With all this holiday time to spare I have found much more time to play computer games. Yesterday I tried one called Nelson, it’s a real-time first person adventure game, with stunning design and graphics.
My first quest was purely exploratory, estimated time 3 hours. I have taken some screen shots to better narrate my journey to you.
I left base around 11:30am with my pack full of supplies. After a brief detour I headed to the starting point of my journey. There are paths cobwebbing the bush surrounding base and I was to explore and map these for future reference.
My guide had told me that if I followed the path, and not be distracted by its tributaries, I would cross a bridge that would take me up the neighbouring mountain, then back down the other side through a reserve.
The entrance was barely visible until I stood right in front of it.
My vision took a little while to adjust once on the path as the thick, low scrub cut out a lot of sunlight. I was on a steep slope that cut away to my left down to a stream that I could hear but not see. Although the slope was dangerous I would not fall far if I slipped due to the dense scrub that shut me in.
Most of the bush consisted of a spindly tree about half a meter taller than myself.
I took the time to observe other flora, the high rainfall and well protected forest floor provided the perfect cover for many kinds of fungi, many that reminded me of dinner sets from my childhood.
Once I had travelled further from the road the atmosphere began to change, becoming more of a sunny rainforest, identified by a change in plants. The path I followed was a steady incline, thankfully rocky outcrops provided safe climbing at times opposed to the slippery mud that showed that the path was little used.
Little used as the path was there were obviously those who cared for it. I was unsure whether this was the bridge I had been told about or not. But from this point there was only one path I could follow.
As it turned out that was not the bridge. I crossed the bridge when another traveller going the opposite way allowed me to cross first. He informed me that I was indeed on the right track and that I did not have much further to go until I reached the peak.
At first I thought I had found some kind of magical well of silver, until I leaned closer and realised that even past midday it was cold enough for frost to thrive.
Finally, a solid reference point. I could now judge my position more accurately.
All of a sudden the path ended, propelling me into a cleared area sparsely populated by houses. I followed a slippery dirt road around the buildings, wary of civilisation. I was offered another view, this one of the large settlement close to my base. I quickly came upon the end of this road and had to make my way between the buildings to reach the main road, constantly aware of any figures that may be stalking me.
When I reached the road I chose to continue going up, hoping for better views.
Although I was in a populated area there were very few signs of life.
I was passing a school when I happened to look into the playground and see my guide doing chin-ups on the monkey bars. Though I was surprised to see him, he did not seem so surprised to see me. He told me to continue following the road, then turn left when it allowed me to.
I again followed his infallible directions and found a map that would guide me through the next leg of my journey.
The path I followed also served as a road for local residents, and while there were a few quieter signs of life, I did not encounter any for the next hour or so.
As the sun had begun its decent for the day this side of the mountain became very dark and cold. This was much more like a tropical rainforest than I was expecting. It was wet and smelt like damp wood, sunlight occasionally piercing the scrub. I could not hear any sounds from the surrounding residents, it was all smothered by the rustling of leaves and wind.
The path led downward, bending back upon itself. After a while I realised that I had become quite hungry. Barely 2 meters off the path I spotted a large rocky outcrop, I beat my way toward it to sit and eat my oranges. It did not offer a view of the valley I was overlooking, but the dense scrub made me feel safe.
Just as I was about to leave I heard the wheezing of a large troll heading in the opposite direction as I had been travelling.
I had no where I could hide, the scrub was too dense to travel anywhere quickly, instead I turned my back, sat still and took ‘artsy’ closeup photos of the surrounding flora.
I don’t know if it was because he didn’t spot me or if he was repelled by my apparent disregard for mainstream art, but the troll did not stop, and for that I was thankful.
This maze of paths were obviously much more used. Much care had been taken to create more convenient travelling.
As I descended further I crossed another stream and found myself walking between two meandering streams. It was very peaceful here and I was glad I had stopped for lunch earlier and had not meet the troll here instead.
I found that the path was heading back uphill. I continued to follow it until it folded back upon itself to head more directly uphill via a set of steps. I checked my map, this path was supposed to continue straight until it reached the road.
If I did a handstand and squinted I could imagine that the path in front of me had become overgrown, perhaps the route had changed over time.
I left the path to go straight, and shocked myself when I came upon this unusual structure.
I could not contain the structure in one screen shot, but it looked as if a slope had been made that lead into a flat area encircling what seemed to be a fire pit. I arrived at it standing below the flat area. This had all been built up with stones tha would have taken a great amount of time and effort, but I could see no definitive purpose for it. Nor who it belonged to.
Above is the slope, too rough to be used to transport anything up or down hill, but too smooth to be used for stairs. Perhaps it was once a tribute to a long dead or forgotten god. An unusual place to build it as I could see the road from it, yet it was not visible from the road. Not well hidden nor out in the open.
I spent the walk home thinking about it, perhaps this would lead to a future quest, I was very curious either way. I took the back roads to return home, passing by the entrance of my adventure and feeling tempted to re-live it, taking a different path this time. But instead I went home to leave that for another day.