Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Our outpost of civilisation is a small sleepy town sidled up to a steep mountain. The homely décor is straight out of the fifties, it's like stepping into an illustration from one of my A-level design books. Through the snug window a sunset melts into a black, starry sky with a token sliver of moon to complete the picture. The mountain behind holds the Kaimai Mamaku national forest, our gateway into the bush. Tomorrow we go.

I can do 5 press ups with the load on my back. It's stupidly heavy.

Other people shake their heads. They spit out numbers like as 14 and 15 kilos. We silently worry, we are way above this, double in fact. But logistics seem different when budgeting for 6 months instead of 6 weeks, or 6 days. I envy the weekenders. On a perfectly sunny day we throw all of our kit onto the lawn and spend the day skinning everything down.

At the end of the day we both pick up our bags. Ozzie says he feels like he could dance with the new weight. We have no idea how much lighter they are, but it's a reminder that it's not the number of kilos you carry, just how you feel about it.

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