Free shipping on all orders! (U.S. only)

December 6 2023, Havelock to Captains Creek Hut:
We had breakfast early in the morning along with some high quality freshly ground coffee made by Teddy.
As I was packing up, Topaz came up to me and said, “Some advice for relationships. Don’t focus so much on the negative and what could go wrong. Focus on the positive and what you appreciate about the person. Focus on what you love.”
I put my hands in prayer and thanked her for the reminder. She appreciated how receptive I was to receiving advice, just as much as I was immensely grateful for her generosity in sharing. I wouldn’t ask questions or bring up topics of interest if I didn’t want to receive some sort of input. Plus, most of the time, people that were older than me had already been through that shit and were really just trying to make it easier for me.
Then she said, “Hey, I want to give you something before you leave.”
She had me open up my palm for her and placed a pinecone seed in it, gifting it as a good luck token for me to carry on trail.
We all took photos together before we left. We took some by their car then with a view of their farm in the background.
“I feel like we’re getting our wedding photos taken,” Topaz joked.
We basked in gratitude, thanked them for sharing their space with us, then gave Topaz a hug goodbye. It felt good on the heart to get a little state of home before we went back into the rugged mountains.
Teddy began to drive us back to the trail and I felt excited to be on foot again. I felt I was ready to conquer what obstacles would be given to me for the day.
During the drive, I was listening to the conversation that Orange and Teddy were having. “As men, it’s programmed in our DNA to provide and protect,” Teddy said, “whereas women are prone to be more empathetic and nurturing.”
I found the belief system to be so interesting, that when my mind began to shift and resonate towards a new topic of belief, I would naturally find that being reflected through the people in my field of perception.
“We’re incredibly complex creatures,” Teddy stated. “We are dreamers. When you’re sitting around a crackling bonfire and you look up at the stars, you find you will dream. We humans dream just the same, regardless of the different cultures we come from.”
I felt that to be true, at least for myself. Something about staring at an open night sky and watching the stars twinkle and dance seemed to bring about a deep sense of comfort and knowing that I could accomplish anything. It would inspire me to follow my dreams in this apparent life, reminding me that anything I set out to apparently do was entirely possible if I only had the faith.
Upon dropping us back off on trail, first thing I did was run out of the car and yell, “I gotta go pee!”
“The toilet’s right there!” Teddy said as he pointed to a building.
I ran the opposite direction into the woods.
“She’s a wild woman,” Orange Man said.
When I came back, they were looking at the trail map together, going over our main route. We hugged Teddy goodbye, then walked across the street to sit at a bench and eat breakfast. Orange grounded in the grass while I did a happy dance for being one step closer towards the Richmond Ranges. As we were finishing up, we met another thru-hiker named Ben who was born in New Zealand but had been living in United Kingdom most of his life. He continued on; we figured we would run into him eventually.
We walked across the Pelorous Bridge, feeling the way it shook from the heavy trucks driving over it. Love lockets were hanging off the grates overlooking the river, initialed with first and last names and marked with hearts all around. I wondered who the people with the initials were and if they were still lovers.
We road walked through farmland neighborhoods, observing houses that had animal skulls neatly decorated on their fences. Moss and lichen artistically coated the bones. A sign was posted for travelers passing through, offering water and stating that fruit trees had been planted for us and that we were able to forage at our leisure.
Over time, the trail slowly crossed more prairie like areas. A goose with its goslings walked up to us welcoming us hello, possibly receiving hope that they would get a little nibble from some of our food. Cows were neatly scattered throughout the meadow with long grasses hanging at the seams of their mouths, pausing their chew so they could get a better look at us.
We took a break to eat cheese and salami sandwiches. Upon sitting down we saw a New Zealand rabbit watching us eat. Upon making eye contact, it fled down the road. Shortly after, we heard a loud vehicle approaching. I saw what looked to be a 12 year old girl driving a giant tractor with a trailer behind it, seeming very comfortable on the terrain of the dirt gravel road and operating a vehicle that I pictured a 60 year old rustic farmer man would be doing.
