30 March 2011

The final countdown

Cold, been a while since I've been this cold.  Hands have stopped working as hands, are more like wooden paddles.  The compass fumbles out of them.  I spin around into the wind and start trying to lever it up with my paddles.  Snow slides off my shell and down through my hair.  I need the stupid bloody compass because the batteries in the GPS have died.  Getting the lithium set out of my pack would require stopping, and stopping doesn't seem like a very good idea.  Bent over digging through the tussock, I see that my legs are bright red -- scrub cuts of the past ten days having been provoked by the cold to bleed a very light fraction of blood, like motorbike oil.  Compass now in hands.  Can't see anything to take a bearing, but anywhere SE will do.  Clear this slip to the left.  Down to the beech until this weather clears.  Out of the wind.  Try again tomorrow.

...

A wave on top of a wave on top of a wave washes in a lot further than the rest, and drenches my boots.  I don't mind.  Not much left of them for salt water to ruin -- the tread is gone, both soles have huge cracks and the stitching on all but one of the five repair patches are at various stages of rot.  Even the shoelaces are knotted in two places where the gaiter hooks eat at them.

I'm happy, I think, to be on Te Waewae Bay.  Three and a bit months to get here.  Eleven days since I last saw civilisation proper.  But I'm not relieved, which I half expected, sad, or even satisfied.  Just the same feeling as it always is at the end of a leg: what next?  My body is a bit tired, but in a day or two it'll be firing again.  I have a few more weeks.  A few ideas in my head.  Some people who might be keen.

...

High cloud, low wind, nice temperatures.  I check the topo.  A few k's up the spur and then follow the ridgeline up and down for a few more k's.  I've come up 1300m in about two hours, care of Fiordland's wonderful lack of a coherent scrub band and significant deer pressure on my ascent spur.  Below me, everything is a sea of cloud.  Mountains poke out of it like islands.  I grin.  Damn straight.

...

 
 
 
 

3 comments:

  1. You crazy motherfucker! Props on getting a token shot of a kiwi.

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  2. Given all the hype around them, you can't help but be disappointed when they don't do flips and spin around really fast on their beak.

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  3. Good work Clint. Almost there. I really admire what you have achieved. What an incredible adventure.

    Sounds like you might have a few plans up your sleeves when you get home too. Can't wait to see how it all unfolds.

    Josh

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