So…right. I seem to do my training hikes in the conditions least like the trail I am going to hike afterwards. Such as hiking in Central Asia and Nepal before hiking the Appalachian Trail. That’s called cross-training, right?
On Monday couple of the boys and I tackled the Cross Island Track in Rarotonga (Cook Islands). Because the best way to train for crossing a country in 5 months, is to cross a country in 4 hours. Super awesome hike with a nice little rope/scramble up to “The Needle” with amazing views. The waterfall at the end was out of water though which was a super bummer. However, we did get to take a little dip in the ocean at the other side of the island, the water was transparent and just perfect temperature. Then we almost immediately got a hitch back to the boat in the cab of a cement truck. Why have I not had adventures like these more often? Mostly people on the ship don’t like to do stuff like this (two of the guys were newer).
After a day in between we took another hike (minus the guy from South Africa, because Holland America are jerks and wouldn’t go to the hassle of applying for a visa, which they wouldn’t even pay for, for people from ZA like they have on other ships, so they could get off in French Polynesia). This time it was Les Trois Cascades to make up for the missed waterfall on Rarotonga. Typical tourist-French-Euro BS, “You can’t possibly get there on your own, you need a guide”…”There’s no way you can find it by yourselves” etc. It took forever for us to get a hitch out of the main town of Uturoa, and we ended up roadwalking most of the 7 km to the start of the trail. Two ladies picked us up with a km or so to go and they were super nice! Also, they let us know that apparently we just missed the Obamas (and perhaps other people like Oprah, Bruce Springsteen, and That Guy Who Owns Oracle) in the marina. Hob-nobbing with ex-presidents…that’s how we roll, people.
Anyway almost immediately upon finding the trail we acquired two super friendly dog guides, who led us on the way and also protected us from some other dogs belonging to another farm we passed. There WERE a couple stream crossings, but nothing gnarly, certainly not in a warm “dry” (it was humid as a hammam) environment, and the trail to the waterfalls was easy enough to follow. One of the guys who luuuuuves taking pics of everyone, especially himself (cue Carly Simon) actually got some cool shots of me, which I’m thankful for as I am only remotely photogenic when in an action shot I don’t know about. After taking a swim in the pool at the base of a pretty epic waterfall, we found out there were some type of crawdiddies in there. And eels. Sorta hangry-looking eels. Who tried to jump out of the water. I got eaten up by mosquitos and continued to be envious of the skinny guy from Belarus who managed to be unscathed yet again. Anyway, all in all another really great day.
Unfortunately the guys didn’t want to hike again in Bora Bora (at least on day one), then there was drama later on with someone’s purse getting stolen from a five star resort, but I did make friends with two lovely ladies who were just a breath of fresh air for me. Talking about careers as musicians, and politics, and travel, and life in your 30s-40s, and making strange noises, and shite. I was pretty tired though and also revved up from another colleague who almost got fired that day, so I just took a lie-in and read old posts from blogs I’ve downloaded. Which meant by the time I got around to it, it was too late to hike on Bora Bora before going to work. Well, hopefully some more hikes await on the next few islands – I’ve off on Moorea, Rangiroa, and Nuka Hiva. The end is near and getting off this boat will really make the reality of thru hiking in less than a month more real.