Eleven days in the wilderness does wonders…
…for your sense of clarity and direction
…for your ability to tune into the true vibration of your being and practise living and interacting from that place
…for a poet’s flowery sensibilities
The dreaming in New Zealand’s south island is strong, particularly near the Dragons Teeth - a prominent rock formation in Kahurangi National Park. After hitting music festival Luminate for a week, I went straight into an 11-day solo hike. This didn’t seem like such a good idea on the first day when my lack of sleep and dancing endeavours seemed to be catching up. Not great when you’ve got to navigate.
A third of the walk was bush bashing, abjectly at times through undergrowth so thick that the leaves molested my face. Branches poked, scratched and bruised from all angles. And over the 11 days a pattern emerged: Lose “path” (actually non-existent at times, demarcated by rock stacks); scout aimlessly; get impatient; set compass point; bush bash; get totally lost; give up on finding a path, and then find the path.
The journey was a test of trust, of believing I was strong enough to hike through both internal and external terrain. Most of all, it was about being kind to myself whenever I lost the way.
I scrambled out of the dragon’s mouth. I followed animal trails. Head-high tussock plains engulfed me. I lost my legs down sporadic, soggy holes. I listened to the distant echo of bird calls ricocheting off nocturnal valley walls.
I weaved through the saddle of the Needle’s Eye and stumbled past the Drunken Sailors. I bathed in Lonely Lake and felt part of everything. I wild-camped on ridge tops beneath moon and stars. I watched morning mist hover over Boulder Lake. Branches drew blood. One whipped my mouth during an uncontrolled slide down a mossy waterfall. I ended up in places few people would have ever contemplated their existence while frantically chewing dried mangoes.
It was eight days before I saw people, two men aged 71 and 68. Their buoyancy and vigour was inspiring. I hope I’m that fit when I’m their age.
What kind of wilderness experiences have you had, and how have they inspired you? Drop a line in the comments below…
Every footstep taken
A line written in your personal Mythology
A rite of passage
Chronology dissolves during wilderness wanderings
Internal and external
The order of memories unimportant
When awakening in the realm of the dragon
When Dreamtime merges
With all you ever thought was real
Then you are truly awake