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Adelaide Museum (Aboroginal Man)During much of my time in OZ I’ve felt a draw towards the dessert and although the hike didn’t completely go through I still managed to head out to the most previous spiritual land for the aboriginal people of this country Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Previous to my departure I spent many nights infront of a nice fire at the hostel I was at having a yarn (chat) with touristy people about the politics of climbing Uluru. I knew that this was pretty sacred land for them and they ask that people respect that and I tried (and convinced several) to not go through with the climb.

Kings CanyonWhile on my tour I experienced some really amazing scenery. I can’t begin to describe it nor can I post pictures because the indigenous people of this country ask that we don’t. When we arrived at Uluru I felt an amazing feeling come over me (even though things were rushed with the tour that I booked I still felt a connection there). Our tour guide gave some pretty good stories about the history of these people and why this place is special, sacred, and unique to them.

I think one of the most precious quotes that I read in the booklet they give you upon arriving at the park was along the lines of the following (sorry I have to paraphrase because it’s packed in my overstuffed bag that I’m hitchin to Perth with tomorrow).

So many people come to this land to climb Uluru. But they should look at the rock, look inside, and see that there is more there than just something to climb.

While walking around Uluru I sat down for about 20 minutes and looked inside the the walls of this spiritual place only to find myself looking inside myself. Looking at the aboriginal people. Understanding that something as sacred as this should be respected.

But then why don’t they just stop people from climbing it then? Well after petition the United Nations to get Australia to hand over the native title to this land they were finally granted the land that they should have owned in the first place. The catch is that the UN put a stipulation that the aboriginal people in the nation around Uluru had to lease the land back to Australia for another 99 years. So effectively they don’t really have much say other than to “encourage” and “beg” people to respect them.

It’s a sad state really. But frankly I’m kinda happy I walked around the base because I saw more than most. I saw what the aboriginal people wanted me to see and experience. Along the path I found some pretty special things with regards to the direction my life is taking. I found some truth and feel good about follow my heart in trying to figure out what’s next on this journey in life for me. On a side note one guy on our tour climbed to the top only to feel like crap later for doing so. I felt bad for him as I’m sure he doesn’t want to carry that around for the rest of his life (then again maybe he can use that to his advantage heh).

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The crewSo after leaving my beautiful friends in Townsville I headed to Alice Springs on a 26 hour bus ride into the dessert. The country out here is so amazing and can you believe it there is a really old mountain range out in the dessert that people can hike. I was to meet my friend Angela and her friend Soph on the hike on June 20th, but upon arriving I couldn’t find them anywhere. After reading the log book (where you write down your route) I realized that they had left a day earlier. Oh shit! I decided that I’d do the 30 KM to the next water source to see if I couldn’t catch them (they had already been on the Larapinta Trail for 1 week).

Ghost gumThere is something about hiking in the dessert that is beautiful, challenging, and pretty spectacular. Not to mention the fact that I’m out there experiencing mountain ranges that are so old, so worn down, and so different from the young Rocky Mountains. I love that history out here .. the history that Australia gives through it’s scenery.

I jetted off at 11 AM on an estimated 10 hour hike and arrived pretty late in the evening with a bit of a sore leg. I think I evidentially did a disservice to my leg during the hike by hiking 30 KM (oh Shano when will you learn). Regardless, in the pitch black as I was nearing the campsite I could see a huge fire and they could see my head torch. I arrived at the fire and said hello and sat down to take a break. Suddenly I heard a “Shane! Is that you!” only to realize that Angela had arrived with Soph at that location that very day! Yipee!

Sacred Chasm

Unfortunately, for me that is, my leg problems only seemed to get worse and after climbing into a chasm with the two of them the next day we all realized it wasn’t smart for me to continue the hike for the remaining time (mostly because the following three days were meant to be for experienced hikers and are pretty hardcore). So that night we slept in the chasm having a huge feast of lental dahl, rice, and quinoa together.

The following day I got up and took the 4WD track to meet them at the next destination which was Birthday watering hole (thankfully the road was quite flat for the most part. After hanging out there for a while in the sun, writing letters, watching butterflies, and all the rest Soph and Angela arrived. Just before we had decided to make dinner a German man arrived and was driving his 4WD back into Alice so I snagged a ride from him back to the hostel. Twas sad to leave them but honestly was the smartest thing I probably could have done.

The track was filled with worn down mountain side which formed the most amazing looking shapes. It’s interesting from a natural development perspective of earth how things change and develop. How an old mountain range like this one can really become so worn down through time and yet still look so freakin amazing! The chasm that I went into (left) during the tour that I had to take to get to the start of the hike was completely smooth (like granite smooth) and I felt a strong sense of energy there. I pretty much wanted to sit in there for a good two hours but we had to go so I was happy I got to visit it at least once.

