sounds so horrible and depressing. I usually say, “You cant fail if you never quit”. Which is true but WHEN we fail, its what you can learn from it that really means if you fail or not. Failing can be our worst enemy or our best teacher.

I somehow can push through pain. Your mind is SO incredibly strong. It controls your breathing, your pain, your fear, your body. When there is nothing to do hiking…your mind immediately listens to your muscles yelling at you to stop! Focus on good thoughts to control that. I mean you realllly need to focus.

We are taking the day off today. The plans that were planned are now cancelled with 100% cancellation fee if its within. 1-3 days. We will just eat the cost and rack it up to experience. We will see how we feel and figure out the next steps from here.

3:38pm

Proverbs 16:9

“We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps.”

Day 4.

Taking the day off tomorrow, will blog all bout it when I awaken from my slumber.

Goodnight!

Or good morning to everyone else.

Day 2 and 3 – a grueling pace

10:09pm

This will probably be a pretty long blog post so hold onto your knickers..

So yesterday we picked up from our campground at 7:30am and taken to the office in charge of this trek. The HumpRidge Track. I guess a handful of people had their backpacks helicoptered to where they were staying the first night. Kinda cool I guess. Probably pretty expensive.. We were told we needed to get to our campground lodge place between 5-7 or they would send out a search party for us.. heh… (its summer here so it gets dark about 9:30pm). No problem! Nice an easy start! Just tramping along and this trail runs along the shoreline for quite some time. Beautifulllll! Hiked on the beach quite a ways then back into jungle that felt like we were in Jurassic park. Huge plants with huge leaves. They looked like huge ferns..? Some places looked exactly like where the velociraptors were running along to kill people in the first movie. This is the calm before the storm.. We think we are doing pretty well! Up and down through jungle and the sun is out and shining. We kept getting told we came at the right time.

The trail is very well marked. We barely even look at the map. Our tired faces at checkpoint 4. Looking at the map we barely made it anywhere!! Plus we are already tired and we have a huge mountain to climb soon?? Geeze. So we make it point 5 where there is a hut..

If that isn’t reassuring, I don’t know what is. Getting water is pretty cool in a New Zealand kind of way. There is a bridge a short walk with some kind of pot attached to a rope. There is a fast moving creek below so you have to lower the pot down and get water and pull it back up. I have a video of Igor doing it. Everyone says the waterfalls and streams in NZ are safe to drink. Igor does. I use my filter and filter it into my 2 single liter bottles. Have a small meal with our jetboils in the hut. We picked up gas right before we came there. All prepared for this hill and I tell Igor….this is probably going to be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. No joke. Looking back on it, it might have been for the both of us. In the first 3 hours of the hike, Igor broke both of his trekking poles. Light isn’t always better I guess? One of them kind of works after we mess with it. I gave him one of mine. This trail sometimes we have to climb with our hands grabbing a hold of trees etc. We do literally stop every 5 minutes to rest. I don’t think Ive sweat that much in a very long time. My shirt was soaked, even though its an expensive shirt from MEC that wicks away moisture.

We both for some reason have in mind that our finish line is at number 6 instead of 7. Shoulder pain. Back pain. Neck pain. Pain pain. Once we realized it was almost mid way up that it wasn’t the finish line. All motivation left and panic set in. Igor started to freak out. I was pretty nervous if we could even make it to the top. When Igor panics, he doesn’t like to eat. NOT good if we are burning hundreds of calories an hour. I have to keep telling him every stop. Take another bite of your granola bar. Another. Another. He starts shutting down. He has a camel back of water and I have 2 bottles. I prefer the camel back but I wanted to know how much water I had. He had his orange juice bottle from the morning filled up but didnt fill his camel back up. I am now loaning him my water. Which really starts to freak me out. I have a full bottle left after we Finnish another one of mine. If we don’t get up this hill I’m going drop my backpack and climb. He seriously talked about getting up the next number and leaving his backpack there and coming back for it in the morning. Slowly but surely.. We painstaking make it up the hill. The campground sent out 2 people looking for us when we were 10 minutes from it. They were relieved and one guy took Igor’s pack and hauled it back. We kind of thought we had to setup our tents but they had some people cancel and got our own room with 4 bunk beds. All Igor wanted as a beer on the mountain and all I wanted was a snickers bar. They had both. Lol. Had a celebratory before for making with, backpacks in tact.

