Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
I’ll begin walking New Zealand end-to-end this coming November.
To: Mark Weatherall, Chief Executive of the Te Araroa Association
Kia ora, Mark. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me by phone on that cold,…ReadRead more.
audio narrative: the joy of missing out
Erica Jong writes, “Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.” I opt for joy in missing out…Read more.
forest fungus fotos
Fungus was certainly among us walking the Kepler Track in the South Island. Seeing these pictures again brings back for…ReadRead more.
TA homeward bound
Of course, there had to be just one more tramp before leaving.Read more.
TA Stewart Island
I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself. —Emma Stone The…ReadRead more.
TA Day 127, Invercargill to Bluff, 34 km
As much as I love the alicoop, it is so nice to sleep in a bed – though my dreams…ReadRead more.
TA Day 126, Riverton to Invercargill, 33 km
Again stars were working overtime, but in the grassy dip set aside for Te Araroa tents, dew built up on…ReadRead more.
TA Day 125, Colac Bay to Riverton, 24 km
Stars are shining when I poke my head out of the alicoop, though clouds crowd in as I stroll to…ReadRead more.
TA Day 124, Martin’s Hut to Colac Bay, 24 km
Ian and Wendy are up first, speaking in whispers, their lights aiming down. My head is mere inches from the…ReadRead more.
TA Day 123, Merivale Road to Martin’s Hut, 29 km
I can see stars when I wake up, but fall is settling in and it’s pitch dark now. I organize…ReadRead more.
TA Day 122, ‘zero day’ Otautau
I only have a few things to share from this very lazy day of reading, writing, editing, eating and giggling…ReadRead more.
TA Day 121, ‘zero day’ Otautau
I tossed and turned last night, waking momentarily to see a waning gibbous moon perched on a cloud. My day…ReadRead more.
TA Day 120, Birchwood to Merrivale Hut, 28 km
I wake with the others in the bunk room, a bit groggy and hung over from the drama of the…ReadRead more.
TA Day 119, Lower Wairaki Hut to Birchwood, 36 km
Rain fell all night. I am so happy that I stayed in a hut, tucked into my bunk with my…ReadRead more.
TA Day 118 Lower Princhester Hut to Lower Wairaki Hut, 31 km
I’m awakened by birds peeping in that silver flute tone of theirs, the sky barely light. I am more of…ReadRead more.
TA Day 117, Mavora Lake to Lower Princhester Hut, 22 km
A clear, windy night gave way to a rainy, windy night. Even with piles of rocks, one stake slips out…ReadRead more.
TA Day 116, Taipo Hut to Mavora Lake, 27 km
The stars were electric last night, even as the super moon made a grand entrance, lighting up one stray cloud…ReadRead more.
TA Day 115, McKellar Hut to Taipo Hut, 28 km
It’s a night shared with smokers, door slammers and snorers, but it turns out to be pretty fun in a…ReadRead more.
TA Day 114, ‘detour’ Routeburn River to McKellar Hut, 38 km
It rained all night. I am dry and warm in the alicoop, but I don’t think I can hike an…ReadRead more.
TA Day 113, Arrowtown to Routeburn Track, 30 km
I’m up before dawn, quietly moving my gear into the common room so I can pack loudly. Someone on the…ReadRead more.
TA Day 112, Roses Hut to Arrowtown, 24 km
The stars did not disappoint. I checked often through the night, the nearly full moon lighting up this wild landscape.…ReadRead more.
TA Day 111, Fern Burn Hut to Roses Hut, 17 km
Walking is the natural recreation for a (wo)man who desires not absolutely to suppress (her) intellect but to turn it…ReadRead more.
TA Day 110, Wanaka to Fern Burn Hut, 27 km
The morning is lazy because I have to wait for the bank to open. I load up on more calories,…ReadRead more.
TA Day 109, ‘zero day’ Wanaka
Pink sky in the morning, hiker take warning. Good thing I planned a rest day as the clouds move in,…ReadRead more.
TA Day 108, side trip! Rob Roy Glacier, Mt. Aspiring National Park
Pink light glows on the mountains and glaciers. A perfect sky for a day trip. Harry and I have been…ReadRead more.
TA audio narrative: water, water everywhereRead more.
TA Day 107, Hawea to Wanaka, 25 km
It rained nearly all night on the alicoop in this odd carved out campground above the hotel. Self-contained vehicles hemmed…ReadRead more.
TA Day 106, Stodys Hut to Hawea, 22 km
The cure for loneliness, is solitude. —Marianne Moore Waking up this morning felt like a new start on a new…ReadRead more.
TA Day 105, Tin Hut to Stodys Hut, 27 km
A perfect sleep in a perfect, tiny historic musterer’s hut opens with pink clouds and orange light on the grassy…ReadRead more.
TA Day 104, Freehold Creek to Tin Hut, 30 km
Being alone is, we know, the best chance you have to be yourself, which is in turn the seed of…ReadRead more.
