Getting away is always worth it. I don’t know how I forget to, caught month after month in the loop of routine. Mt Peel was waiting just a few hours up the road and a friend joined me for the day walk, no, tramp, for which we were glad we’d chosen boots over gymshoes â€” for mud, roots, and a hill that rose and rose. Somehow we both managed to ignore the bold DOC sign telling us we’d taken the steep south ridge route.
Clouds rolled back as we climbed a hill mantled in Dracophyllum, Spaniard, celmisias, hebes and, pictured here, korari burning in the mist. Crickets flipped about and two women breathed heavily.
Back in Peel Forest we pitched a tent, threw a meal together and one of us nipped back to the village for two small lagers â€” quite enough to set us on our ears for the night.
The stars out there are a river of light. They fell and flared and seethed.
Next day we talked and read, walked through the kahikitea and over the Rangitata riverbed, cooked lunch on a fire, had a final coffee in Geraldine and said goodbye. She went north, I went south.
If you get a chance, do it. 36 hours is all it took.