Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hamilton to Puhautea Hut: Majestic scenes, injuries, friends, and impromptu mountain top yoga

  I headed out of Hamilton early with Celine, one of the French women I had met on the first night on the trail ate Twilight Beach.  She was also inching her way back onto the trail after suffering from tendon issues which had forced her off the trail for 3 weeks, and I was glad to be in good empathetic company.

Did I mention Hamilton is where the Rocky Horror Picture Show was written and first performed?

I would have LOVED to have been the artist hired to cast this sculpture.

Let's do the Time Warp!!

  Everyone is so fit at this point. Their clothes are looser than when we first began and I am definitely feeling less than adequate having sat in hostels and tents for the last ten days, supposing to stay off my feet and eating food sometimes out of sheer boredom. Have I mentioned before how awful I am at holding still?  Where I was planning on feeling thin, stringy and wiry, I was actually feeling more disgustingly squishy and fat.  90+% of all of this trip is a mental game, please keep that in mind. Where you are at mentally, directly effects where you are at physically. On the bright side of things and with an optimistic flip of the brain-switch, being back on the trail will turn this all around quickly.
Crossing boundaries

  The first day out of Hamilton was all road walking and although it's not my favorite I was happy to have had an easy graded re-introduction.  My feet were sore, but doing well and my heart was singing appreciations when we finally found the place to camp for the night in beautiful green rolling hills. Sheep bleating greetings amid random limestone rock formations served as the welcoming committee for encampment.

I was so enthusiastic at my reunion with tramping that I created two projects under the setting sun that evening. Afterwards we all dined together and shared many many laughs. I had been missing the company if my trail family, and it was a wonderful realization to find that they had become exactly that. Family.
  As we laid down to sleep the wind gusts paid visit and we all discussed the next morning how we sat awake in our tents waiting to be blown away. But the angry air must not have lasted too long because we all gave up thinking about it shortly and fell into slumber. I was exhausted, and I would not be surprised if I literally fell asleep with a smile on my face.
  Celine and I got a head start again in the morning but it didn't take long for the group to catch us, and eventually later in the day, to pass us by. It never really does though.  Everyone says it's not a race, and they would be right in saying so, but it would be a lie to say that each person in the clan isn't more than acutely aware of their place in the parade.
Another treasure. I tried to take the skull but it wouldn't let go.
We stopped at a campsite with a beautiful full stream, ate lunch, filled up on water, and began the 7km stretch up the mountain.  My my this was some beautiful forest! The first 4 km were a polite steady grade. The sun was playing hide and seek behind the clouds, so it was warm and humid, even more humid with the moisture trapped among the trees than in wide open spaces. I was sweating profusely! Seriously and impressively so, as will be finely displayed for you in several photos I am sure.

I told you the vines are like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.

  My right hip was bothering me, which isn't out of the ordinary as over the years I have had some chronic issues with it. Luckily just before the steepest part of the hike to the peak of the tallest mountain I had hiked so far, my hip finally gave way and came partially out of socket, before thankfully changing its mind, making an about face, and re-entering the socket where it so often forgets it belongs.  The last 3 km were extremely slow. I did okay though.  Each summit has a trophy waiting for you at the top, disguised in a gorgeous view and shrouded in a bit of pride. Valleys mingling between dwarfed mountains below, hills, volcanoes and off to the east the ocean.
  Perfectly placed, and perfectly timed, Francine pointed out to me an etching on a boulder beneath the viewing platform where it was written "Amazing life Sara!"
  Too true. Thank you life reminder.

Sweat, mud, and a mid-smart-alecky comment face

Treetops and ridges from whence we came
30 feet from the helicopter pad positioned directly before the tent pads and hut i took a step onto a rock and slipped off the edge forcing all my weight onto my right leg and giving my hip one last solid jarring.  Before I had time to process what happened I let out an awful sound and my eyes flooded.  I put my head down in an attempt at hiding behind the bill of my baseball cap and tried to sneak into camp.  Unfortunately,and on most days in the most welcoming manner, when you are the last to arrive into camp everyone stops what they are doing to check your status.
  What did you think of the hike?
  How are you feeling?
  How are the injuries?
  And just an overall review of your mental status, because as I will mention a million times, its 90+% mental.
  There was no sneaking into camp for me. Everyone saw me cry...and that show of weakness was the worst part of it all.  Being injured is one thing, being seen as weak is not something I am accustomed to and it was absolutely embarrassingly infuriating.  But it is what it is. You get over it and move on.
  I had officially made it to the summit, and to my first hut. I am hopeful that if I can hike 3 km up steep terrain on a complete shit hip, then I can get through the rest of this trail :)
  The sun made a beautiful spectacle of the sky. A peace offering perhaps.

Back Row, left to right: Pieter (Belgium), Manu (France)
Front: Me, Ami (Kiwi), Laura (Australia), Celine (France), Francine (France)

Trail Family
  The following Pieter, Jason, Manu and Laura continued on while Celine, Francine, Ami and I took a day to rest and just, more than anything soak up the beauty.
  I realized during me time in Hamilton that my fall away from my yoga practice while on the trail was a detriment to the maintenance of my spiritual, mental and physical health.  Celine had mentioned never having done yoga, so. we took the mats from the bunks in the hut, carried them out to the helicopter pad where we had 360* views of the world below, and I gave my first yoga class.  It was the most zen I have felt since my arrival in New Zealand and served as an inspiration for the next sculpture.
aka the yoga platform
  The day of rest was spent eating, talking about food, and eating. Food and gear are two of the most common topics of conversation among trampers. I think we all also managed to sneak in a nap. It was pretty much the best day ever.

1 comment:

  1. Love reading your stories and following your journey, and great pictures. Thank you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!