I was also happy enough to see some dingos, one snake (apparently when you see them in the winter they are super aggressive and it ran right past Angela — oh shit), beautiful butterflies (one quite large one that kept trying to land on my water bottle because it must have smelt some sugar I had on it), chasms, gorges, and beautiful birds. Wow… I can see why the aboriginals feel that this land is sacred and special. I do too. Oh and let’s not forget the methods to keep yourself warm during freezing cold nights (just like the rockies) with me in my new tent (yeah) and beautiful sunrise and sunsets. I’m still in awe!

Sending out love to those working through things, those finding themselves, those feeling love, and those that I haven’t talked to in a while. Don’t worry I still think about you!

Love

Shane

Pictures below coming later ..

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My bedThe last few days have been spent at a beautiful permaculture backpackers called the Treehouse. There is a reason that this place has a history of being the best backpackers hostel in all of New Zealand and I think it makes plenty of sense. When you arrive the entire hostel is covered in native forest that has been regenerated from 20 years of permaculture work by the beautiful couple that owns this hostel and land. Essentially, when they first arrived it was old sheep grazing land with a few old natives trees around the land. As they tell their humble story to me about reclaiming the land by letting things grow more wild within the grazing land I look around and find myself taking a deep breath of fresh air. Permaculture is the way to go for sustainable food production folks. I know that now and I know that this is where i’m headed in my life. Full stop. It’s impressive to be here in a place that has turned a cleared native forest from a sheep feeding acreage back into a native forest again.

AND they have planted many native and non-native fruit / nut varieties throughout the forest (permaculture concept to have food placed throughout a forest). Some of the fruit I’ve noticed is gala apples, lime, macaroon nuts (oh yeah baby), pears, bananas, guava, grapes everywhere! I decided this might be a cool place to woof at (and save some cash) and have been spending today removing a dock from a swamp they have near one of the little huts you can sleep in. They put me up in a house bus for the time that I’m staying here which is pretty freakin’ rad cause I have a space to myself finally (no more snoring or people doing other things in the bed below me — ugg — ask me about that story later). But if you ever have the chance PLEASE come here and spend some time. This place is freakin magical and so are the people who own it.

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Ahh Rimu

So today marked the last day of the Heaphy Track for me. It’s pretty hard to describe the entire experience in one post but regardless I think that I can slam in a few highlights for peeps to read.

On the first day of the hike I was going up some pretty steep rock pathways and managed to mangle my leg. (read: it really hurts to bend my knee). Now this wasn’t discovered until I rocked into the first hut called Perry Saddle Hut. At the time I had thought that my injury wasn’t as bad as it later appeared to be. I ended up hiking the remainder of the trek (hiking = tramping here in NZ) which was approximately 60 KM through some crazy terrain with my leg. The last day although an amazing experience was probably the hardest for me.
Saxon Hut to myself

Regardless, the amazing scenery was something of a treat for me to take in. All the vegetation, environment, animals and air seemed to change so many times I could hardly keep track. On the second night I spent it sleeping completely on my own in the Saxon hut. I was surrounded by mountains on both sides of me, a kitchen overlooking the mountains, and a relaxing vibe (pic on the left). I woke up at about 5:30 AM in the morning cause I had to use the facilities and upon looking around all the landscape was covered lightly in a beautiful fog, the full moon was bright and in the horizon the sun was rising. I stood there for a little while and took it all in and then headed back to bed for a bit more rest before jetting off.

The day that I hiked to the Heaphy Hut (9 hour hike) was the most special to me. At the end I came across Remu trees (picture above) that were the widest tree I’ve ever seen in my life. I spent a bit of time (until the sandflies tried to carry me off to their layer for an early dinner) standing near one just being in it’s presents thinking about how long it had been there, how many peeps had passed it, and what cool stories it would have to tell if it could talk (no I wasn’t on anything). Read the rest of this entry »

[Hope everyone is enjoying their holidays with some good laughs, friends, family, and plenty of good vibes — oh and don’t forget laughter … essential if you ask me] After returning from the bike tour I decided I was going to head into the bush for a four day hike on the back end of the Overland Track. The bush-walking (read: hike into the bush/forest) I decided to do was about four days into Pine Valley on the tail end of the Overland Track (a popular track that lots of people do that takes 7 days and heads a long distance from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Clair where I started).

This adventure proved to be a pretty intense experience for me for lots of reasons. Most of those you’ll see at the bottom in my summary. I kinda wanted to be a bit creative so I apologize for those peeps that have slow connections cause this one is going to be a bit of a picture based story book. Wheee.

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