Before the deed comes the thought. Before the achievement comes the dream. Every mountain we climb, we first climb in our mind.
– Royal Robbins

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Day 23, Wenderholm to Stillwater, 30 km
Cold, damp, sandflies – oh my! It rained through the night and I was warm nestled in the alicoop, but…Read
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audio narrative: the trail will provide
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Day 22, Puhoi to Wenderholm – 7 km + 1 km
The barkeep Sean has just asked if I met the ghost in room 7, he carries his head in his…Read
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Day 21, Dome forest to Puhoi – 34 km
I’m up and out early. Exotic birds becoming friends wake me, but I slept fitfully. It would be a big…Read
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Day 20 – Pakiri beach to Dome Forest – 26 km
A sunrise over the South Pacific. Not a bad way to wake up. Though I faff about in the warmth…Read
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Day 19, Dragon’s Spell to beach near Pakiri – 39 km
A grand sleep with my kiwi hoot-whistling softly and waves rumbling far below. I dream about a person who hasn’t…Read
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Day 18, Ruakaka to Dragon’s Spell – 26 km
Note to self: no more setting up on a slope. It was relatively wonderful at Betty’s but I couldn’t find…Read
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Day 17, Peach Cove to Ruakaka – 17 km + 11 km
I am a total dope. I followed a beach sign down to a rocky shore. But there is another beach…Read
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Day 16, Taiharuru River to Peach Cove – 25 km
The tree house faces east looking out over the estuary, pink streaks reflected in the receding water that I’ll walk…Read
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audio narrative: hiking as conversation
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Day 15, Nikau Bay to Taiharuru Estuary – 13 km
It’s been two weeks. I’ve gotten conjunctivitis and a minor sprain. Here’s hoping – hobbling? – the new week is…Read
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Day 14, Whananaki to Nikau Bay Camp – 28 km + 2 km
Quiet and cool this morning by the estuary. The wind died and the party heated up until the wee hours.…Read
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Day 13, Helena Bay to Whananaki – 25 km
Walking straight uphill this early morning onto a flower-covered hillside above the ocean. I can hear the waves crashing below.…Read
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Day 12, Waikare to Helena Bay – 28 km
I get an early start. It’s overcast just as I like it. Someone else is up with a weed wacker.…Read
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Day 11, Paihia to Waikare – 13 km + 3 km
The day dawned damp and a bit chilly. Our tent city at the Pickled Parrot spreading out on the couches…Read
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Day 10, Kerikeri to Paihai – 24 km
Another lovely night’s rest and now Vern drives me on the windy rollercoaster of a road back to Stone House…Read
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audio narrative: the start
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Day 9 – zero day, Kaeo
I’ve been invited to stay the night at one of the most extraordinary homes I’ve ever been to, in the…Read
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Day 8, Puketi Forest to Kerikeri – 27 km
The morning came full of birdsong. The first few nights – especially going this hard – are tough. My legs…Read
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Day 7, Apple Dam to Puketi Forest camp – 36 km
Well this <expletive> sucks. It’s been pouring rain for the last few hours. Nothing is nastier than packing in rain.…Read
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Day 6, Umaumokaroo to Apple Dam – 26 km
Just putting my things up to face a few more hours of mud til a road walk and – you…Read
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Day 5, Takahue Saddle Road to below Umaumakaroo – 16 km
What a delight to spend the evening at Peter’s overlooking Ahipara Bay. Wine under the olive trees, alicoop drying in…Read
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Day 4, Utea Park to Ahipara, 32 km
Definitely a better night at Utea Park and I do feel a bit sheepish that I was so maudlin last…Read
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audio narrative: suddenly D-day
“Make one friend to last the rest of your life.”
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Day 3, Maunganui Bluff to Utea Park – 30 km
The alicoop crashed in the middle of the night. First came torrential rain, then the wind. Then rain and wind.…Read
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Day 2, Twilight to Maunganui Bluff – 28 km
I woke up early. Really early. To be expected after not feeling any effects of jet lag on yesterday’s mission.…Read
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Day 1, Cape Reinga to Twilight – 12 km
It’s pitch dark, the waves are crashing and the other six at Twilight are asleep, nestled in their tents. This…Read
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audio narrative: and away she goes!
The only impossible journey is the one you never begin. – Tony Robbins I’m leaving Saint Paul for Kerikeri, New Zealand…Read
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video: ready or not…
click for downloadable gear list for the Te Araroa – plus weights!
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audio narrative: no outcomes backpacking
If you arrive at a final destination, it’s a sign that you’ve set your sights too low. – Friedrich Nietzsche…Read
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walking hand-in-hand with Beethoven
How happy I am to be able to wander among bushes and herbs, under trees and over rocks; no one…Read
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audio narrative: Does orange make my butt look fat?
