Monday, April 23, 2018

The Able Tasmen; A Journey to Remember

They say when one makes one's dreams come true one must set their sights on new dreams and then work to make them a reality. And that my dear friends is what I have done. Way back in 2012, I set my sights on hiking 100 miles across the Irish countryside. A dream I eventually turned into a reality. Two years later it was hiking Scotland which I turned my visions too. Again, I worked and scrapped and saved all my money until one day I found myself crossing the Scottish highlands on foot. A moving experience traversing the heart of my ancestral home. As soon as that was done I once again focused my efforts, this time on a long distance hike in New Zealand. It took me almost two years to raise the money and screw up my courgae to embark upon an adventure that would not just take me alone into the temperate rain forest of New Zealand, but beyond into many an unknown. A trip around the world.

I did not know it at the beginning, but the Able Tasman Trail, 50 kilometers through the forests of New Zealand, would just be the begining of something amazing. Of something wonderful. Of something that is currently changing me and my life forever. A journey around the world begins with a simple idea and then blossoms and grows. It then turns into the here and now with those first simple steps into the unknown. And for me that was the Abel Tasmen.

I was told, and had read, that this was a coastal track. That it followed the coast along the beaches never
getting more than 150 meters above sea level. What I wasn't aware of was how often the trail would undulate, how slick the track would be after the rain, and how it would challenge me to once again screw up my courage, strap on my big girl panties, put my head down and just...go. As in the past on my long distance hikes, I certainly found myself
wondering what the hell I was thinking trying to do this shit at my age and physical stature. No matter what anyone said, this was a greuling trail. Once the rain had set in, it became a lesson in caution almost every step of
the way. Basically, the whole trip was me lugging myself and my pack up, and then down, mile after mile of slick muddy trails only to have the forest open up to the most stunning of views, just about the time I would reach the end of my rope. From high atop the forests path one could see tranquil, green waters reaching out into the world beyond. There were waterfalls and rivers; water oozing from the earth itself. There were moonrises on empty beaches, where my tent and I
would lie awake awash with gentle moon beams and
glittering starlight. There were sunrises for the weary of heart that made one forget all else. Forget the sore legs and shoulders, forget the trials and tribulations of the previous day, forget about what lay ahead, forget about all else and live only for that solitary moment; when one holds their breath and waits for the sun to broach the horizon. And in that moment, all else fails you. And life was in that next breath, in that next step, in that next dream of adventure. That was what the Able Tasman gave to me. As freely as the sun gives warmth and the universe gives my endless dreams a place to go. It gave to me that moon, that sunrise, that journey, those steps. And I am forever grateful.

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