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December 2 2023, Madsens Camp to DOC Black Rock Campsite:
I woke up to the music of tuis. The boys were at the picnic table while I was getting ready. Soon, I walked over to them, Too Clean moved aside and I sat right in between both of them.
“Mm, this is nice,” I said.
“Fuck you,” Too Clean said, “you took my warm spot.”
“Ha ha ha, I know! I love it,” I said.
I sat with them for a bit then went back to my tent to start packing up. I began putting my socks on when suddenly I heard Orange yell, “I GAWT IT!”
“You got what?” I asked.
“A weka!” he exclaimed.
“Otherwise known as a demon chicken,” Too Clean said under his breath as he began removing his tent stakes.
I ran out of my tent and said, “No fucking way.”
It was true. He had the bird’s legs in a lock as he was holding its body tight against his chest.
“How did you catch it?” I said while laughing.
“I fed it some cheese,” he said.
He released it and it came running back to us 20 seconds later.
“They’re kind of stupid,” I said, “must have short term memory loss.”
Then, I went back to my tent to hide since now I was getting bit by sandflies.
“When should I take my pants off?” I asked Orange, “wait—that sounded weird.”
We all busted out laughing.
“That’s a question every man would love to hear,” Too Clean said.
“I was getting bit by sandflies so I didn’t want to take them off too soon!” I explained.
We started hiking and ended up taking a quick break at a picnic table as we ate some BBQ chips. We got on the topic of our parents and I asked him if he was close to his dad.
“Kinda sorta,” he said.
“Was he mean to you?” I asked.
“He gets unintentionally angry sometimes,” he said.
“I understand,” I sympathized.
His father used to give him a hard time such as calling him names when he put on weight. He said now the roles were reversed, him being the one in shape and his dad being the one that put on the same amount of weight he once had.
“Are you gentle with him?” I asked.
“Yeah, but I still bring it up just to check up on him,” he said.
I could tell his intention was pure and that he wanted to approach his dad from a nutrition standpoint by making sure he was healthy or at least moving towards a direction that was more sustainable.
I told Orange of how I struggled with binge eating for a good year and a half at one point and he said he couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t either, but I remember at the time it seemed I was going to be stuck in that state of mind forever.
“All I wanted at the time was gentleness and love, for people not to point out my weight and simply support me where I was at because I was already feeling really heavy in my mind,” I said, “it was hard because there was one point I caught my family talking behind my back, saying how much weight I put on. Actually, they verbatim said, ‘Goda got fat.’” In the European culture especially, being skinny was a must. I thought back to how I just wanted to exist without being scrutinized by my looks. “Humans are very fragile, although they might not look like it. Your father needs gentleness and compassion, and for him to know he’s supported, not for people to point out his weight, because he knows.”
“He knows, it’s true,” Orange agreed.
Orange was the black sheep of his family as well, feeling he was the polar opposite of them. He spoke of how he even built a permaculture farm in their backyard to grow organic foods and how he could tell his family wasn’t necessarily impressed by it nor proud to show it off. It was as if they were almost embarrassed by it.
We continued walking, observing and appreciating the new ferns that were spiraling out into large flora. Too Clean joined us for a short while before we separated again. We walked past numerous large and small streams, collecting water and drinking it without any filtration process, letting the moss do the work and our immune systems the rest. We had an upcoming dry stretch, but nothing we weren’t used to. Still, we made sure to stay hydrated.
During the climb, we saw a fuzzy baby goat with brown, black and white spots. Then, we walked up a steep gravel road before it connected back to the trail. We took a look at the map near the top of the mountain to gather an estimated idea of where we would camp at for the night. We took a break at another picnic table that overlooked the ocean and had another deep talk, this time the topic being families and homesteading.
“I’m really starting to see the importance of families,” I said, “I see how beautiful it is to live on the same property as your family while living in separate houses, then buying property for your future kids and keeping the generations going as everyone helps each other out. I’m starting to feel that was the way we were designed to live.”
I pondered on that vision and told Orange how it often felt I was living in two separate worlds. It was as though I was watching a movie of the character ‘Goda’ play out nonsense while my higher self desired for me to have something deeper. It was as though I had a vision of how I wanted my future to look, similar to that of Little House on the Prairie, yet I was watching as I finished playing out the patterns first—sex, the unhealthy mind games, the idolization of my body, while simultaneously trusting that there was something great beyond all that meaninglessness. It was as if I was allowing myself to walk through the storm with the knowing I would come out bearing gifts. I was not out of place in any way, despite the way the perception made it look as if it often carried chaos and heaviness. Beneath it was Heaven. Through it was clarity.
“Do you want to have kids?” I asked.
“100% most definitely, without a doubt,” he said.
“Wow you answered that without even hestitating!” I said in happy surprise.
“Yeah, because I know and feel that’s the most important mission for us as a race,” he said, “I want nothing more in life than to raise a family. And honestly, I have my grandma to thank for that because she taught me these things at a very young age. At the time, I didn’t understand it, but now I do. She gave me a sense of direction and showed me that dynamic.”
I agreed with his perspective and loved how confident he was about it. I felt caught off guard of how sure he was of that kind of lifestyle at such a young age, whereas most young guys would run from the very topic of commitment and building a family.
“What about you?” he asked, “do you want kids?”
