I hesitantly set off to the base of the big hill this morning – the pain in my calf muscles a lot less but a general heaviness in my legs and body that I wondered if was partly brought on by staying up too late after my English Language Class to have a couple of glasses of Sav in the spa on an empty stomach – even though it was one of the recommendations for relieving muscle tension when I had earlier googled about it!
For the longest time a big fresh dog shit smack in the middle of the track was the only sign of life. I was thankful I spotted it as the thought of it accompanying me for the journey was not pleasant.
I heard a happy, chattering party long before they came into view and just past the landing three women were making their descent.
I put my legs into automatic and got to thinking that even though we’re in the shit and the current climate in the dairy industry is dire for some people – we were blessed to have some amazing support from mentors that we were matched up with from the DairyNZ, Dairy Connect scheme.
One such angel left a card after her visit – www.depression.org.nz/rural. A few days went by and I checked out the website and ended up doing the quiz and it came out that I was moderately depressed. It did make sense when I thought back over the last few months and the big melt-down I had at my cousin’s wedding when I thought I had completely stuffed up her wedding photos and along with the overindulging in food and alcohol and the going back to bed between the morning and afternoon milking; but l was adamant that I didn’t want to take myself off to the doctor to get pills to numb myself any further – I vowed then to work through the crap and my Mount Everest ten-day Mount Te Aroha Challenge was one of the ways to kick-start the process.
So feeling a little fatigued I kept on going – doing it for all the hurting cow-cockies out there. The ones that have taken their own lives because they lost all hope and the ones that have had to leave an industry they love and the only means of income they have ever known.
As the incline increased I caught up to a couple – he was quite a bit further ahead than her.
“I went up to Bald Spur yesterday,” she said. “My calf muscles are burning!”
I just smiled and sympathised with her. She didn’t get very far along and she sat down. “I, need the plasters and they’re in HIS pack.” I said if I managed to catch him up I would send him back with the plasters.
Not too much further he was patiently waiting. “She needs the plasters.” “She wants the sit-down,” he muttered.
With knees feeling a little wobbly I stopped to catch my breath at a spot with a nice view if you peaked between the branches.
A guy on his way up suddenly appeared and I let out a startled noise then immediately felt embarrassed. “I knew you weren’t a tree when I spotted your pink top,” he said. Hey I know I have Ponga legs, I thought to myself – but to only realise I wasn’t a tree once he glimpsed my top!
“You’re not scary,” I replied. “You can get a bit lost in your thoughts up here.” My way of explanation for screeching, reminiscent of a time we went to Spookers, the horror theme park in Auckland. We had finished our tour through the haunted mental asylum and been chased through the maize by chainsaw wielding lunatics but back in the cafe a random guy walked past me, no costume, no make-up or fake blood in sight, and I screamed. “It’s alright lady, I’m not that scary looking I hope!”
I arrived making the same time up as yesterday even though it had felt harder work and wandered up to the trig station and passed the maintenance guys from Kordia. “You back again!” called out one of the guys as he was slipping into his safety harness.
“Yup,” I said. “Gonna do it ten in a row and today is day five!”
“Fuuuuuuuuuuck,” he said.
I just managed to click off that “proof of mission accomplished selfie” as I stared into the glaring sun and a gentleman joined me on the summit.
“The views worth it aye,” I said. He agreed but said we should have come up yesterday as that looked to be a clearer day. I just smiled.
As we both ate our snacks and chit-chatted he said I guess you don’t get up here much with working around your cows? I couldn’t just answer that with a smile and my confession that this was day five and my little story tumbled off my tongue and then I was suitably impressed that he was suitably impressed with my mission – him being a super fit, ex marathoner, Merrell amphibious shoe wearer and all!
He sympathised for all the hurting dairy farmers, wished me all the best with my mission, then headed off to Dog Kennel Flat and I set off back down the way I had come up.
I met the couple I passed earlier on – plaster in place she made it after all – proof that we can push through the pain when we really want to accomplish something bad enough.
I jig-wobbly-jogged my way down and two red-faced chicks gave way to me on a bend. “The view will make it all worth it,” I called out. “Good,” they retorted in that “I hope we are nearly there” voice.
As I got closer to the Horseman’s Track turn-off I heard voices floating through the air then it was solitude again all the way back to the Domain and I was treated to the Mokena geyser – the only natural soda water geyser in the world – doing her every forty minute eruption.
Mai i toku ngakau,