Te Araroa: It's a small hiker trashy world

February 13, 2015

At a hostel in Invercargill, the southernmost city of New Zealand, the city Mick Jagger called “the asshole of the world;” I watch buses puke bored twenty-somethings onto the sidewalk.

When I was your age…I would have dragged one of them to the karaoke bar. He would hold a glass of whiskey and butcher some song by Huey Lewis and the News. No that’s what I would do. That’s what I did. I genuinely loved karaoke bars. I loved the guy who sat alone waiting his turn in a dark corner of the bar, sing Space Oddity in a monotone, and then just leave the bar. Or the guy who dressed like Meatloaf and performed Bat out of Hell multiple times a week in honor of his deceased wife.

I’m flipping through my phone when I hear someone sit down across from me. It’s Bert! Bert from Belgium. “Running Bird.” The last time I saw Bert was on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2009 at Georgie Heitman’s place in Old Station, California. That year he started at the southern terminus of the PCT in June. So, I was sitting across from a nut job.

10409700_10101225044862330_2330691755097412284_nNot like a nut job you find in a prison cell, but an endurance nut job. This guy has hiked all over the world and no one knows about him! But how could you? He doesn’t have a blog, Instagram, or Twitter, and his facebook profile is way too modest..his profile picture is an image of John Muir!

We talk about hiker trashy things like the state of the Pacific Crest Trail and other trampers we’ve met along the Te Araroa and other good hikes in New Zealand, because Bert has hiked here a lot.

It feels good to be around someone who understands…finally…a day before the end.

The guy at the front desk says he put me in a room with three Green Peace guys. Oh good, maybe I’ll get some sleep.

3 thoughts on “Te Araroa: It's a small hiker trashy world

  1. If you have a chance and the money – go to Stewart Island and tramp around the north end – or at least out to Mason Bay. A favorite place. And the best fish and chips I ever had were from a little trailer joint in Oban. Blue Cod.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s