Day 313...Fortunately and Unfortunately

Fortunately, I know a few families and other people around this area as, unfortunately, it’s another day off the water. Late last night, Jason had driven down to say “Hi!” for the next few days and fortunately, he was on the dinner run. Pasha Kebabs, an iconic food place that always satisfies my hunger. We were all starving by the time he arrived but they were worth waiting for and certainly not a disappointment.

An okay morning had greeted us with numerous clouds chasing each other across the sky. We had some plans and, although we spent some time chatting to our neighbour with the pet lamb, it was time to get moving before the day raced away from us. At one stage, early in the morning, I had thought I could have jumped into the local swimming pool and done some therapeutic lane-swimming before breakfast but unfortunately, I wasn’t well organised enough.

As this is Jason’s local haunt we left Cuzzie to rest for the day and jumped into his hire car to be driven about, with me hoping soon to be back beside the waves. But, as we were land-locked again, unfortunately I just had to accept "what will be, will be". Quickly we grabbed some food supplies, then headed for cups of tea and a chat with friends, picking their brains on various hiking locations. This was not only in an effort to keep me from going nuts but also to show Martin some new places every day while he spends time with Redz NZ Journey.

We decide to encourage Kelly to join us and off we race to pack our backpacks and get on the Sledge Track. It starts off as an easy walk beside a fast-flowing creek with swimming holes and great little picnic spots. But, gradually, it gets steeper as we reach the top elevation point, with a few loop tracks through toetoe and past old platinum mines. We see tuis and wood pigeons above and hear a couple of bird calls that I can’t quite place. About two and a half hours into our hike, fortunately it seems that this trek has a lot more to offer than yesterday’s and, as we shelter from the gale that is blowing up at the top, while eating our lunch we have great sweeping views even on this rather cloudy day.

Now was the fun part, down and round to the mines. It’s really good to be away from the city and wonderful to discover these great tracks. For me, cities are places that unfortunately numb my mind, where my thoughts get jumbled and I lose my sense of direction, finding that I just wander round in circles, feeling as if I have achieved nothing. As we all get to the base of the track, back to the huge rocks and swimming holes, it’s time for the push-up challenge, so we each do our allotted twenty-two. Again, Martin nails them perfectly, whereas for me, well they were done, but they still aren’t very pretty! As we clamber off the rocks, Martin stops and starts removing his shoes. I was thinking it was to remove a stone but, no, he wanted go for a swim to cool off! Really? Well, I’m never one to refuse to get wet, so I join him. As I jump off the rock into the water, Jase is saying “Wait for me!” but Kelly is not keen on joining us. It’s cold but refreshing to have washed off the sweat and mud from the hike and fun to be standing drying off and thinking how warm it feels out of the water. Our T-shirts become our towels and Kelly is on camera duty. What a great way to end this hike!

Back into town, a hot cup of kawa kawa tea (thanks to Jason who had picked fresh leaves while hiking). Then we were saying our “goodbyes” before getting back on the road. Now in a convoy with Cuzzie and Jase’s ute; off to visit more friends. The day ended with a delicious dinner, lots of laughter, stories and chatting. Before too long, we realised that it was really late and we still had to get settled in our campsite for the night so, reluctantly, we headed off into the night, tired and happy with a day that had been jam-packed with adventures, friends, new sights and sounds and lots of new stories.

I have to say that, at the moment, I’m having to push really hard to keep finding new discoveries. For me, this has always been a part of New Zealand in which I’ve had difficulty in willingly stopping for any length of time. But, now that I’ve been forced to stop and spend some time here, Mother Nature has decided I need to discover the beauty of this area. Each day, I now find something different to do or see instead of just sitting saying I’m bored, and that I don't like things. Now I make a point of finding something I do like, and fortunately, I now also have an off-water challenge. As I sit and listen to the ocean in the distance, with the others sleeping soundly around me it seems that, deep down, somehow I knew I would be halted for a while on this section of the New Zealand coastline.

My smiles today:
Hiking in the hills around Palmerston North.
Jumping into the cold water to go swimming.
Day 2 of pathetic push-ups on my part.
Reconnecting with great people.
Martin, Jase and Kelly on the hike today.
The reassuring sound of other people sleeping.

My thoughts today:
I like those random memories that make me smile, no matter what is going on in my life.

A very late goodnight to all from a happy but very tired Red and the entire team.

Ma Te Wa.

Hiking the Sledge Track.

Hiking the Sledge Track.