Two seagulls seem to be scolding me . . . it sounds like they are saying “Where is my lunch?” “Don’t you have food to give me NOW?”
I am sitting at a small table outside a studio unit on a Pacific beach in Hahei, New Zealand, an end of the road driving destination, yet ironically, far more connected than I have been for the last week to people and activities back home in the states. I am using the next few days to recover from my holiday of last week–a guided walk along the Milford Track–one of the 20 best walks in the world in the Fjordland of New Zealand. The Track is officially 33.5 miles long, spread out over three days of walking through beech tree forests, up and over Mackinnon Pass, and undulating temperate rain forests.
For a novice walker like me, it offered adventure and challenge–narrow, slick zigzags up the mountain; rocky, steep declines & flooded rock beds to cross going down; cold temperatures (hey, I’m from FL–45 degrees is cold!) and 35 MPH wind gusts as I approached and crossed Mackinnon Pass. Did I say that I carried a 15 pound backpack and liter of water/camera (3 lbs+) with me everywhere? Although I walked mainly by myself (my husband did not go and I was on a different pace from the 23 hikers in our group), at critical times, suddenly, quietly, one of the three guides would appear–Logan, Fe, or Akiko. They would raise my flagging spirit with frequent “Well done” encouragements, entertaining conversation, offers of hot chocolate, hot tea and respite from the elements in “huts” along the route, and showed me how Read more