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

December 21-22 2023, Lewis Pass Road to Hope Kiwi Lodge:
We all took a zero yesterday. I had a day to myself so I went to the library. Later on, I ran into Julia, a French girl I had met in the last section. I suddenly felt myself crushing over her. Her body language seemed to communicate something suggestive ever since I met her so I was left wondering. I felt there was something in her eyes and the way she spoke to me told me she was into me, but then again I sucked at picking up on flirtatious signs women put out.
Later in the night, we all watched a movie, then I went out on the balcony to get some fresh air. Julia followed.
“Looks like a nice time to go on a walk,” I said.
“You wanna go on a walk together?” she asked me in her cute French accent.
“Yeah, I do,” I said with a smile.
We walked around and discovered a small patch of someone’s farmland. We put our forearms on the wooden handrails of the fence and looked at the sheep lounging around in the grass. I absolutely loved being surrounded by vast mountain ridges in places I had never been with people I didn’t quite know.
I actually didn’t feel that nervous around her, I just felt really good. Normally if I found I was attracted to a specific woman, I would find myself getting very nervous. It wasn’t like that with her. I didn’t know why I wanted to kiss her but I did. Maybe I was just lonely. Maybe I just wanted attention. Maybe I was looking into things too much. Still, I couldn’t help but think about it.
“I love how comfortable you are just being yourself,” she said. “How did you get to that state?”
“It would hurt more to be something I’m not,” I said.
We moseyed to a bench in the center of town underneath a cozy, golden warm lit light. The town was quiet during the night. Orange had disappeared after I expressed my excitement for having a crush on Julia, yet I felt his presence nearby and in our vicinity.
She opened up, admitting to having a boyfriend back home, yet expressed how she had contradicting feelings about the relationship she was currently in. She was looking for something deeper and wasn’t feeling it with him due to various reasons. Simply, she didn’t feel he was the one for her.
I desperately wanted to make a move on her having that information, but then she made a comment saying that it was getting late.
“Do you wanna walk back to the room?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she said shyly.
I didn’t want to make things weird. I had been in that situation numerous times as a woman, where I expressed a feeling/boundary very softly and then someone pushed it back against me, causing me to apparently feel disrespected. Still, I couldn’t deny that I felt an energy of disappointment. I saw the way I took it personally which showed me I was making her into something and that I was looking for a certain outcome. Upon in not meeting my expectations, I found myself upset.
The next morning before we left town, I went out to have breakfast. The intention was to have a date with myself, but then I saw Lenses walking right in front of me so she joined me. We had some of the shittiest, yet most expensive french toast on trail. As we ate, I asked her when the last time she dated someone was.
“Mm, seven year ago,” she said.
I asked her if she likes to go out on dates.
“Not really,” she said.
She enjoyed being alone a lot. She said her family used to ask her all the time when she was going to get married and have kids, but then they stopped asking when she entered her 30s. They dropped the topic when they realized that she was happy being alone, a concept they had difficulty grasping.
The tramily started hitchhiking back to the trail, but Ben was going to Blenheim so we were going to part ways with him. We got two rides at the same time but they weren’t able to fit an extra person so Ben decided to kick back and hitch alone.
They dropped the four of us off at the first junction. There, we collected large pinecones alongside the road and got a ride shortly after. The guy somehow managed to shove us all into his small car and we piled up on each other. I read my book to avoid having a conversation—the plus side of hitchhiking with other people.
We started hiking, all of us feeling spent although the elevation was fairly easy. We walked through a meadow/prairie for a while. There was a section of trail that was mud mixed with goopy cow shit, goose poop and algae, all intermingling and making an atrocious smell. The color of it almost appeared oily. We tried to avoid it as best we could but eventually we were stepping in it shin deep.
We were all getting pretty exhausted, as we normally were coming out of a town where we did nothing but eat and sleep.
By the time we got to the hut I said, “I need to get horizontal for a second.”
We all ended up passing out, other than Lenses who was doing stretches in the kitchen. I basically forced myself to get up as it was only 6pm and I knew I would be knocked out until morning without having ate some of Orange’s famous grilled cheese sandwiches.
We groggily walked to the kitchen, said good morning to Lenses and started prepping the food. Orange came prepared with extra cheese, chorizo salami, onions, garlic and even my favorite red pepper flakes. We always felt bad cooking such delicious fine cuisine meals in front of other hikers. They would just stare at us with drool forming in their mouth saying, “Wow.” It made us pretty uncomfortable but I would do the same thing in the situation hoping to get a little bite.
After we ate, I laid down on the mat and got heavily into my new book. Lenses tried being sneaky as she approached me from the side to take a picture, but it was so staged and I could feel her presence and the loudness of her camera opening up that it just made me bust out laughing.
“I’m sowwy,” she said, “but I can’t stop taking pictures. I won stop.”
We hung our food bags before going to bed and the rope ended up snapping from the weight, causing everything to fall onto the floor.
We fixed it, then I attempted to hop onto the top bunk of my bed and nearly fell off trying. It felt it took so much energy. Lenses and Ikra were convinced there was a ghost in the hut after they found bare footprints in the next room. I explained that they were mine, but it didn’t seem to budge their perception. From then on out, they would call the place “Ghost Hut.”