Dear friends, It is an idiotic thing that I am right now blogging.
I really have so much on my plate right now, what with school and all. Here's the Dealio: Don't be fooled, classes abroad can be really intense. Especially if you have teacher's who are already strict at school. Ugh, I know there's only two weeks left of classes, but that only makes me more nervous about getting everything done on time.
Somehow though, I found time on Sunday to take a leisurely walk. I told everyone in the apartment that I had a headache and just needed to go for a quick little walk to get some air. Little did I know, this was not what fate had in mind. I walked over to the sink to refill my water bottle then mindlessly jammed my feet into my tennis shoes.
I figured I would just walk around town for maybe an hour at most, you know... see what Queenstown had to offer. So that's what I did. I walked around and went into this bead shop I'd seen earlier. It was an adorable place with beads... EVERYWHERE, but it was also unnecessarily expensive, so I left almost as soon as I'd entered.
I started to grow a little tired of the whole town thing. It's nice, but I needed fresh air and there were a lot of car emissions down in the valley. Lucky for me I read the sign that read, "Queenstown Hill Walking Trail." I love walking and I love trails, so I thought to myself..."why not!"
Well, turns out hills are much steeper than I thought they were. This one was no exception. I began hiking up the sidewalks to the trail head. Passing several people who were going the opposite direction. The key in trying NOT to be seen as an American is to pretend like you're not out of shape. They way I do this is hold my breath and smile as I pass others while I secretly feel like my heart is going to pound out of my chest. As soon as the Kiwis pass, I huff and puff like an 80 year old man with emphysema... okay not that bad.
Finally I made it to the beginning of the trail... and let me tell you, it was truly the beginning. The trail was heavily wooded and fairly remote. Being in a tourist town, I assumed it would be, I don't know, busy. However, I was pleasantly surprised to be alone most of the way.
And It was wonderful to be on my own. This is a hike that most of the people from HUA took in groups, but I am so glad I chose to go it alone. I was able to contemplate things like spirituality and who I am. There's just something about nature and God's creation that inspires me to think inward about my life and outward about the whole world. I like to imagine that the hike was actually, in itself, its own church service. (If this were the case then I'll have you know the preacher went WAY over in his allotted time, ha ha).
I wasn't sure how far I would go when I started out, but after a while I became determined to make it to the top. I wanted to say that I did it on my own and have it symbolize (for myself) what I've overcome in my own life. The longer it took, the more adamant I was at summiting. The scenery changed the further up I climbed. It started out looking like a fairy tale forest and got darker as I kept trudging upward. Eventually the trees were leafless, save for the top branches in the canopy. The branches below were numerous and bare, like little bones reaching down to capture a lone hiker who wasn't paying attention.
As an imaginative person, I let my mind get the best of me. I started wondering who I would run into on the path. Rolling my eyes at my own stupidity, I realized that I'd wandered up the hill... into a dark forest... completely alone just like every other stupid Horror story or murder victim. Genius... not. Of course I started hearing things and that only pushed me up the hill faster.
I finally reached a point where the trees had cleared and I was nearing the top. This was the steepest and most difficult point in my "epic journey." The Summit was 15 minutes away and the wind was whipping at my cheeks and biting at my lips. My legs were aching and I was running out of time before the scheduled church service... and the sunset. It took a lot of strength but I somehow forced my body to the top. I was half expecting to see more inclines and required hiking, but it was such a relief to see nothing besides one of the most spectacular views I've ever seen.
New Zealand. It feels like it could go on forever. It really is exactly like what you would imagine a fairy tale land to look at. Think of any fantasy novel... I bet it was based on New Zealand. If I could live anywhere out of the United States, it would be here. I heaved a sigh and said a prayer, then began my hasty descent down the "mountain..." Ahem, hill. (it really stinks that it is considered a hill... because it makes my hike sound wimpy). I enjoyed smiling at people on the way down... I know they were secretly hyperventilating.
I made it back in time for church and before I nearly peed my pants. It was wonderful and I am so glad that I challenged myself in that way. I think it was good for my soul (and my butt, which is still sore).
Peace and Love