Archive for February 15th, 2008

Grab a ruler boys

Howden hut to Mid-Caples

The well graded path gave way to something called a trail as we departed the tourist “milk run” and headed “back-country”. When we crossed our first really wet area I went up to my waist in a bog I figured would release me in a few thousand years….I would be known as Bog man II – who was he, what was he doing here, what did he eat, what are these odd tools he carries; I am certain the discovery channel would make it much more interesting than the truth – hiker trash got swallowed while tramping about. Not today as I managed to drag myself out only to climb a rock and root staircase in sweltering humidity while sweat poured off me as we headed from the lowlands to snow line. Without infrequent orange arrows attached to moss and lichen covered everything, getting lost was a real option. Once atop and above tree line I was drenched in a salty fluid and could not see as my glasses were steamed from the heat and perspiration. “Should probably put a jacket on”, John suggested. Are you flipping kidding me, I just lost 10 pounds in water climbing that hill. Within minutes my core temperature was plummeting as an icy wind swept across the highly exposed saddle. “You are not in California any longer- welcome to the land of absolute extremes that will kill you if you are not diligent”. Boy was he right as I shivered for the next hour.

We made it to Mid-Caples in just over 6 hours, and as I write this I am looking up a Fly-fishing magazine picture perfect valley where a freestone river flows. We are sharing the hut with mostly Americans who arrived via a short hike up from the car park. They are a nice group but I can see why what we as Americans call “self confidence” is interpreted differently as “arrogance” by others; loud, self assured, cocky about all of their “accomplishments”. I say we as I see myself in them and am embarrassed when I realize I often behave the exact same way. This is particularly striking in NZ, where I have noted that “understatement” is the national norm and is the trait that is most respected. While American men are quick to compare and then grossly embellish everything from how big the mountains they have climbed to the size of their dicks, New Zealanders are as a rule content with drawing their self worth internally rather than seeking the praise of others.

Thought about Liz a good bit over the miles – walking will do that; mostly good thoughts about good times. However, I do feel that she did betray our vows of marriage and that is a difficult thing to let go. And yet it is odd because I really like not being married and have realized that during our marriage I liked the idea of being married more than being married itself. So, that begs the question – Was she the only one who betrayed vows? Another thing I have noticed is there are a LOT of beautiful and interesting women in the world. I truthfully never really noticed that before – because I was married I guess. But now I am not, and you know what – that is a fact I am pretty happy about.

The two fly-fishing guys are comparing their fishing prowess which is really funny to the point of obscene. I have caught some fish, and a lot of them have been on fly rods, but these guys do not know that and I am keeping quiet about it. As a result the tales are beyond fish stories and I am certain that these guys are going to pull out a ruler anytime now and measure their manhood.


Read Full Post »