Adventures often begin as a thought, perhaps . . . inspired by a word, image, or just the sound of a name. This person reads maps like others read books, in great detail, each valley, stream, each bend in a river, does this waterfall; this flat area a wetland perhaps, and from this and those.

Often, mostly, the more remote, the prospective of exploring new and untrodden ground, tracks rarely walked is for us the preferred option. These offer unique opportunities for images, and time alone together if my favourite support person and life wife wing-woman duals the ride, especially if it’s the long way home.

An idea morphs into details, logistics, provisions. Oh, and of course, how could this person leave this last . . . how far is the walk, over what terrain, rate of ascent/descent, metres to climb and return.

Most adventures begin predawn, when the morepork/ruru calls from the kauri out the window, with emergence acts include scouting the skies for clouds, light potential, and weather conditions at locations to confirm plans.

Arriving at a forest or national park perimeter, there’s a sense of heightened anticipation, yet there’s a juxtaposition as we slow to accommodate the rough conditions of the park entrance track, sometimes four-wheel drive only.

Why do we do this, why the adventure at all. Why knowingly put an ever-increasingly fragile body, that is seriously compromised, with all the seriously time-ravaged disease-ridden bits that do their very best to just barely hold this all together; this all at the best of times.

It’s to keep the only part of the body that is of tungstenised titanium steelrock. It is and has to be tougher than the toughest thing, yet it’s elastically rubberyness enough to bounce back after every hit, and harder than diamond to keep on going unscratched.

The mind. . . needs these adventures. The mind needs these to feed the soul, and the heart loves being fed these good feelings, especially when it’s all outdoorsy stuff, and mother nature just knows how to supply our soul’s mind and heart food.

When we’re amongst oldest primeval primordial podocarp trees, an atmosphere of timelessness, in that unique natural silence where untold soaring Kaka screeching is almost deafening, and the equally numerous over berried giant Kereru swooshing closely by.

Reality rears it’s ugly mug, like the most annoying conscience, is it achievable. Yes, it’s two hours, but over what terrain, and is the return up or downhill, rate of descent and remember the 4kg tripod and the pack that’s three times that. Yep, done, we can do this, it’ll happen, just gotta wear those terrifically thick softest of soft socks and with the normal bush gear as per usual, she’ll be right.

But the gain. Places that are now so close to home, that have always has been a dream to be there. To see the sight and those sounds; and the feeling of just being there, to soak in the natural silence that isn’t.

To energise all six senses of being; these beautiful places, the textures. Seeing and feeling the different tree barks; the roughness of Totara to the smoothness of the Miro.

The atmosphere, iciness of the morning water laden air over frozen tree cladding and terra carpeting, through to the first hints of warmth as the sun penetrates through the podocarp and undergrowth, then the evap when the sun hits the water creating the rising misty swirlies, this is why.

The deafening sound of New Zealand’s dawn symphony from the feathered orchestra, against the river water splashing through the rapids in the morning shadowed darkness of the valley, this is why.

This is the motivation, to get out there. To not only live for, to actually live these tactile experiences. This, is all worth the following days stiffness and pain. This is all living the dream, regardless of how many ailments that are only fences that must be crossed. Each adventure is always on the other side of the fence, and removing all.

The adventures must happen, while they can. True, the walks and degree of difficulty are shorter now, with the downhills being rapidly tougher as the years pass, like water through the gorge.

The motivation is for this person, to feed the senses, to the point of pain, or tears, or even both as a response to the beauty of the scents, sights n’ sounds; touch or taste; and especially the feeling of an intangible atmosphere of being somewhere so special.

“A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers
But awakes to a morning with no reason for waking
He’s haunted by the memory of a lost paradise
In his youth or a dream, he can’t be precise
He’s chained forever to a world that’s departed”

– Dave Gilmour, @Pink Floyd, Sorrow, 1987 A Momentary Lapse of Reason, Album

Hoping you all enjoy your time this weekend and upcoming. May you find your solutions forthcoming in whatever form you need.

Arthritis New Zealand

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