“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence”
– Max Ehrmann, Desiderata
Stewart Island is a beautiful place to find solitude and quiet. There are only 30,000 visitors annually to the island and not are all walkers, so even though Rakiura is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, you can spend all day in the muggy and muddy rainforest and not see a soul during your travels. That is, until you reach the hut.
Enter the bunk room:
French’s answer to Baer Grils comes in the form of Lawrence, who continuously taps my arm and devours my espresso coffee whilst informing me of his previous days adventure being lost in the bush for 12 hours and spending the night holding onto the inside of his torn tent so as not to get blown off the tundra tops; the Dutchman with the Cheshire smile wants to know everything about everyone then whitens his face with sunscreen as he headed off into the rain; the two tardy smiling Koreans for whom the Dutchman goes off looking for; the Swiss couple who spend the majority of their hut time making moaning noises from their bunk bed; the two creepy theoretical particle physicists from Germany whom I have an unsettling experience of running into in the dark whilst out looking for Kiwi; there is also the young, moody and relationship conflicted English couple; the introverted Kazakstan family of three who kept to themselves; the rowdy card and hide-and-seek playing extended kiwi family of 11; the other pained and dysfunctional kiwi family whose teenage boys sleep ignoring their parents whilst the father sits pained and breathing heavily on the end of his bunk bed staring into space, the mother barks orders, is ignored, then settles to marvel at the longevity of the gas in their gas canister; and lastly the idiot who left the bunk-room window open for the 10,000 sandflies, and me – how cozy!
Tomorrow, I look forward to Taking Max Ehrmann’s advice and finding some peace in the silence of the wet and humid Stewart Island rainforest