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January 17 2024, Fern Burn Hut to Roses Hut:
Lenses and I started before sunrise to avoid the heat. We walked over the first pass to find a guy cowboy camped on the saddle, still sound asleep.
I felt like I was gonna pass out the majority of the early morning. As we were climbing mountains, I looked below to see a perfectly graded dirt road that probably led to a town. We saw a car drive by and at the same time Lenses and I stuck our thumb out as a joke to hitch a ride from the mountain top. I laid down on my back and cooled down for a good 30 minutes and felt like a new person again.
After that, I had quite a good amount of energy. We ran into a Dutch guy whom we had been leapfrogging for about a month now, so we all took another break where we hung out next to a stream for nearly an hour. He offered me some pistachios and I was so happy to try some.
“I never had one before,” I said.
“Seriously?” he asked in disbelief. “You serious?”
“Yes,” I said, “I don’t know, I’ve just never been that drawn to nuts.”
And then I was so hungry that I ate lettuce he offered. Lenses said it was the first time she saw me eating vegetables. Honestly, I thought it was cabbage at first which was more of my liking, but I had already accepted it so I wasn’t going to throw it in the bush while they were watching me.
When we made it down to the dirt road right before the hut, I had contemplated about walking it along the valley to get to town but it had a sign that read ‘PRIVATE’ so I decided to be a big girl and hike up the mountains like everybody else.
As we crossed a large water source, there were two kids sitting beside it washing their legs. They looked to be under the age of 14. The girl had massive blisters all over her feet, barely able to walk. She asked us if we thought it was possible to walk barefoot to the hut from where we were. It wasn’t far so we said yes.
“Uh, are you guys alone?” I asked.
“Oh God no,” she said, “our parents are back at the hut. There’s no way I would consciously take myself backpacking and do this to myself.”
“Okay,” I said, “just making sure.”
The two kids started walking back with us.
“So are you guys like the Te Araroa hikers?”the little girl asked.
“Yes,” Lenses responded.
“Have you noticed that the South Island is way better than the north?”
“Haven’t been,” I said.
“Don’t botha,” she said.
Upon arriving to the hut, I walked inside to find a handsome man laying down on the mat. He greeted me with a full smile and I returned one back. I did a double take on him as I took my backpack off. I wanted him. I smiled again, in a way that let him know I was coy but possibly dangerous. Suddenly, he sprung out of bed and joined in conversation with me.
“Hi, I’m Hans,” he said in a to-die-for German accent.
“Freyja,” I said as I scanned his body flirtatiously.
I sat on the porch to make food as there were way too many people inside and I didn’t feel like talking to all of them. Hans joined on the step below mine, then rested his elbow on the deck and looked up at me. Gorgeous. Mid forties, rough skin and a devious, taunting smile. He had an extremely flirtatious and confident demeanor, just like me, having no hesitation in showing sexual interest.
As I was eating my bland white rice, I accidentally knocked it over and spilled it all over the stairs. Everyone looked at the mess in absolute terror. I was laughing my ass off. Nothing new on my part. I cleaned it up then went to lay in the grass before the sun disappeared.
I stood up and stepped over his leg, gently brushing my heel up against his thigh while checking him out slowly. I was very delicate, subtly letting him know through physical touch that I wanted to feel more of him. He didn’t feel intimidated in my space whatsoever, not once jumping back or moving away from any of my advances. If anything, he moved closer, pushing in on my space.
Afterwards, I sat on my switchback that I had laid out on the porch. Hans invited himself to sit next to me, real close. Oof, I had a lot on my mind but didn’t feel comfortable saying blunt raunchy remarks to him in the presence of my friends or kids so I kept my flirting at bay.
Lenses and I decided to hike out at 3:30am tomorrow since she had to make it to town at a certain time to fix something that was wrong at her job in Japan. I had no issue waking up at that time, if anything I was excited! We thought it would be fun to cowboy camp on the porch because she had never done that before, but the experience didn’t last for long. I had went on a solitary walk before going to bed and came back to Lenses wearing gloves and a head net saying that the sandflies were absolutely unbearable. So, we abandoned the plan and moved into the hut.