|Posted by Tara Mulvany on September 19, 2014 at 4:45 AM|
The sky is dark, the mountains are covered in snow, and I am back in this beautiful land, ready for summer to arrive. It's been a while since I have worked, and I'm excited to be back in the game, guiding in Fiordland. It's good to be home, and it's even better to have a home.. my first home in two and a half years.
This year has been one filled with challenges, storms and sunshine, new places, people and experiences. In the 25 years that I have been on this planet, this is the first year where I can remember exactly where I was for each full moon. When you're living outside, you notice these things. During my 5 months of kayaking around Stewart Island, and then the North Island, it was always a special moment to watch the moon rise over the mountains, or the edge of the ocean, and know just how far I had come, or paddled, since the last time it was full. This year has not only strengthened my desire to embark on greater adventures, but it has made me realise how much I can develop as a paddler. I still have a lot to learn.
I feel privileged to have spent the past couple of months paddling and traveling with Jaime. It's been awesome to be able to paddle with someone who constantly challenges me, and inspires me to become a better paddler -(even if he does call me slow). I had barely been in Canada for a week and Jaime convinced me to jump back in a whitewater boat and I found myself dropping waterfalls and running massive rock slides, barely in control, and squealing like an idiot as I approached each horizon line. We paddled whitewater in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California, and I had A LOT of fun doing it. In California we did an overnight trip on the Tuolomine River - my first ever overnight whitewater trip. We paddled all day, then slept that night on a stony beach, only a metre from the river, the sky shimmering with a million stars above. It is one of those special memories that will stay with me.
Jaime taught me to paddle a K1 racing kayak (even if he never explained that it had a rudder..), which has been a real eye opener for me - paddle one of these and it turns flat water into a grade 4 river. To add to my list of 'first times' in a boat, I paddled a surf ski for the first time, and had so much fun that I forgot to attach my leg leash! Lucky that Jaime had my back, oh no, that's right, he was having so much fun himself that he left me behind! I have a feeling it won't be the last time that I paddle a surf ski.
Now that I'm home, I'm ready for the summer to arrive. I'm ready for an income, and a routine. A chance to paddle, to write, and to plan for the next big adventure. I'm glad I took a risk and followed my instincts and went to Canada. It was the best thing I could have done, and I feel like this winter has just opened up a whole lot of new opportunities that I never knew existed.
As well as having guided a couple of kayaking trips already, two days ago I spoke to a bunch of Harcourts people in Christchurch, sharing with them a few tales of my NZ circumnavigation. It was a little hilarious when I turned up and realised that perhaps I should have worn shoes.. I felt just a little underdressed in jeans and jandals! But surely they must have expected it, inviting a hobo kayaker to come and talk. Other than that, nothing else is news, apart from that my book is not far away! So that will most probably be my next blog post. Until then, I will enjoy the wind and rain in the most beautiful place in the world