Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Heading down the right track

Saturday's tramp on the Akatarawa ranges was billed as "easy". It wasn't. Nor was it what I'd call a tramp. It was a rather arduous bush-bash. We followed the main path for all of fifty yards before our experienced leader said we'd gone the wrong way and led us down a "track" that we wouldn't even have noticed had it not been pointed out to us. He said he hadn't been down that track in four years; I don't think anybody else had either.

We then followed a creek, rock-hopping until that was no longer an option. Soon we were wading through two feet of water; I just managed to keep my undies dry though one or two others were less fortunate. My boots (which I got in 1997, were made in Bulgaria and have Cyrillic writing on them), my socks and most of my trousers were obviously soaked.

The idea was to reach a spectacularly wide rata tree - "it's another 45 minutes" but after 90 minutes we were still some distance from the tree and would have needed to scale a very steep bank, so that plan went out the window. As it was, there was plenty of crawling through vegetation and at one point we descended a bank with the aid of a rope. At least we went at a sensible pace and took short breaks every now and again. After six hours we finally clambered out of the woodland to the "bibeep, bibeep" of civilisation as someone received a text.

I must say it was a most satisfying feeling to have been on that tramp - an all-too-rare sense of achievement. I'd used muscles that hadn't been flexed in years and in some cases didn't even know existed. It felt great to get away from the internet, the phone, work, men in suits, my flat... Best of all the fact that I am able to feel good is indicative of an improvement in my mental state. Twelve of us did the trip. Due to work commitments Danielle unfortunately couldn't make it.

I slept for 9½ hours the following night. On Sunday I saw the Lorax with my cousin, her three boys and one of their friends. I suggested it to them because I knew they had a few of Dr Seuss's books including that one. I'd never read the Lorax myself but I pretty much knew the story anyway, largely thanks to this song and video. It was a good film with a pretty important environmental message which is even more relevant now than it was forty years ago when the book (and Cat Stevens's song) were written.

Last night I attended the autism group for the first time in six weeks. There was an American bloke who was new to the group and certainly didn't mind talking (especially when the facilitator asked each of us in turn to say what we were good at).

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