I want to preface this rant with the truth. I’m a vegan. So my appreciation for cows is not a strong one. I will try to leave that out of this. As a general observation, environmental politics aside, I’m just rather sure that farmers hate hikers.
In compliment sandwich format, I would like to start by saying something nice about farmers. Truly, it is generous of them to let us pass through their land. The TA organization works hard to get permission and find routes to cut off road walks as much as possible. Not an easy task in primarily private land. We’ve had a few farmers set up camping areas for us, we’ve gotten great hitches with them, we’ve been treated rather well. Gratitude for those people.
Still, the hardest thing we have to do here is farm tracks. They are hot, steep, choppy, covered in poo, and for extra fun, overgrown with thorns, thistles, and gorse (which I would describe as stinging nettles bigger and meaner cousin). When we come to farm tracks, which usually begin with a few big hoists over styles that guide you over barbed wire, I get, winey, and say, “No!” hoping it can change the course of my next couple hours. Alas, it doesn’t work. Turns out the universe doesn’t rearrange for you when you don’t feel like going through something.
The other day we were walking out of the Waitomo Caves area, just leaving a visitor center, and I thought it a good time to call my mom. There would be some road walking for a bit and perhaps we would be in reception for a while. We were speaking for about 3 minutes, when we came over a style, which means pastures. No big deal, we do that all the time. I apologized to my mom for being out of breath, as it tends to be pretty hilly in those areas, but I was happy to talk to her. Bonus, my little sister and her girlfriend were over, so it was great to get to catch up.
We hopped another style into a field with cows standing around in it. We do that often, so I didn’t think much of it. Something didn’t feel right. I was trying to focus on catching up with my family, but the cow in front of us was making some ridiculous noises. I gave a frustrated laugh and asked my mom if she could here the angry bull. It felt like I could hike with her, and show her some of the realities of this journey. She heard alright, and Craig turned around in front of me and gave me a severe look that said, this isn’t funny, as the bull started stomping it’s hooves and nodding it’s head at us. We did a quick retreat and looked for another way through the pasture. As we moved on, we just encountered other bulls with the same general attitude toward us. This time, I was trying to talk to my little sister about her new job. It didn’t work out so well, as much as I wanted to talk, I simply needed both hands for fence hopping in this field of charging bulls. She was on board for that. I got off the phone abruptly, and cursed the cows. We made it toward someone’s driveway and decided to road walk around the pastures. It would add a few kilometres, but it sounded like a great alternative.
Yikes! I really don’t like cows. Especially when I see them dropping their ploppies right into the river. Not cool cow! Not cool.
Compliment sandwich continued, it’s not all cows. There are a lot of critters we’ve really enjoyed walking with and found rather cute and corky. Here are some…..
Never thought I would walk with an ostrich, but this fellow was keen on it. He walked with us all the way to the end of his fence, and then waved goodbye and looked bummed out when we walked beyond it.
Thanks for listening, and thanks, Mom and Mackenzie for putting up with me.