After meditating, and playing my ukelele like the dirty hippy I strive to be, I laid down on a bunk to drop bones. Taking the silence in the hut for starter gun, a mouse maneuvered through a small hole into the cabin. Possessed by hunger, the hairy turd ran with magnificent gusto over the floorboards, in search of life giving crumbs.
If I had dropped any, I assure you I would have licked them off the floor myself.
Annoyed, I climbed out of bed, and hung my backpack from a the beam in the ceiling. A friend of mine had her water bladder chewed through by a mouse, and I didn’t want to take the risk of having anything damaged or stolen to make a merino wool nest. That mouse got to live in New Zealand, in the middle of the Southern Alps-
I had no pity for that owl pellet with legs.
I woke up the next morning, and headed out with the plan of going 10-15 miles instead of my usual. The route began through a jungle like, thick forest gased with a blinding fog that lingered as ghostly fingers amongst the trees.
Dipping out of the bush, I climbed through various river valleys, and up precariously unstable rock fields.
Eventually I was spit out into a field. A faint tread, zigzagged through tall weeds with egg sized, white cottony tips on them. I squinted to decipher the fluffy white plant, a puzzle to my eyes.
It was grass; topped with penthouses of thickly wound spider nests.
Villages of them.
My eye brows raised into wide Vs, and my mouth smeared over the lower half of my face in surprising disgust. I have an equation for my fear of spiders and it solves as follows-
Distance away + speed + size x surprise factor = FEAR OF SPIDER
For example in this case-
Distance away = 2 feet
Speed, size = Unknown so zero
Surprise factor = 1 based on surprise of creepy web pod
2 + 0 + 0 x 1 = 2
A relatively low fear number.
A strong possibility I would live to tell about it.
I grabbed a pitch fork and torch out of my bag just in case though.
This trail knew my weaknesses, and preyed on them.
If I was met by a land shark, a man with really long finger nails, or a dog with huge eye boogers at the next hut, I would know for sure someone read my diary, and was out to get me.
At the edge of the field, I reached my ten mile mark in the form of the second hut.
Luckily it was empty.
It was however, 3PM and I’d have been bored out of my gourd until bed time if I stayed, so I broke my new 10 mile rule the second day in. I’d push on to the highway at 20 miles, and hitch to the small town of St. Arnaud for my resupply box of food.
My feet were in terrible shape from
being hot and soaking wet two days. Immersion foot was setting in. Which means basically your feet start to rot, and by basically… I mean your feet start to rot. They were itchy, swelling, and I could smell the deathly stench 5 feet 9 inches above, where my head was connected to them. The flesh was water logged, bright white on the bottom, with a red, blotchy rash crawling up the sides.
Kind of like a raw hamburger patty with one side partially cooked.
It’s important to be sexy on the trail-
And beef is a sexy meat.
Leaving the hut, my bovine hooves took me trotting up a forest dripping with a spindly, sea foam green moss. The ground rose to the occasion with a spongy, rigid, off white moss that appeared to be reaching for the trees with every fiber. It was enchanting.
I had happened upon a fairy land.
I almost felt like I was trespassing, being the tall, smelly human monster I was.
The contrast between the moss and trees was stunning. I was bewitched. I hiked under the spell of the trees, moving swiftly but wanting to linger forever.
As the evening set in, the trail widened becoming a dirt road for the last 5 miles, until I was deposited on a road with houses and speeding vehicles.
The noise pollution shattered the human silence of the past 4.5 days and I was made more aware of how truly alone I had been. I had only 30 minutes of face to face talking with other people during my entire 70 mile trip. Suddenly I felt I had been wandering a deserted island waiting to be found by cannibals.
Perhaps they lived in these houses I was walking by.
Better walk quicker.
I checked my phone for service, and called my boyfriend. With the gift of hindsight, I must have sounded like tickle me Elmo on cocaine. I was so excited to talk to another human, and that the human was him. After the phone call he text me,
“You need more human interaction.”
He wasn’t wrong.
If I was lucky hitching, I would accomplish this.
The highway, was a narrow paved road, weaving through thin forests and farm lands. I stopped to change into sandals, which someone had left at a hut, as if the universe knew I would lose my crocks over a cliff.
I’m still grieving.
The funeral is in two days.
On my quest to dig for my sandals, a car sped by on the left side of the road. Lifting my eyes from my yard sale of gear I had emptied into the dirt, I locked my vision on the driver’s side to make eye contact as I stuck my thumb out.
There was no one there.
I stretched my head out further to investigate, and my eye brows furrowed.
The car appeared to be driving its self.
The sheet metal ghost flew by, and in a blur I could see that there was a passenger.
Then I remembered they also drive on the opposite side of the car.
What a relief, shit was really bizarre there for a moment.
Chumming the street with my thumb for bait, I walked quietly through the country side, waiting for any risk takers.
After 20 minutes of walking, a behemoth of a truck pulled over to answer the call of a the fake drifter. Overwhelmed with gratitude, I climbed 4 feet up into the vehicle. The man greeted me with a gentle smile. Thrilled, I slammed the door, and immediately turned to the stranger as he pushed on the gas. While asking the superficial questions one does when they put their lives in a stranger’s hands in a different country, the man’s eyes grew wide. I didn’t think my questions were too vulgar, (although I do suffer from a small vocabulary of verbal abortions), but his surprised expression spread to the rest of his face.
Perhaps I had something in my teeth.
He pointed past me in terror.
“Your door!” He yelled.
I turned around in my seat, easily, as I had not yet put on my seat belt on.
My door was open and I could see the cement flying under me at highway speed.
In my hast to climb in the car,I had slammed the door on my backpack and it was unable to latch.
In some countries, you may get killed hitch hiking.
In New Zealand, they won’t allow you die hitch hiking