After only two days of work we had two days off. I took advantage of this to explore the Richmond Range, just an hour east of Blenheim. I followed road signs to Mt Sunday along the logging roads, twisting and turning along the gravel. The carpark was empty, which was a good sign since the bivvy only had two mattresses with a first come, first serve basis. The ascent was immediate with no switchbacks to soften the 1310 m to the top. Actually there wasn’t a trail – only orange solid triangles tacked to trees about every 50 meters guiding the way. I soon began a confusing love-hate relationship with those tiny pieces of plastic.
Feelings of loss and abandonment would arise if I couldn’t spot the next triangle or complete exhaust when three bright orange spots directing UP were visible. This was especially draining because it was about 29 degrees and very humid because the rain was a-coming. I was sweating and realized the aggravating life my mom lives with asthma. Breathing became something to think about. But the first 360 views from the top were incredible. It was about five hours to the bivvy in which I exclaimed aloud, “Cute!” when I first laid eyes on it. And it was cute! This was a true backcountry hut – candle and all. I took nude pictures to revel in my aloneness.
That evening I used my MSR WhisperLite Stove for the first time to cook my canned Watty’s Spaghetti and Kiwi Sausage and nearly started a forest fire. I should’ve brought the English instructions instead of the Chinese, French and German instructions that I did bring instead. The canned spaghetti was not great and not filling. But the sunset was picturesque and with the Earth closing her eyes on the mountains, I fell asleep listening to This American Life huddled in my sleeping bag munching on mixed nuts.
I awoke to a dead phone, cause of death unknown since it had 50 percent battery, and a cloud covered mountain. Where the view was once endless was now a sea of white. After a breakfast of mostly cooked oats with peanut butter, nuts and dates I started the trek down. I began singing aloud Tracy Chapman’s, “Gimmie One Reason” after seeing a goat ahead of me. I wasn’t sure if it was wild or not, because my last encounter with a goat was during the Enchantments trip and that was terrifying. He heard me and bolted away. The hike down was quick, but hard on the knees and thighs. There were also some cliffs that looked like the end of the Earth with the low hanging clouds. Only two hours later I made it to Jack, soaked to the bone but happy to be home.