I grew up hating camping, school camps, bush, sand, trees, people… I preferred the dark and dimly lit theatres and the woody smell of a library book. Ashamedly I realised there was a life outside when I had my first boyfriend at 19 years old (yes I was Christian). He introduced me to snowboarding and short day walks. Let me tell you these adventures weren’t just glorious due to my hormonal surges, they were incredible experiences and acted as a gate-way drug into nature. Ironically as I look back I see that I feel out of love with my boyfriend at the time, and into an unquenchable love with the wonders outside my door!
Fast track about five years and my now partner and I embarked on a month long bike tour of the South Island of NZ at the end of our first year together. Naive and soft skinned, we gained many blisters and obliterated hindering self-beliefs, and I started to get a sense of what I was capable of. During this time of my life I went through an intense bout of health and panic anxiety. This was shit I’ll admit, but putting myself in crazy challenging situations in the outdoors, both physical and mental, was, and is something that cuts through all my bullshit and tells me straight “you can do this, this thing called life, and at times you won’t be anxious, actually you might even enjoy it”.
At the end of our third year together we got a puppy, Rudolph. And after many attempts at getting him to sit in a bike-basket while I screamed maternally as he jumped out of it into Auckland traffic, I gave up, valuing his life more than my dreams of bike touring the world with a passive pooch dozing in the front basket.
We decided to sell our bikes and explore the world on foot, with our little dog by our side. Little did we know you can only take dogs on 5% of walking tracks in NZ (Thanks DOC and defenseless birds such as the kiwi), oh well, que sera. But since we had already spent nearly a thousand dollars on hiking gear, and sold our bikes (face palm!), we decided to hit the trail anyway and see what NZ had in store for us.
New Zealand has far more walking tracks than exciting bike trails that’s for sure. It feels like I don’t have enough sick days to get out and discover each one. The more walks I do, multi-day or short, I start to dream more and more about disappearing on a long trail such as the PCT, Te Araroa, or Bibblumim track.
Whilst bike touring the South Island, I injured my knee. Not just an ache, but a searing, twanging pain that resulted in my partner strapping his bike to mine with bungee cords and towing me through most of the Otago Central Rail Trail in 30+ degree heat, what a keeper! A lot of my blogs will include reference to my ‘dickey knee’ and what I have done to remedy this awful, crippling hindrance. As my dad says, I look 90 years old going down hill.
If you would like to know more about me don’t hesitate to ask, I may reply!
To finish up this treatise, what is a moa you ask? Well, a moa was a large flightless native bird here in New Zealand that is now sadly extinct. It was quite a dumb bird. It fell in holes and died, and was eaten to extinction by the Māori and Moriori, so must have been pretty tasty too. Why choose this bird? Well I am a native bird (oh no she didn’t), I have quite a long neck, I too end up in holes (metaphorical, get your mind out of the gutter), and I love to explore the New Zealand bush!
Happy hiking everyone!