I've had free wi-fi at this place, so I've been able to blog more without worrying about time and usage. We'll see what happens next week when I'm hostel-hopping. Might not have free wi-fi everywhere!
Yesterday I took a day off, my first in awhile, and took a hike to a nearby reserve. It was a grey-ish day but it was cool and the sun came through the clouds sporadically. I calculated I did about 10 miles in all, round trip. My legs were protesting, but it felt great to be in the fresh country air, and I got some amazing views, which just didn't come out so well on my iPhone. I'm finding that although the iPhone 4 has a great camera in many respects, the conditions need to be really good (sunny, clear, with still objects) in order to get the best shot.
Hiking is a great time to just think about things. I decided to go music-less, just listening to the birds and sheep and cows around me, doing their thing.
- I thought about what I want to do when I get back to the U.S.– my thoughts keep going to starting my own “thing” that involves food, youth, education, yoga, health, cooperation and collaboration,. And so I was thinking about people I want to talk to– people who might have good ideas, people who might be able to go into this venture with me, people whose brains I can pick.
- I thought about what I'm getting out of this part of my travel– the WWOOFing bit. I'm learning how to recognize more flora and fauna– what's edible and when it's ready. Potato plants, carrots, strawberries, herbs, lots of flowers and trees.
- I thought about my own personal life and where that's headed. I'd say I'm about halfway through my life (haha, is that a morbid thought?) and I know I'd like to have a family. I'm definitely enjoying my independence, especially related to being able to travel at a moment's notice and just worrying about myself and no one else. But it feels selfish and lonely at times.
My mind was definitely occupied on this hike. But I didn't miss out on the views. There were lots of sheep and lambs along the way. I got some nice shots of lambs, which are quite skittish. They always are within close reach of their mom, and each sheep has one or two little lambs. Such cuties! The adults aren't so cute.
The hike was all uphill one way and all downhill the other. If I have a choice, I'd prefer it that way rather than the opposite, but I do like to have up and down mixed up. My knees were in a bit of pain at the end of all the downhill.
I got some amazing views of Christchurch, Lyttleton Harbor, the snow-capped Southern Alps (which really didn't come out in any of these photos– they're on the horizon in the blue-ish glow in these photos…). And there was lots and lots of gorse. Gorse is thorny bush with amazing yellow flowers which smell faintly of coconut oil. So as I was walking through thickets of gorse, I felt like I was on a beach smelling suntanning oil! Farmers consider gorse a noxious weed because it's so prolific and hard to get rid of. It's very thorny.
I used instagram on many of these photos because the originals were just a bit washed out (because of the problem I spoke of earlier with the iPhone). But the colors really are quite lush and vibrant in real life, so I felt justified in using that editing app.
Throughout the hike, I was climbing up and over fences because although it's a scenic reserve, there are parts that are privately owned as well. And I took a photo of this gate lock. These are ubiquitous in New Zealand, especially on farmland. Everything is gated and fenced, and you have to learn how to open and close these gates.
The end of my trip brought me to a garden area where there were monuments and sculptures donated from Christchurch's sister cities, mostly Asian countries, interestingly.
So there were some things donated from a small town outside of Seoul, Korea! What a nice little treat for me to bring me back to my roots!
So now I'm off to start my day. Feeding the horses and chickens and to see how many eggs I'll collect today!