I have to give it to Igor. He said he almost had a panic attack but calmed himself and kept going. He never gave up! Determination at its finest. The main kitchen had an amazing view, which I saw in the morning. We got ‘shower tokens’. One each. Good for a 4 min shower!? It was $10 for another. We both bought 1 more. Best 8 minutes of my life. LOL HOT shower. Saw signs that said we needed to be out by 9am the next day to make it time to get to the next lodge. The next morning they served porridge at 7:30am. Every food is amazing now. At least we saw on the map that it was just downhill and shouldn’t’ be near as bad. There was a lookout that was a bit higher but we were able to take off our packs to go up and see. We took pictures up there and we pretty much ended up leaving the area by 10am. Ehhhh an hour isn’t too bad, as it was just downhill stuff. There was wood planking all the way on top of the ridge to the campground and back to where we headed to our second lodge. We had to go up for the first hour. Muscles and bodies not recovered from the day before Igor sits down and says his vision is going and out, He sometimes only sees highlights? Not good. We take like a 30 min break where he recovered and is good to go. We just need a slower pace going up hills and that worked. Just pushing too hard. A sign says we will get to a food and water shelter in 2 hours. It takes us 3. We cook some food, hydrate and take some ibuprofen. I have learned that you need 3 things for a solid performing body. Food. Water. Rest. We had throw 3 things and with little pain we head down the mountain with 1000 steps and tree roots and mud and rocks and suckiness. You really have to watch your knees going down. It’s tough on them. So I braced my poles going down every step. We are going down hill for like 3 hours at a good speed. I feel good, we are basically making up time! We just need to get to the bottom and it should be fine. We get down to the bottom feeling good till I look at the map. It was like 4pm and I saw that we were only halfway… We were pushing so hard only to find out we had so much more to go. Our motivation and our pace was good, then we ran into a bridge that was out of order. There was like 100 steps down …cross this stream then 100 steps up. Maybe I’m exaggerating the 100 steps but it was at least. Incredibly tired was sat down at the top. It started raining.. Coool. After panting for 15 minutes we start to move. We followed some abandoned railroad tracks with no tracks. Tons of mud and water. Sometimes stepping in mud that would go up over the toe in our shoes. There are white poles every kilometer that say how many left till the lodge. We were running physical fumes. Igor cussing all the way. We celebrate each kilometer by takings break. It looked funny..but every time we took a break we just bent forward so we were horizontal with the ground and leans on our poles to take the weight off our shoulders. “Break!” *Bow quickly face towards the ground* We FINALLY made it. Still raining Igor barely made it to a picnic table. Staggering. I’m in a lot of pain as well, but now he staggers when he walks without his pack on. He says it doesn’t hurt but his muscles don’t want to work properly. We again ask for another shower token to have an 8 minute shower. I can see where my backpack rested on my shoulders. Nice thick red lines from my neck down to my armpits. My calves and thighs are sore.

We were thinking the last day of the hike would be pretty easy. Just hike back by the beach and out. We will be returning to the same guy and same place we got dropped off at. George the drive told us that in a few days he would pick us up at pm to head back. I’m talking to the lady that works at this lodges who was in the van as well and she said we needed to get back by 2:30pm! Day 1, 20km. Day

2, 20 km. Day 3, 20 km. She said he had other people he needed to pick up and drop off and she wondered how we were going to get there in time? Hold on….we PAID for this trek and all we have gotten was pain and you have to be here at this time. I asked how it was possible to get there by 2:30pm. “Well…you need to have your bags packed and ready so you can leave 7:30am tm. Take a 5 min break here, lunch 15 there and 2 more 5 min breaks here. Don’t stop at the beach, you wont have time.” What horrid news. Igor wasn’t there at the time we talked but I really didn’t want to tell him before he had a shower and ate. Well he came in and sat down. She starts talking and I basically say I don’t think we can make that. Igor is seriously limping and I’m walking like I have to take a huge poop. She gave us 2 other options. Kind of jokingly she said he could have a helicopter ride back. She said for $1000. Pshhhh no. She’s also said that we could stay the night there when we got back and George would just grab us the day after. Then she made some calls. We are to call the office of the trail we are on at this certain point. They would come get us at the end of the trail so George didnt have to. We can take as long as we want. Good. She asked if we had any plans after that. I guess Igor planned another hike starting sometime tomorrow. She said that hike was harder than this one. He also booked a hut / campground for that hike. Not happening. So most of the plans were made didnt really work out, but at least we are here. We are going to go back And stay at our first campground, and play it by ear. Taking a day to recoup. Just going to listen to our bodies and figure out the next step. So I’m in the kitchen while everyone else is sleeping so I don’t wake them. My phone is resting on one of Igor’s beers he didn’t finish. Lol

So …you’re caught up. The pretty pictures I post have a lot of pain involved. It’s now 11:45pm and have to wake up by 6:45am.

