With the Takaka Valley behind and below, you climb many hours through bracken and beech forest, where Keas rule and only the boldest trampers go.
Perhaps you passed him on a steep bit.. or caught a glimpse of plaid,in distant silhouette on the sky line when pausing to look back. For I feel that Godfrey’s joyous spirit, roams free high on The Heaphy Track.
For all the lovely places Godfrey tramped, the Heaphy is where he wished to soul to rest. Not as stunning in grandeur as some trails, but once you get up there it’s no turning back. Godfrey faced his fear of high, wobbly places, cable swing bridges cross the big rivers on the Heaphy Track.
And he slept beneath the stars on the cold Gouland Downs, moonlight allowed him to write, late into the night. He wrote me,” I am muddy to the knees, on this my day three on the track. I have tripped over roots, wrung the water from my boots, very large sand flies are feasting on me. But this evening sky so clear I could see the distant Tasman, the sea another two days hike down from here.
“And I think, old friend, part of me wishes this track never come to an end. Godfrey rarely took photos of himself, but I keep one he sent me private, not on shrine or shelf. There is the river high in flood, Godfrey standing in the mud, looking up with his backpack at a bridge. He is holding his reward for being brave when he crossed, a chocolate bar.
For he has crossed his last swing bridge, high and far. His last bridge crossed ,Godfrey stands in the mud, takes a photo of himself lost in thought.
Many stories Worzel has gathered, many more we are sure will one day be told. But I’ll not forget the feeling when I looked at this photo, and realized Godfrey and I were growing old..
.From Perry Saddle Hut, there are many lovely miles still to go. Keep mindful of the ankle grabbing muddy roots, look for the old pairs of boots nailed to the tree. On the mystic Gouland Downs at night, or camped where the river, forms a lagoon by the sea. If you stop deep in thought or just for chocolate neath a swing bridge, you may just meet up with Godfrey..