“Nope. Not at all,” I said stubbornly. “I really wish I did sometimes.” I relaxed into the idea of it. “I don’t know, man. I think I have this irrational fear of bearing children and I feel like something must have happened when I was younger to make me think that way because I never used to be afraid before. I vividly remember that was my only wish as a little girl was to be a mother and then somewhere along the way that changed.”
“Do you think it has something to do with trust issues?” he asked.
“Oh 100%,” I said, “I fear that I will start a family with someone and then 20 years down the line I’ll find out there’s some infidelity.” I pondered on my past relationships. “It’s scary to me. It feels like my worst fears have often come true in relationships. The very things I feared of my boyfriends doing would often come true. It was almost as if I would self sabotage the relationship because I was looking for shit to go wrong. I was constantly in detective mode. Sooner or later, the things I was searching for would come true,” I said.
“That’s unfortunate,” he said.
All of the relationships/marriages that ended because of me have formed this sad belief within me. Through my life experience, I saw how easily men would cheat on a woman they once claimed was their one and only. They would be the ones that said they would never even think about cheating, but there was always an exception—me.
We trekked on and got on the topic of our goals and dreams. He wanted to get into cinematography and make videos of life on trail along with videos about nutrition.
“My goal is to give people goosebumps through my work,” he said.
“Mm,” I moaned, “that’s a good goal to have.”
We received views of the glacial colored ocean, Arizona kine mud and gentle elevation gain on a neatly graded trail.
“This is the life,” he said.
“It truly is,” I replied.
“How do you feel about going off trail for side quests? To go see a lookout point or something,” Orange asked.
“Yeah, I’m down,” I said, assuming it would be something around .3 miles max off trail.
We got to a junction shortly after. The sign read: Lookout Point, 1.5KM, 30 minute return.
“This is the one!” Orange said.
“Orange, no,” I said, “that’s so far off trail!”
He laughed and said, “It’ll be quick, it’s going to be really steep but it’s well worth it.”
I could tell he wasn’t taking no for an answer, so I let out a grunt. He hid my backpack behind a large tree and we started climbing.
“I’m so mad at you right now,” I said as I huffed and puffed up the hill.
“Good,” he said, still laughing.
The climb really wasn’t that bad and the view was indeed very much worth it. There was a sign that pointed to the general directions of different countries. While there, we saw a tui again. We wondered what message it was trying to deliver us. (Funny, I was in the tent writing about this moment when a tui suddenly sang right above us.) Their song really did sound otherworldly. Their wings had a shiny teal/turquoise, almost holographic shine to it. We watched as it fluttered its wings, breathlessly moving throughout different tree branches, circumventing us with its glorious presence.
Then, we had one more small break at Gatenby Gulch before we continued on. We were on a roll with deep conversations. This time our topics consisted of conspiracy theories, specifically chem trails, news stations, flat earth and how important it was to actually question things rather than taking everything we were being taught as true.
“Dementia has been becoming so common and we have to do stuff to actively stay healthy. Our generation especially is the most prone to getting the worst of it because we have been exposed to these chemicals for a more prolonged period of time. It’s in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat,” Orange said.
“Especially vaccines that we were told we needed and given since we were children,” I added.
He nodded in agreement.
“Yeah, I usually take everything the mainstream media says and do the opposite of it,” I said, “seems to work great!”
We talked about micro biomes and how we had to actively heal our bodies because the government was poisoning us.
“Walking in the woods is great for combatting all this shit,” he said.
Orange was carrying all sorts of power foods/medicines such as kratom, manuka honey, CBD oil and shilajit. I loved that he was so aware of everything.
“Yeah, I can’t be fucked with,” he said.
On our walk down, we ran into a cheeky weka along our trek. It had us stop in the middle of the path to get a closer look at us and peck at our feet before we were allowed to pass.
We made it to camp and upon getting settled in, we met a guy at camp from Wellington who guessed me to be from the east coast of America and I seemed to get offended. Then, we met a couple of ladies from Japan named Lenses and Ikra who were also hiking the South Island of the TA. They were well known photographers in their country and were taking pictures of backpackers and their everyday experience. Their photos were going to be showcased in an exhibition in Japan. Maybe we would be famous in Japan?
I had dinner with everyone, then went back to my tent to get ready to go to bed. There was a storm making its way in, rain starting to hit. Just as I nuzzled into my sleeping bag and shut my eyes, a big wind gust came through and broke my metal poles in half, stabbed through the mesh of my tent which went through my rainfly and shredded that! My tent collapsed on top of me while my jaw dropped in disbelief.
“No fucking way!” I yelled, “Orange, help!”
It was a repeat of Wyoming, except worse. I yelled for Orange again but he wasn’t there. I ran back to the group to ask where he was but they said he was back at his tent. I ran back up the hill to see him trying to get my flimsy piece of a home back in one piece.
“I went to pee and next thing I see is you running away!” he yelled over the wind.
We were both laughing as he helped take apart my tent and fold it up. I started laughing hysterically, unable to fathom how this seemed to happen AGAIN.
I grabbed my switchback and my sleeping bag as I ran into his tent and yelled, “I’m sleeping with you tonight!”
He shook his head in amusement. Upon going to bed, he pulled out his CBD oil tincture and dropped a few drops in my mouth, telling me to hold it underneath my tongue for a minute or so.