This all sounds like a crazy kind of torture. I’m doing painfully ok. I just wish Igor knew what he got himself into. Hes 45. Totally honest here, we had only done 4 hikes before this. You just have to jump in. The first week is ALWAYS the hardest. Your body freaks out and yells at you the entire time. It will adapt to you if it knows you will continue to do this. I bet we lost thousands of calories but I’m sure our muscles will be stronger everyday. They have to.

Oh yea, I did a live Facebook broadcast when I went up 57 steps so I could yell down to Igor so he could count on the way up. He was exhausted and just sat down. I don’t seem to be so good with words, but how many people get to see New Zealand? Ill probably do more. Soon.

Thank you for the donations!

Standing strong for those who cant.

Day 2. Exhausted..

11:17pm. All day hiking.

Energy zapped.

I’ll type two posts tomorrow, falling asleep just typing these few sentences.

Lights out

Day 1 …night

10:46pm. (4am in TO and IN time..but the day before. Isn’t that complicated…but cool?)

I’m sitting in my tent, with my head lamp on, with my collapsible Bluetooth keyboard, typing words to my phone that is being charged by my power bank. Lol. A tiny work station of sorts.

Going back a few hours..

As I’m sure you’re aware Ive met some pretty cool people already! It’s especially awesome when you realize those people you meet and talk to add a branch of possibilities to your life that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Like unlocking a side quest in video games! You always get some benefit from completing them. ….nerding out here. I can hear Igor snoring a tent over..

So I wrapped my large backpack at Pearson Airport with this blue seran wrap machine. I had my trekking poles strapped to the side of it with two socks over the metal tips thinking that would stop them from poking through. I also put my water proof cover over my backpack that was supplied with it incase you get caught in the rain, it shields your pack from getting wet. I also put it on to keep in all the dangling straps as to not get caught in the conveyer belts. It was awesome to see when i got my bag when I got to Auckland that not only did the tip tear through the socks but also my water proof cover. Nice. Then going through customs I had to check everything that I brought. Needless to say I brought a very small container of honey. I guess that’s not allowed in NZ? So I had to tear off all my plastic that my bag was wrapped in to get this dumb tube of honey. Knowing I had to get on another plane, that sucked because I would have to figure out how to protect my bag and keep all the straps from getting caught again. They ended up taking the tube and keeping it. Cool. They also had to take both of our tents out to verify there was no dirt on them or our boots. Right..my tent is in the core of my pack. Anyway they gave us our wadded up tents back and had us sign that we had everything when I wasn’t exactly sure what all was there before. I asked where we could roll up and unpack and repack our bags. “Right there on the floor.” Thanks! Surprisingly they had another wrapping machine at Auckland Airport. Wrapped it again and had the woman wrap more around the trekking pole tip that poked through my bag.

We got on another plane and flew for 2 hours. I was pretty beat but couldn’t sleep because of crying babies and excited Chinese women behind me. Arrived in Queenstown. From everything I’ve heard its around this town that is the best backpacking not only in NZ but its said to be some of the best in the world? We arrive and open our backpacks from the new wrap like kids opening presents on Christmas. We also have to combine our carry on things that couldn’t be put into checked bags. (Drone. Drone batteries. More batteries. GPS. All my tech stuff). So we quickly do that then rush out to meet a bus that’s supposed to take us to another bus who is supposed to take us to our campground. Just being out in the amazingly warm air and sun, i’m no longer tired. Our driver guide guy said he would be back at 7:30am to get us to take us to our first 3 day hike. Kinda giddy, kinda nervous. We arrive at our campground, and talk to the people inside a cozy cafe that owns the place. They were explaining the layout and where to find our camping spot like in most campgrounds. Except she mentioned showering… $2 for 3 minutes…BUT you can add more money and get more time! Crazy. Needless to say I almost felt like a homeless person tonight trying to get my hair wet first in the sink and shampooing before I put any money in this box on the wall. Classy camping night 1.

As I type I’m charging my drone batteries in some open 24/7 kitchen area. It has pots and pans and a fridge and some tables inside a building. I’m also kind of struggling on this really tiny keyboard because it smaller than what I’m used to and continue to type wrong things and have to backspace. We made 2 stops on our first bus so I got the idea to turn on my personal locator beacon (SPOT) to show where I am on the website. It seems I was never outside long enough for it to connect to a satellite and send my position. Amazing that it connects to satellites but sad that as soon as I get back in the small bus that it stops trying to send my signal. It’s kind of a prissy device. It must have an open view of the sky. I’m also sorry that whenever you check to find where I’m at on my site, it shows like the entire country so it forces you to have to zoom in a ton. Not sure how to fix that just through my phone..

