After my night out with the boys for New Years I was emotionally refreshed…if a little bit hungover. My original plan called for me to ride 70 miles up a massive mountain to go see Castle Rocks. Instead I opted to avoid another massive day into 20 mph headwinds and rented a car. The day that followed was more than I had hoped for; it was a culmination of the first half of this epic journey.
In the western world we seem to spend a great deal of time “plugged in.” We are on our computers for work, checking facebook, on our phones, and even just listening to music or the radio everywhere we go. Unplugging gives you a chance to connect with your body and your mind. Meditation has been a great tool for me in my life. Riding your bicycle for hours upon hours as your legs turn over rhythmically is the greatest form of meditation I know. On trips such as this, cycling for hours upon hours, legs rhythmically tap-tap-tapping out the miles, you have go places that our distracted lives don’t often let us. The things you think about tend to be the things that really matter. Family, goals and aspirations, what you want to spend your short time on earth doing. Places such as Castle Rocks remind you how small you are; how beautiful and awesome the world around us is. It reminds you how little the minor irritations of life matter and how much more there is to see in the world.
Castle Rocks is a formation in the “Alps” of New Zealand’s south island. Seemingly out of nowhere, huge boulders sprout out of the landscape. From the road, they look almost fake. I couldn’t contain my excitement. Despite how tired I was, I decided to trail run around the area. Then of course I found the biggest thing that I thought I could boulder, and got on top.
I ate my lunch (this of course included a whole bunch of kiwis, I think I could live on them) near the highest point of the formation. Laying out in the sun, watching the clouds go by and listening to the wind, I felt completely at peace. After the turmoil and difficult of the first half of the trip, the stillness and tranquility of Castle Rocks was invigorating. It left me feeling a bit poetic and I will leave you with something I penned after meditating at the top.
Wild flowers perched Upon the mountain's grace. Roots seeking purchase in his Ancient weathered face. Cracking open smiles for visitors alike To taste the sweetness of the air blown over stony race. On tip of mossy tongue The flavors do delight. With wind, with dew, with sun, Dancing in the light. The mountain heaves a forlorn sigh For only he can feel. That with each smile cracked he fades Broken by the flower child who he himself has raised.