It's said that people fear public speaking - and looking ridiculous - more than death.
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Hammock Gear Burrow quilt review
I am afraid of heights. At least according to Ohio-based Hammock Gear, who – despite the name and mission –…Read
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video: alison’s big adventure
On Saturday, October 27th, I will begin a journey… Thank you Eduardo at TLG Photo and Video for making the…Read
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Soto Amicus review
Amicus means friend in Latin, and I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Soto Amicus…Read
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gear list for the Te Araroa
Backpacking: An extended form of hiking in which people carry double the amount of gear they need for half the…Read
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audio narrative: who is this “blissful hiker” you speak of?
MPR host swept into the inevitability of a five-month hike in New Zealand. I’m a classical music DJ and long-distance…Read
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ten reasons to add hot yoga to your thru-hike prep
The very heart of yoga practice is ‘abyhasa’ – steady effort in the direction you want to go. – Sally…Read
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training is life; life, training
Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education. –…Read
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video: Thru-hike prep with visual aids
Tenting tonight on the old camp ground. – Micki Simms
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The little light that could
Many years ago, my mom, who was a Forensics coach, took me with her to the All-State Finals to cheer…Read
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Balega socks review
If you want to hike with the ease, agility and the fleet-footedness of a seasoned ultra trail runner, and keep…Read
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Dried veggies and fruit
Accepting your own mortality is like eating your vegetables: You may not want to do it, but it’s good for…Read
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more deets on aliloop-of-the-lakes, Northern England
I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and…Read
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Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-tec review
The Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec is a foldable bomb-proof aluminum trekking pole with an awesome cork handled grip and outstanding adjustability.…Read
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Potato Bark
Food is not just eating energy. It’s an experience. – Guy Fieri I am always amazed that when I hike…Read
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Tarptent Notch Li partial solid w/silnylon floor review
The Tarptent Notch Li is a fantastic ultra light shelter for the solo thru-hiker looking for simplicity and durability, while…Read
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La Sportiva Akyra Trail Runners review
What do you get when you cross the speed, flexibility, the ability to stop on a dime and the wicking…Read
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Granite Gear Crown2 60 backpack review
The Granite Gear Crown2 60 is a superbly designed ultra light backpack ideal for multi-day backpacking and long distance thru-hiking.…Read
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Creatures of the C2C
I was never alone hiking in Northern England.
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Te Araroa, New Zealand – Oct-Mar, 2018—19
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you…Read
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Stove test!
I leave for Northern England and the Coast-to-Coast in six days and until a few moments ago, I was still…Read
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And the winner is…
alicoop! My tent doesn’t look like much but, as an estate agent might say, ‘It is air-conditioned and has exceptional…Read
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Behold the bar!
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.  – Virginia Woolf When I first…Read
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sweet dreams
Which mattress do I take for the 192 miles of England’s Coast-to-Coast in June? There’s only one way to find…Read
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food, glorious food!
Is it possible to stay healthy and eat heartily on the trail? Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come…Read
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Boots or trainers?
I need help choosing footwear for the Coast to Coast walk in June. What do you think? Forget not that…Read
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home-on-the-trail
This is my new tent for the Coast to Coast walk next month. Let the beauty of what we love…Read
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Coast-to-Coast + aliloop-of-the-lakes, England – June, 2018
I want to encourage in others the ambition to devise with the aid of maps their own cross-country marathons and…Read
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Armand Bayou bliss
A convergence of ecosystems amidst a concrete jungle.  
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Don’t shun (-tion) the “Ten Essentials”
Before any hike, you should ask the question “could I spend the night here?” – blissful hiker Have you ever…Read
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wild river afternoon
solo snowshoe surprises  
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just a walk to work
Every day an adventure on Saint Paul’s streets
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Paria Canyon/Buckskin Gulch, UT/AZ – November, 2017
If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. – Dale…Read
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Border Route Trail, MN – October, 2017
The no boundaries waters and trail of secrets… – HikerA and HikerB Last autumn, I went on my first thru-hike…Read
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Presidential Traverse and White Mountains, NH – August, 2017
Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory. – Ed Viesturs A friend I made on one of my…Read
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GR5, France – August, 2016
Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone. – Paul Tillich In the…Read
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Fifteen Fourteeners, CO – September, 2015
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. – Beverly Sills …scaled in two weeks, with (mostly) perfect weather,…Read
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Colorado Trail, USA – August 2014
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as…Read
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Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa – June, 2013
Fortune favors the audacious. – Erasmus You could call us audacious. But you’d also be right calling us downright foolhardy.…Read
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John Muir Trail, CA – September, 2012
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. – John Muir  Though I didn’t actually see the…Read
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K2 basecamp trek, Karakoram, Pakistan – August, 1994
In the throne room of the mountain gods – Galen Rowell Forgive me is this story is very old. But…Read
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