I got out to stretch my legs at the Summit Café – 555 m to the top of the Rimutakas, the sign said – I thought they meant a brief walk behind the café to a viewing area. Not so. As the path meandered on, I realized I had got onto some kind of walkway stretching right along the range. And so turned back.
On the way back to the parking lot, I started to think about what I’d do if my car was gone when I got there. ‘Learning how to get lost’ – that was what Michael had talked about that afternoon, over a glass of shiraz at lunch. Reading the maps, then forgetting them and walking round on instinct.
My money, my clothes were all in the car – luggage, books, i.d. cards. I had no friends nearby to call – no friends with cars, at any rate – Perhaps I’d hitchhike on – stop at the next town, try and get a job, disappear: identity, antecedents all erased. One more wanderer among the millions on the endless leagues of Middle Earth.