The more apparent purpose of any journey is often to seek answers to questions, particularly questions that cannot be answered from within the confines of a life beset by routines, distractions, and expectations. Once the body and mind are released by the pilgrimage, those questions can be answered.
In the wake of 10 days riding and 5 days trekking, I had been reinvigorated in body and mind, discarding former routines and distractions and renewing my fealty to process over expectations, over outcome. Although a part of me had already known the answers to these questions prior to the journey, a true awareness of any answer can never emerge until the knowing is accompanied by the doing. Deep down, a person may know they need to make a certain change in life, but until they take the time to devote a part of their life to doing so, the knowledge alone means nothing.
Beyond even this, any questions that arise in a person's mind prior to the onset of a quest are limited to the mindset they possessed before said quest began, the same mind that was preoccupied and clouded by burdensome questions that prevented it from roaming to more distant and recondite shores, and it is only once those questions have been cleared out that the less apparent purpose of the journey can emerge. By its very nature, this less apparent purpose lies dormant and concealed. It cannot be anticipated, sought, or forced - it must grow of its own accord. Yet if this can happen, one can discover the answers to questions that were never even asked, but needed to be, which reinvigorates the spirit.
And so I wondered...what would resurge?
Departing Glenorchy, I saw an endless horizon, and soared towards it. I was transitorily accompanied by an enraged maelstrom that threatened to swell over the brims of the surrounding massifs - the very same ones that I had just frequented - but it fell far behind as I circumvented the borders of Lake Wakatipu, and as the rock and water succumbed to more expansive terrain, the celestial mistral propelled me onwards, as it everlastingly does so long as I stay resolved to hearken its call. During the course of my swift glissade to the hallowed canticles of that perennial whirlwind I remained focused on the road ahead, galloping with the clouds, riding for the ride, no longer dashing towards the spurious veneer contrived by a vaticinatory causatum. I was clocking up the distance now, but it's not about how far you travel - it's about what road you're on.
Galloping with the clouds.
The wistful shores of Lake Te Anau.
A forgotten world, lost to time.
Nomadic streams trickle down azure cliffs.
Alpine snows gaze upwards at the sky.
Pristine cascades vanish into the ground.
Last coffee and cream at The Olive Tree Cafe.
My time in Te Anau came to a close and I rode further south, towards the coast. The clouds remained stalwart in their companionship, but the land itself was relatively barren, virtually devoid of human activity aside from a series of lonesome fields peppered with grass, bush, and the occasional piece of fallen timber. I thoroughly enjoyed the secluded landscape - after a certain point, I find that human interaction becomes exhausting, whereas even the most barren aspects of nature rejuvenate me.
Still flying with the clouds.
A lonesome field.
Endless prospects at McCracken's Rest.
Entering The Catlins.
Crescent sands below Florence Hill Lookout.
Dunedin at dusk.
Into The Heart
My stay in Dunedin ended and I rode inland, towards Aoraki, the great mountain that lies near the center of the South Island. The morning challenged me with an array of twists and turns, but as I nimbly swerved around the tight corners I saw that I was taking them more swiftly than before. Maybe the corners were becoming easier, or maybe my riding had improved - it was hard to tell.
Heading inland over a dessicant landscape.
Aoraki declares itself.
Crossing over to the lands of Aoraki.
The streams glow in the umbrage of the mountains.
Aoraki casts a shadow over Hooker Lake.
A contentious kea squawks its displeasure at my leaving.
The moon beckons me back.
Return to The North
Morning eventuated, and I hastened over to Twizel for a generous breakfast. I was losing sense of time, and mixing up my one-meal-a-day time and sleeping patterns in my ongoing efforts to erode any semblance of routine. While awaiting my order in a restaurant, I bumped into the fellows I had met at Aoraki the night before, Ricky and Arif from New Zealand, and we spoke affably for a while.
Golden plains outside Christchurch.
Where sierra, woodlands, and prairie collide.
An evening ride into Arthur's Pass.
Forlorn apogees cast shadows over the lands below.
Bridge over a dried-up river-bed.
The middle of Arthur's Pass.
Steak and eggs at the Otira Stage Coach Hotel.
Final reminder at the hotel.
Farewell to Arthur's Pass.
I left Arthur's Pass, and from that moment on, I do not wholly recollect what happened. I ride for form, not speed, but at that moment I was in flight, no longer myself, simply the rider, transitioning through foliate valleys laden with rugged farmland and verdant forests, immersed deeply within the quickening of the moment.
An empty start for Maruia Springs in the new year.
The Waiau River sparkles in the sunlight.
Bluffs fall into the ocean.
Waves surge against the shores of Kaikouri.
Nothing can stop us now.