Lost In The Pine Forest

We hiked up a beautiful pine forest in Queenstown. It was one of the easier hike we did in New Zealand and would have taken us around 3 hours to do a round trip. But we got lost while coming down and ended up at the bike trail. All 4 of us had no idea how we wandered off from the hiking trail.

The mountain bikers were fast and furious and were insanely dangerous! They were fully geared and were all wearing what looked like motorbike helmets. They had to be going down at insane speed to require that kind of helmets!

We thought we could avoid them by taking the more rocky paths but hell no, they could be found at the most unlikely location, a treacherous and rocky cliff.

We back tracked the trail hoping to get back to the hiking trail but it was just too dangerous as it was a steep climb, we had to get on all fours at some areas and bikers would suddenly appear charging down the hill. A couple of them shouted at us warning us that we could get killed!

We tried bashing through the forest to stay away from the bike trail but it was too dense and we realized there was no way we could walk through it.

It was an irony how not too long ago I was admiring her beauty and now, I was silently pleading for her mercy. I was beginning to get worried and the little one started sobbing.

So going uphill to get back to the hiking trail wasn’t going to work and going downhill seemed like the best bet. We were actually not far away, we could see the lake and the car park, we just needed a safer way to get down and avoid the bikers!

We remembered an unmarked trail that linked up with the bike trail earlier on while we were back tracking and that could be our only chance.

The Dad recced the route down and we helped to keep a lookout for on coming bikes. Once a spot was identified as safe, we would move downhill one at a time. At any one time, there was someone who stayed behind to look out for bikes and get ready to shout to warn both the bikers and the person who was making his way down the trail. It was an intense moment.

We finally made it to the unmarked trail and judging from the mark on the trail, we suspected it was a track for 4 wheel drive vehicles. Now the chance of being knocked down by a 4 wheel drive seem lower than by thrill seeking bikers! We hurried down that path, still looking out for bikes, just in case.

Before long, we caught a glimpse of the road! A ROAD! We were thrilled. The joy, the relief to see the end to this maze. A maze in the wilderness, in a sea of pine trees of centuries old. A silent beauty which can be mysterious, awe inspiring and dangerous all in one.


Some Kind Of Love

My 8 year old, a somewhat avid hiker

Somewhere between his first hike when he was 4 years old and now

A love blossomed

A love for the nature, for the mountains, or for walking miles

I can’t be sure and neither can he

Perhaps it is the weather high up that makes all things pleasant

Or perhaps it’s the fruit of perseverance that got him hooked

An affinity so real

unveiled in the stories he wrote

Stories of his many hikes

Details that had left us

but had became part of him

He was thrilled by this last minute trip

An enthusiasm so contagious

which gotten me lasted longer than I could

He hiked every single day

There was no time for jet lag

nor time to nurse his sunburnt lip

or his badly swollen blood shot eyes from an unknown allergy

Nothing seems to stop him

Not the pain nor the treacherous terrain

Perhaps too juvenile to comprehend the danger that lurks

But not too long ago

he was this little baby who needed help to go over the smallest hurdle

and a hand to cross the littlest stream

now he checks on Mum just to make sure all is well

[Photo taken during one of our hikes when he was 4 years old]

I am awed, happy and greatly humbled

by this passion he has found at this tender age

The kind of passion that still eludes me



This entry was posted in Hiking.

Feeling Alive … Mastering Fear

We were at the Army Open House during the weekend.
Unlike previous years  this year’s event wasn’t held in some ulu corner but right in the heart of the city
An idyllic spot, with gentle lapping of the water, shade from our symbolic bridge and view of our phenomenal wheel
The location itself already won our hearts

My boys went berserk seeing all the tanks and guns and flying machines
Weapons of destruction set their testerone surging and raging
Much like the magic of disneyland minus the fairy dust

The whole exhibit covers a vast area and by the time we reached the end of the exhibit, my brain must have been a little fried by the sun
I joined the boys at the quest of the 12m tall adventure tower, which I think is equivalent to 3 story high ?

Not having the proper shoes didn’t stop me
I did a shoe swap with my 8 year old

You see, heights give me wobbly knees
and I occasionally need help to pull the tab of my soda can

To scale a 12m tall wall with pure arms and finger strength I obviously wasn’t thinking
It was only after the gears were strapped and the harnesses were tightened that I realised what I had gotten myself into

I was ushered to the front of the wall and I had to emphasize to the instructor that it was my virgin climb
I stopped short at telling him that I am a year short of turning 40, have a bad knee, very weak arms, not that nimble, certainly not as agile as that little boy on the adjacent wall …

The next few minutes was a daze
The cheers from my boys were drowned
The only voice I could hear was that of the instructor telling me which feet to move, which rock to step, which hand to stretch and which stone to grab
I was already huffing and puffing less than half way up the wall and looking down doesn’t help in regulating my breathe

I realized the best way to shut off the height was to focus on my next move
The trick is to keep on climbing and don’t look down

Judging from the number of pictures my husband took, he obviously had a lot of fun watching me scare myself

He had pictures of me

figuring out my next move

exerting every bit of muscle I have

hanging on for dear life

The struggle went on for about 10 minutes before I finally reached the top and was lowered safely onto the ground

My hands were shaking, my arms aching, my knees hurting
My heart was racing and I felt a little intoxicated
I was totally drained

Just 10 minutes and I had exhausted every ounce of strength and energy in me
Yet, I felt totally alive

So this, is what I have been missing out