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December 9 2023, Slaty Hut to Mt Rintoul Hut:
We had a big day ahead of us—everyone planned to do long, strenuous miles to make it up and over the rock scrambles before the rain came in tomorrow. It was a chilly morning and the climb up Little Rintoul Summit was tough mainly due to the strong, cold and roaring winds. I had a hard time enjoying the views for the better part of the morning because of it, but once I made it to the summit, I realized how nothing could capture this. Not National Geographic through the highest definition television, nor writing a book that gave the most detailed description of rock faces and mountain crevices. The raw undergoing of the actual physical adventure itself was the ultimate experience. For the individual person to walk it with their own two feet, to burn through the pain, to conquer the thoughts that were telling them to turn around and go to a cozy and safe place, instead. The inner goal was to push those thoughts aside and make it up a climb that was very technical and challenging, all just for the moment of having the mountain air kiss their rosy cheeks and for the life giving breath one received reaching the summit.
The trek to the next rock scramble was pretty straight forward. There were still some areas where it felt we had to be extra cautious with our foot placement, particularly a section where we had to lean our weight into the side of the mountain as we hiked uphill and grabbed ahold of the boulders for balance. Otherwise, if we fell it would have been straight down into the valley.
Upon looking down from the top, it was humbling to see hikers below us walking across a mountain crest, looking like pea sized objects within a giant landscape. It gave my mind perspective that nature could take any of us out in one swing.
Orange and I sat between the two mountains to take a breather. The French Canadian couple joined us shortly after. I found it cute the way thru-hikers would plop down and take a siesta directly on the trail to make themselves a tuna wrap and air dry their feet, unbothered by the idea that other people would be passing through.
We ate gummy worms and got pumped. I felt excited as I looked up at the tiny line of a trail that we would be going up, knowing damn well it would be challenging yet rewarding. We took it slow and paced our steps, letting our breath patterns guide us. In the end, the climb to Big Rintoul Summit flew by and wasn’t as difficult as we envisioned it from the bottom. At the top, we received a 360° view of what felt like the whole world.
Orange and I had started a loose bucket list for shits and gigs before we started the TA. One of the things on my list was for me to smoke a joint. It had been years since I had smoked weed, but I felt very open to the idea of sharing a joint with Orange Man in NZ on top of the highest peak in the Richmond Ranges.
He lit it up for us and we got a kick out of the experience! I felt like a teenage girl experimenting with things of the world all over again. Although I only took a couple of hits, it seemed to hit me pretty intensely. My senses and surroundings became hyper-focused while the thoughts crossing my mind invited me to look upon things more deeply.
I could see how people would vibe with the medicine, yet it was confirmation that it just wasn’t for me. Overall, I still preferred an alcohol and drug free lifestyle. I grew to quickly love and enjoy the sober experience over anything else. My energetic high was received from the aura of the mountains and the passing of the rivers.
On the way down, we walked on a flat rocky surface through the clouds. It felt we were on the moon or some sort of crater. When we made it to the hut, we immediately took our shoes off and magnetized the soles of our feet into the earth. Orange laid down in the grass, most likely in some rabbit poop.
Overall, it was what I felt was a small mileage day. In a way it felt pretty demoralizing not hiking big miles in the Richmond’s, but I was learning to take it slow and enjoy the overall experience while I was here. It was okay that I arrived at camp at 3pm instead of 5pm—the world wasn’t going to end. If my body was telling me to relax, then so be it. No need to judge it. Orange also pointed out that even all the ultra-lighters we were leapfrogging ended at the same place as us at the end of the day.
Shortly after arriving, Orange and I crashed out. It seemed the marijuana had an effect on us. We both dozed off into a deep and heavy sleep and woke up a couple of hours later to make some food with the French Canadian couple at the picnic table. Eventually, Angus came strolling down the mountain all chipper.
We asked how he enjoyed his day hiking today and he said, “Oh, I loved it. I loved every minute.”
I loved how hikers were always so stoked with their day, no matter how difficult it appeared to be. They were still out there and moving. No matter how rough of a day, they still came out feeling refreshed with lessons they learned about themselves along their journey.
Angus’s eyes were full of life. His aura was drenched in passion and love as if he just experienced a deep shift in his mind, revealing he wasn’t the same person he was this morning. I noticed that the people I came into contact with during long stretches in the wilderness were full of vigor and had the underlying remembrance of the Truth. It seemed the longer we experienced the mountains without a break in civilization, the happier we all appeared to be.
I seemed to get really into my porn book so I went in the hut to read for a couple of hours. Eventually a hot Asian guy named Jax showed up. He was known on the trail for hiking in heavy duty crocs instead of actual hiking shoes.
We talked about the upcoming rain. He also hated hiking in the rain. I found it pretty cool how he just owned it because it was often how I felt yet I had a hard time being okay with it. I was like most cats when it came to being touched by water. I would shake it off in annoyance and fantasize about being dry again. He was the same way and was very adamant about staying in huts just to avoid walking through rain.
Good onya, I thought to myself, a man who knows what he’s willing and not willing to tolerate.
Before I went to bed, I gave gratitude for laughter. During my travels, I found myself laughing every day—deep, loud and to the open sky—and god, did it feel fucking good. Thank you, Spirit, for providing such a gift to the world where we could all share in such a delightful sense of pleasure and remind ourselves that this is our birthright.