Olivia has managed to get a letter out to me, Sarah, with her first scribbles. Here it is...
Written by Olivia on Day 10 (18 December, 07) in the Cobb Valley.
It was such a busy time leading into the start, lists as long as my arm and a head full of thoughts. It all accumulated into a 2500km road trip over 5 days, getting everything in place. And such a sigh of relief when the last drop was in place. Then all I had to do was walk. It's been so lovely to breathe out as I walk.
So the 9th December was Day 1. I was dropped at the end of the road at Wharariki, put my pack on, said farewell and started walking. My head was spinning and I found it quite hard to believe that this was it. My reality is now simply just to walk south. Found a lovely campsite by the ocean and went exploring.
It took a couple of days to walk into the journey, conditioning my body to carrying a pack and conditioning my mind to see the reality of the situation. But the further I walk, and the more time spent, the more comfortable I become and it all feels right to be out here.
The journey so far has already been a challenge. It's day 10 and 10 days of rain, drizzle and clouds. I have just walked over the Douglas Range (Dragon's Teeth area) over the last five days and the visibility has been on average 20-50m, with only the occasional clearance to see a little bit further. It's certainly been a good test for my navigation. It was quite interesting walking, narrow ridge tops covered in rocks or stunted goblin forest and thick off track travel through steep valleys.
I so love to be on the tops and discovered that my way of knowing this area has not been through the normal paths of visual images but instead has been through the other senses, developing a real feel of what this place is like.
Great to have a more technical section in more challenging weather so early in the trip, as it has required more than just following a track. Route finding, fitness and experience have been needed. I think that I've passed all my first tests. Checking in with myself that this experience, this journey is the right one to be making for me, for now. So far, so good, and not only just "surviving", but realising that these moments out here are what I love about being in the outdoors and about life. The real adventure moments, the focus, passion, joy and contentment that I feel, just being able to live like this and to attempt to do what I'm doing. It's nice to be here, and its nice to walk. I'm walking my sacred path.