This feature comes with a word of warning, it’s probably best consumed with coffee to keep you alert. Not because it’s boring mind you. Read on to see what I mean.
As regular weekend adventurers we’ve all been there. It’s been a tiring week at work but the weekend weather forecast is magical and we don’t want to miss a chance to get out on an adventure. Especially with the dismal summer we’ve had in New Zealand this year these opportunities must be grabbed with both hands.
The alarm goes off at ridiculous o’clock and for a split second you’re hit with the dread of preparing for another day in the office, before you excitedly remember that, today, you’re going exploring. You jump out of bed, whip on your outdoor outfit and inhale a bowl of muesli. All the gear collected in piles at the door the previous night is thrown in the car before first light.
The sky starts to light up, and the sun peeks over the horizon.
You stumble into the car shortly after with coffee in one hand, spare socks in the other and you’re still brushing sleep from your eyes as you pull away from the curb.
From here you make a beeline for the main road that is your fastest escape route from the concrete jungle. You meet your adventure buddies at the pre-designated time and location, pile all people and gear into one vehicle, then it’s back on the road.
The sky starts to light up, and the sun peeks over the horizon as you reach the trail head. Shoes on, final clothing layer selection, and backpacks re-loaded (mainly with food) and you’re off. The morning air is fresh and crisp as you take those first few stiff steps, working into a rhythm and pace that’s comfortable for everyone, and trot off along the track. You watch as the soft yellow tinge in the colours of the wilderness change into a bright, sharp contrast. The chill in the air is replaced by a soothing heat and you begin to work up a real sweat. Your stomach begins to feel empty but it’s too early for a break yet so you grab a handful of nuts from an easily accessible pocket and take a few sips of water (in case it’s actually thirst disguising itself as hunger) and push on.
Eventually you come across what you’ve all been waiting for – the ideal location for a lunch stop.
Now instead of there being set criteria or rules for the selection of this location, I like to think of them more as guiding principles. These are as follows:
A. There must be a pleasant view so that there is a feast for the eyes as well as the belly.
B. Preferably it’s a cosy nook that’s roomy enough for all members of the party to make themselves comfortable.
C. It must be sheltered from any pesky breeze, yet still open enough to let the heat of the sun find you.
(Disclaimer: Principle C applies to New Zealand conditions only, and might not be appropriate for more tropical climates where all you will want is shade.)
A feast for the eyes as well as the belly.
Even before you are all settled in, out comes the smorgasbord of treats. For starters there’s nuts, dried fruit, smoked salmon with brie on crackers. For the main course the options might include salami and hummus sandwiches, dinner leftovers, or creamed rice. A treat to finish could be dark chocolate, a Snickers bar, and liquorice allsorts. All of the above may be accompanied by one of my personal favourites – bacon.
Once sufficiently fed and watered with that happy feeling of full in your belly, you lean back and relax. Your eyelids become heavy. As you close your eyes you become more in tune with your surroundings. You feel the wisps of air brushing past your skin. You can hear the brief lifts of breeze as they whip through the vegetation. You notice the calls of the different birds, as though you are eavesdropping on one of nature’s conversations. You allow yourself to completely relax.
You lean back and allow yourself to completely relax.
Muscles you didn’t know were tense, or even existed, are released as you give yourself up to the arms of the earth. Occasionally a task from your incomplete to do list flicks into your mind. But it disappears just as fast as it arrived, that world is light years away in these moments. The conversation trickles into nothing, and before long you succumb to the overwhelming drowsiness and fall into a peaceful day-dream.
It’s in dream land where you circle the wild, rugged mountain peaks.
Drifting in and out of consciousness, the lines blur between reality and fantasy. But it’s in dream land where you fly on a magic carpet of snow tussock … hover over bubbling streams … float up steep hillsides covered in lush beech forest … and circle the wild, rugged mountain peaks. Until you are rudely awoken by the sound of a camera click as you are snapped with your mouth wide open and drool slipping down your chin.
This, my friends, is the art of the adventure nap.
Hilarity ensues and then there’s the general hubbub of rousing the troops, gathering all your belongings, and getting on your way again. Stumbling along and drowsy at first, but at the same time feeling refreshed and invigorated and ready to tackle the next challenge.
If you’re an energiser bunny and never take the time to stop, be sure to schedule some adventure nap time into your next outing. I often factor an adventure nap into my travel time as it’s a great opportunity to connect with mother nature and catch up on some extra Z’s.