Just over one year ago, on March 21, 2016, I began this journey. It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around the concept that it’s only been that long.
In those 365 days, I have lived… lifetimes. I’ve met hundreds of people; made dozens of friends; experienced countless transformative moments; seen more overwhelmingly beautiful things than I can possibly describe; felt more love, fear, and pain than I thought I ever could; been moved to tears nearly once a day; eaten both the best and worst foods imaginable; found answers to some of the deepest questions within me, nestled beside more questions; grown in ways I never could have guessed; had my mind changed and my heart opened, regularly; been safe and loved, and very uncomfortable; and every step of the way learned about enough about this Earth, Myself, and Life to fill volumes.
And those words, in their best moments, only shine like the moon reflecting a far greater light.
In truth, I am standing in the waterfall. I’m trying to swallow it all. But I can’t.
My challenge is just to let it wash over me.
That’s harder for me than I let on.
WILL TAKES A HIKE
I had many ideas for how I wanted to mark my one-year anniversary on the road. I thought about skydiving, eating a fantastic meal, throwing a party with whoever I could find, or doing nothing at all.
As it turned out, Life had other plans, as It often does.
To commemorate this “great walk” I am upon, I went on a Great Walk in New Zealand: the Abel Tasman Coast Track, the most famous of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks. Fortune had me nearby, on an autumn day with good weather, so I went for it.
To do the whole Track takes several days of overnight camping, and camp bookings made a year ahead of time. Fortunately, I only wanted to do a day hike. So, typical for my level of planning, the night before I did some quick research and found a good segment to hike in one day.
The section I chose turned out to be quite an adventure: 22 kilometers over uneven ground. With my long legs, I thought it would take 5-6 hours, at most. No big deal, right?
It took me 8 hours.
So I went on a great walk on a Great Walk to celebrate my great walk.
Ya can’t make this shit up. 🙂
Fortunately, I brought my cameras along with me. Yes plural, for I am now the owner of a shiny new Sony RX100 III, which I bought for myself for my birthday in January. Happy birthday to me!
I’ve previously been using only an iPhone 6S. So from now on, be on the lookout for a shift in my photography, as I grow into my new upgrade.
Like this shot, my favorite of the day, and one of my favorites of my new camera so far. This was at the very start of the Coast Track.
I call it, “Possibilities.”
Enjoy! Here’s to more adventures.
And thanks for coming along with me.
THE ABEL TASMAN COAST TRACK, IN PHOTOS
#nofilter – This is seriously what the Coast Track looks like. These are actual colors, no filters, no editing. It’s probably why so many people come here. Just guessing.
The Abel Tasman Coast Track in a nutshell: dense bush, golden beaches, turquoise water, and blue skies. Paradise.
Up close and personal with Apple Tree Bay, the most spectacular beach I saw all day. Also the quietest.
Most of the Coast Track is up along a high ridge, leading to occasional views like this. See the cruise boat speeding away?
And this is what the rest of the Track looks like: dense jungle, aka “bush,” and a well-worn path. (Click to enlarge.)
In New Zealand a walk like this is called a “bush tramp.” I laughed for about 5 minutes when I heard that. Some things just don’t translate.
I also have the sense of humor of a 5-year-old.
Also, this photo is with my new camera. Could you tell?
“Tom, you’re talking down to me again.”
“Harold, I just need to explain this to you!”
(I don’t know why, but that’s what I see in this photo of two very tall, very lonely trees. Also, trees don’t talk. FYI.)
You can’t see it, but there is a path here. That path is inaccessible during high tide. This adds 90 minutes onto the length of the Track.
Fortunately, I got there during “mid-tide,” when the tide was coming up, but was just low enough for me to wade through at hip level. Ten minutes later, that might not have been the case.
I got home at 7:30pm, just around sunset, after 8 hours of walking and 37,000 steps, as counted by my iPhone.
If I hadn’t been able to wade through the path above, at mid-tide, I would have gotten back well after dark. I had a headlamp, so that wouldn’t have been bad, but it most definitely would not have been good.
Sometimes I think someone up there is looking out for me. <3
Finally, the attentive ones amongst you might have noticed a photo of what looks like a champagne bottle in the sand. Good eyes:
I brought a small bottle of champagne with me to celebrate the day, which I did at Anchorage Bay, just after crossing the aforementioned path at mid-tide.
I toasted the moment! I toasted the year! I toasted to you! I toasted myself!
But most of all, I toasted to Life.
Cheers. And here’s to the road ahead, for each of us, and where we all may be one year from now.
May that day – and every day between then and now – be blessed.