Human contact here is the more cherished for its rarity, and my favorite encunters have been with that peculiar subspecies known as the thru-hiker. Their aim: 3,000 miles on foot in five months, a hike along the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) from the Mexican border to Glacier National Park before the snow flies in October. Twenty miles a day, every day. I know them instantly by their fancy walking sticks, their sunburnt skin and general air of dinginess, and the scratches on their shins if they’re wearing shorts, which come from having bushwhacked through the thorny bush to my south. By the time they arrive on my peak they’ve walked a hundred miles on a shortcut from the Mexican border, headed for a junction with the Continental Divide....There’s no such thing as a day off in their lexicon, only what they call a “zero day.” For these people walking is joy, not work, yet daily mileage remains an axiom of progress. Their resupply points have all been planned in advance. Falling off the pace can mean going hungry.
I find these folks unfailingly gracious and cheerful, with their lightweight equipment, their hard legs and big smiles. They’re a self-selected bunch, at ease in the out-of-doors, but for people who’ve been walking close to a marathon every day they appear almost goofily invigorated. Within moments of their arrival they shed their packs and ask to climb the tower. They’re a week into their five-month journey and want to see where they’ve been and where they’re headed.
With one last e-mail exchange on November 30, Brad rushed away from the computer to purchase food and a few other supplies before catching up with the two women he met for wine the previous evening. They had arranged kayaks for the three of them to cross the bay. His next stop would be Pai Hai, but probably not online again until Whangarei.
Happy Treking dear Brad!
Next stop Whangarei