It was hot as balls outside, but I thrived in the heat and sun regardless. The roads we walked reminded me greatly of my trek through Colorado on the CDT. I really enjoyed how every trail had something new to offer me and looked forward to embracing each one’s culture as best I could. This trail appeared to have a lot of huts along the way so I felt excited to give that a go. Maybe it would be similar to the AT shelters.
The views opened up to reveal a sky blue river tucked between two mountains. We made it down to the valley, got off the road and connected back to the single track trail—a sign stating we were about to be heading into the Richmond Ranges.
Orange goes, “We’re about to approach a swinging bridge soon.”
I was used to walking those, but upon coming to the bridge I realized I never walked a bridge such like that one.
“Fuck that,” I said.
The bridge was made out of what appeared to be thin wires, while simultaneously using what looked like a metal fence as our stepping ground.
“This is not a bridge,” I said, “it is a death device.”
We came across the Japanese ladies in front of us and waited as they finished crossing.
“My mother is gonna kill me,” I said as I took my first step.
My legs grew wobbly as I tried not to pay attention to the raging river beneath me. When we made it across safely, I asked the girls where they would be spending the night. They planned on going to the same hut as us, so I was excited to have their company!
We stopped at the Emerald Pool for a siesta. Orange went swimming while I sat at the shoreline and read my Bible pamphlet. I enjoyed an excerpt I read that spoke of Heaven or sins. Translating from Lithuanian, it said, “When you reach your death bed, you won’t regret the sins you [apparently] made on this Earth, instead you will regret the moments you were unable to choose Love. Ask Me for help and I will give you it. Be still. You haven’t been abandoned.”
The Japanese girls showed up to the pool. They were in awe of my pinecone necklace. I taught them how to say the word in English while they taught me the Japanese word for it—‘matsubokkuri.’ We were all stoked!
We continued walking. The path was immersed with jagged rocks coming out of the dirt. On the way to the hut, I ate shit at least 4-5 times. The last time was about .2 miles from the shelter. I had tripped and fell flat on my face as my backpack suffocated me with its weight. I laid there with my mouth touching the dirt and my glasses crooked on my face, busting out laughing.
When we got to camp, we saw someone had already set up their tent. We waved to the man sitting inside of it. Orange got a fire put together. We grilled salami and cheese croissants over the heat of the smoke, the vibes felt high and wholesome.
Shortly after, the man who was in his tent popped out to greet us. His name was Angus. He didn’t feel like socializing much due to feeling pretty exhausted, hence why he was set up so early. I told him I was often the same way when it came to backpacking, so I fully understood.
He saw my CDT hat and eventually found out I had completed my triple crown. He was so stoked for me. It was his inspiration to complete it himself.
“People like you inspire me,” he said.
“What was your inspiration for the TA?” Orange asked.
“I figured I might as well do it,” he said, “I’m single now and I’m only getting older and more decrepit.” He stumbled to the river to filter some water. “Welp, see ya tomorrow. I’ll be the one collapsed on the side of the trail.”
Before I went to bed, I put arnica on the soles of my feet, a tip recommended by Teddy to help pull the toxins out which would in turn release the pain.
Before I went to bed I thought of Voodoo again. I finally understood what people meant when they said I was lost in my own world. For some reason I had remembered him telling me that. I used to take that as a compliment but now I saw that it wasn’t necessarily a good thing to be wrapped up in how I wanted things to be all the time, basically my way or the highway.
I wondered how many men tried to truly love me while I acted out my manipulative tendencies. I wondered how many of them really thought they could love me hard enough to snap me out of my apparent narcissism. The truth was that I was unreachable. I still am, the only difference now being that I recognized that. I couldn’t be met there no matter how much I longed to be.
It was the same thing with Voodoo. I couldn’t reach him because he didn’t want to be reached. It didn’t work any other way. Thinking that I could love him into changing himself through things I said and did on the surface was only delusional thinking. It wasn’t some sort of superpower I had to morph him into the man I wanted him to be through giving him constant sexual play. At the surface of it, there was a sense of control (on my end). The control was nearly unseen, but there was a sense I could really manipulate him into loving me. Relaxing a bit deeper as I breathe out the misperception.