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February 16 2024, Gertrude Saddle Track:
We left early to start our journey to Fiordland. I always seemed to make plans with people before my moon thinking I would be fine the day of, completely forgetting how painful it seemed to be every month. The cramps kicked in really hard and I felt as if I was going to cry so I did.
I opened up a box of carrot cake that was probably meant for a minimum of five people, then planted my face in it as I took a large bite. I was crying while eating, asking Orange “are we there yet” every minute or so. Then, I stuffed my face with croissants.
“I can’t believe you’re seeing me like this,” I said, “I feel pathetic.”
I was genuinely impressed by how he handled me in that state, meeting me with humor and calmness—just what I needed.
We cruised through beautiful winding roads that I found difficult to enjoy until we arrived to the trailhead for Gertrude Saddle Track. We took some kratom which helped do the trick for the few hours that we would be hiking.
It was so funny starting the trail because we got lost numerous times nearly right away. We joked around, saying how we looked like a bunch of day hikers. We stumbled upon a water crossing where about ten people were making it into a very unnecessarily difficult obstacle course. They mounted large rocks, getting on all fours, doing anything to avoid getting their feet wet. Then, Orange and I walked past them straight through the water which was about mid-thigh level. Not going to lie, we both felt really cool.
During the ascent, we saw waterfalls and lakes, then views of snow peaked mountains which we were heading towards. We climbed up the bare rock face using steel ropes that were provided there for the hikers. We made fun of ourselves for how stupid we looked because it wasn’t steep at all. It was completely unnecessary to use them, maybe it was meant for wet days when people needed an extra grip. Still, we tried capturing the ‘challenge’ through photos by using low angles and exaggerated facial expressions.
It was all a really fun experience because Orange and I were acting like silly kids. We were doing parkour, weird yoga positions for photos, fake food endorsements, acting like alpinists, etc. We summited the top of the mountain and saw a kea fly over us. Orange ate leftover rotisserie chicken with croissants. I felt energized and wanted to keep hiking. It was always very difficult for me to sit still and look at the view of the summit. I found most of the enjoyment through walking, even if it meant tripping over myself while I looked at the view. I twirled around like a helicopter while I waited for Orange to finish eating.
The way back down was easy and smooth sailing. I felt speedy and excited, however shortly after getting in the car, the pain of the cramps set in hard. I had planned to go back to Lily’s place in Te Anau for a couple nights, but I was stubborn and still wanted to check out the famous Milford Sound that was nearby.
We drove through an extremely long tunnel which felt as if it lasted several minutes. Then, we made it back into the light and cruised all the way down to the mountain base, stopping beside the edge of the water. I must admit the energy of the place was absolutely magical. Something about it felt mystical and extremely calm even though there was a lot of people. We walked through the water that was coming up to our feet quite fast. We didn’t spend too much time there because in all honesty I started to feel absolutely terrible.
Why did I agree on this adventure when I knew it was going to be my heaviest day?
Orange started to drive me back up the mountain and on the way I had a full blown breakdown. I drew my knees up to my chest and placed my hands over my lower belly. I could feel myself pissing blood. The pain intensified and I felt I entered a whole different kine of emotional realm. I started bawling my eyes out for over an hour non-stop, for no reason in particular. Then, I became really cold in my demeanor. Everything seemed to be pissing me off and I would take it out on Orange by saying some backhanded comment followed by feeling really guilty.
“I’m so sorry,” I would say, “I didn’t mean it. I’m just experiencing sharp pain and projecting it onto you. I really don’t mean to be a bitch.”
He was very understanding and comforting. He let me cry it out and eat whatever we had in the car to ease the cramps. He got me to Lily’s quickly so I could lay in bed for the rest of the day.
Before I went in, we sat in her driveway and he says, “She’s goin’ to think I beat ya up or somethin’.”
My face was swollen red and my eyes were bloodshot from tears. I told him I would take care of it. I walked into her home and the first person who greeted me was Lily! She was so happy to see me as I was to see her. I hugged her and let her know that I had a friend with me who was very close to me and that he did not make me cry, I was just on my period. She nodded and entirely understood, then said I could take as much rest as I felt I needed.
I went back outside to get the rest of my items. It was time to officially part ways with Orange. We hugged each other goodbye and I felt it was actually hard for me to give him a deep hug—something about it felt too real when I didn’t want it to be.