Here, you will find a chronicle of our adventures. These trips are the reason we make the products we make, to allow us and you to push ourselves to even greater achievements. Please note that the stories found here depict our endeavors as they happened and without much polish to the rough edges.
Grab a sunset baby!
The riverbed flattened out. I was moving more rapidly as I no longer had to navigate through the steep gorge the river had been flowing through earlier. I spotted a small waterfall to my right and stopped to fill my water bottle. As I gazed up on a small clearing formed in front of the waterfall, I felt the heat of sunlight on my face and kept pushing on with fresh enthusiasm. I was so close. Close to Long Sound and the happy easy paddling kilometers it would give me. And the promise of unobstructed sunshine of its shores raised my spirits even higher. Oh how was I yearning for that!
It had been two weeks of near constant rain and even the rare rainless moments were overcast and I was wet to my bones. Soon that would be over. I glimpsed more and more sunlight coming through the trees ahead and all of a sudden, the endless mass of jungle stopped rolling in and I rested my eyes on glassy blue sound, even bluer sky and a nice warm rocky beach. I was content.
I camped on the beach and although it was infested with sandflies I was at least able to get some of my things dry. The next morning I was eager to get paddling on the sound feeling optimistic for the first time since I had left the South-Coast. The feeling of lightness and easiness you get when you inflate your packraft, hop in, and know that for the next day you're going to feel no pressure on your shoulders or chafing on your hips is second to none. The joy of joys!
By the end of the day I had reached tip of long sound and hiked well into the bush growing at sides of Long Burn. After couple of days of hiking through the jungle I was feeling the same annoyance with my surroundings I had felt during the first two weeks of my journey. The sides of the valley I was walking in got progressively steeper and steeper. In the end I was unable to follow the river upstream as the banks turned into vertical cliffs but instead had to seek easier ground higher on the mountainside. Just as things were getting past desperate, everything changed. I got lost.
As I had to climb higher in order to be able to move in any direction at all, I lost visual contact to the river which led me to accidentally starting to follow one of its tributaries instead of the main path. As I was high on the mountain and the bush growing all around me limited visibility to a few meters, I even managed to cross a small saddle to a different valley than I had intended to follow. When I emerged above tree line and saw a lake a few hundred meters away you can imagine my feelings as I knew perfectly well there wasn't supposed to be one there.
As I sat there on an alpine meadow pondering over my location, a curios thought crossed my mind. This was easy! Although the terrain was steep, it wasn't that much steeper than down at the valley. And there were no trees! I felt I was moving at such pace that should a park ranger have spotted me I would have received a speeding ticket. After climbing to a couple local high points I did manage to catch my bearings and spot myself on the map. I was some 5km away from my intended route but those 5 km completely changed the rest of my trip.
Since I had now experienced the joys of traveling above tree line, I wasn't going to go back to bashing trough the green hell waiting for me down in the valley. I picked up my pack and started climbing even higher. From now on, I would be following mountain ridges and instead of trying to avoid any large hills I was seeking them. This new concept felt very counter intuitive to me but it worked. I was enjoying magnificent views all the time, sure I was exposed to the wind but I also got to enjoy the sun and managed to stay mostly dry! As I set up my first camp on a bare mountainside and sat on my overturned packraft watching the stunning sunset, I felt completely overwhelmed by the raw beauty of the place.
As I traveled further north and moved higher from the moss covered slopes to bare raw rocky slopes and snow fields of higher peaks things only got better. After weeks of walking, I was tired but also happy. I was finally covering some ground and more importantly experiencing new exciting stuff all the time. My hiking got interesting again. Even though it was becoming evident that I wouldn't make it to my original destination I was enjoying myself to the fullest and what a refreshing change that was!