Igor timed us as we setup out tents. It had been quite a while since we had. 25 minutes. Ehh I’m sure i can cut that down. Anyway I think I should make these posts smaller. My back now hurts hunching over to look at my phone screen and I’m pretty tired. I’ll have to figure out a better posture next time.

There wont be too many times where I blog twice in a day. Ill have to get moving most mornings and wont have time. Just getting into the groove of things.

Before my timed shower Igor and I went inside to eat before the diner closed. We were talking about how surreal it was to be sitting there eating dinner, while a guy with a guitar sang on a small stage, at almost the most southern tip of New Zealand. He said, “You know…New Zealand was a pretty big rock in my bucket”. Lol meaning that it was a big thing that was on his bucket list. Happy to have him along for a bit. Funny guy.

I’m out!

Day 1 – Planes and Buses

Day 1. Planes and Busses

First of all, thanks for following along! This trip is going to be dangerous, scary, crazy, unpredictable, faith filled, happy, and exciting. Igor is a prettier big planner.. and I. Am not. I find a general broad path and a few places to go, connect the dots and figure out how to get there. I guess it’s kind of normal to hitchhike in NZ?

So it’s up in the air how I get around besides hiking. To cover the most of NZ, I will sometimes need a faster mode of transportation. I also am not sure how my brain is going to react to being alone for so long. I guess you will find out with me. Lol. I’m sure I’ll run across many people because this isn’t the middle of the desert and this is prieme hiking season in NZ. I think every person needs time alone in the wilderness to figure who they are and what they want to do in life.

This Hike is for people with Cancer who are scared when they hear their diagnosis. “You have Cancer” is a tough pill to swallow for anyone. It’s for the people who are on chemotherapy and shouldn’t leave the house because getting a virus will put you in the hospital. It’s for the people who are embarrassed to have lost their hair during chemo and radiation. It’s for family and loved ones that have lost a person to Cancer. It’s for the people in remission and for the people that have always wanted to go to New Zealand but never had the chance. It’s for those people whose medical bills are so high that they can’t even afford a vacation. This cannot and will not be an easy vacation for me. I can’t inspire people laying on a beach drinking corona. I need to be in the valleys and in the trenches with the people still fighting Cancer.

I heard last week that a woman was misdiagnosed with Cancer when she actually didn’t have it. I’m not sure what kind of Cancer or how long it was before they told her that she didn’t have it. But in that time her health deteriorated and she became more and more depressed. When they finally told her, her body made other harmful illnesses that took her life. Doctors have the ability to find many different types of cancers way ahead of time now. They are deciding if they should tell people they have them or not based on cases like the woman I mentioned above. Many kinds of Cancers the body will eliminate or suppress until after the lifespan of a person. Quite the ethical dilemma they face.

I’m also going on this hike to try and fix my father wound and to hear from God. My father wasn’t great at being a decent Dad when I was young. (Sorry dad!) I didn’t get the confidence I needed from him, so it always seems I’m trying to prove that I have what it takes. I developed trust and commitment issues. I never knew what a successful marriage looked like. I was good at manipulating people to get what I wanted. I hurt people. The good news: It has made me the man I am today. I had to grow up independent. I had to learn many things on my own. I realized at very young age that life is about experiences! I wanted to have them all. I have done and been so many places, I have something to talk about with any person I come across. I love that.

I think every person should do this kind of pilgrimage for your soul, especially the masculine heart.

I’ve been planning this trip or thinking about it for about a year. Plan big goals, or dreams, and continue to take steps to get there. If you don’t quit you can never fail! Take risks! Nothing good ever comes from being comfortable. People always say, “someday”. I make sure all my ‘somedays’ happen. Try different foods, different ways to get places, explore, try new things. Every. Day. You can learn something from EVERY person you meet!

Details about the day:

I flew out of Toronto today at 10am with Igor and we have an 8 hour layover in LA. Gross. Then we have a 14 hour flight to Auckland and arrive at 6am. Then we fly from Auckland to Queenstown at 1:15pm. Arrive at 3:10pm where we catch two buses to get to our campground. Hehh 26 hours total of traveling..

But! I will be blogging from the future! Toronto and Indiana I will be 18 hours ahead. Cali peeps, 15 hours ahead.

I got a little more involved that I planned on for a first blog post, but I’m on the plane heading to LA.

Testing out my blog..

There’s HOPE after Cancer!