TA Day 103, Twizel to Freehold Creek, (29 km) + 6 km
At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. —Toni Morrison The stars were spectacular overnight and I slept…ReadRead more.
TA Day 102, Tekapo to Twizel, (54 km)
I slept poorly last night with all the rustling about, phones going off and generally being stressed out knowing I…ReadRead more.
TA Day 101, After Washdyke Stream on Richmond Track to Tekapo, 26 km
Ah, the stars last night! Twinkling diamonds on black velvet, the milky way a gentle twist. The morning opens with…ReadRead more.
TA Day 100, Royal Hut to after Washdyke Stream, 26 km
Contrary to Alan from Dunedin’s prediction, the day opens crystal clear, ready for our eyes to take in some of…ReadRead more.
TA Day 99, Crooked Spur Hut to Royal Hut, 16 km
The morning begins with the Kiwi couple talking, rustling in their plastic food bags and letting the door bang shut…ReadRead more.
TA Day 98, Potts River Bridge Car Park to Crooked Spur Hut, 17 km + 14 km
The wind dies down and the possums come out, climbing the tree above my head and chattering to each other.…ReadRead more.
TA Day 97, Manuka Hut to Potts River Bridge Car Park, 33 km
It’s cozy on my bunk as the sky begins to lighten. I’m up first heading to the longdrop on a…ReadRead more.
TA Day 96, A-frame Hut to Manuka Hut, 28 km
The wild wind blew open the door of the hut, even after we placed a rock to hold it shut.…ReadRead more.
TA Day 95, Harper River Camping Area to A-Frame Hut, 32 km
Such a lovely night with brilliant stars and later a crescent moon on her side. People arrive late and release…ReadRead more.
TA Day 94, Hamilton Hut to Harper River Camping Area, 20 km
I know the joy of fishes in the river through my own joy, as I go walking along the same…ReadRead more.
TA Day 93, State Highway 73 to Hamilton Hut, 26 km
Alessio and I close up the bach, pack up and head to the road by 7 to hitch rides –…ReadRead more.
TA Day 92, zero day, Arthur’s Pass
I slept in late on this well deserved break day staying at a friend of a friend’s bach – pronounced…ReadRead more.
TA Day 91, Goat Pass Hut to State Highway 73, 10 km
The rain slashed against the windows all night. Was it wind making it sound heavier than it is or will…ReadRead more.
TA Day 90, Kiwi Hut to Goat Pass Hut, 28 km
My alarm goes off at 5:30 playing Billy McGlaughlin’s Finger Dance on full volume, but it’s still dark. I can…ReadRead more.
TA Day 89, Hurunui No. 3 Hut to Kiwi Hut, 23 km
The moonlight filled the tiny windows of the hut as I slept. The first morning I’m not flying out of…ReadRead more.
TA Day 88, Hope Halfway Shelter to Hurunui No. 3 Hut, 36 km
The morning begins cloudy, chilly, but no rain. I am up first, packed and ready to leave this over-stuffed hut.…ReadRead more.
TA Day 87, Boyle Flat Hut to Hope Halfway Shelter, 32 km
It rains all night and I wake up so glad I walked both passes in reasonably good weather and that…ReadRead more.
TA Day 86, Waiau Hut to Boyle Flat Hut, 43 km
Kuba’s alarm wakes us in the morning. Usually just the sunrise gets me up, but last night there was a…ReadRead more.
TA Day 85, Blue Lake Hut to Waiau Hut, 17 km
Rain spatters the windows as the sky lightens, though wind seems to have stilled. Snoring and adjusting keeps me awake,…ReadRead more.
TA Day 84, Upper Travers Hut to Blue Lake Hut, 16 km
Charley’s alarm wakes me around 5. He has plans to cross both passes today – and I’m sure he’ll do…ReadRead more.
TA Day 83, St. Arnaud to Upper Travers Hut, 30 km
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do. With your one…ReadRead more.
TA update: going up! – again
I received a short message from Alison: “Nelson Lakes conquered. Heading back up to miss rain. More in a week”…ReadRead more.
TA update: going up!
I spoke to DOC and they said walk, so heading up and will check back in about one week!Read more.
TA Day 82, Red Hills Hut to St. Arnaud, 21 km
This morning I wake up on the edge of Mount Richmond Forest Park and say goodbye to this glorious –…ReadRead more.
TA audio narrative: north down, south to goRead more.
TA Day 81, Top Wairoa Hut to Red Hills Hut, 29 km
I awake with a jolt from nightmares. I’d gone home trying to explain what I’m doing and then had one…ReadRead more.
TA Day 80, Rintoul Hut to Top Wairoa Hut, 22 km
I grab two bars, pack Olive Oyl and head up Purple Top before sunrise. A family of goats meets me…ReadRead more.
TA Day 79, Slaty Hut to Rintoul Hut, 13 km
The hut rattles and shakes in the wind, but when I step outside for the loo, it’s not cold. I…ReadRead more.
TA Day 78, Hacket Track car park to Slaty Hut, 18 km
Maggie brings me outside when I wake up to show me my good luck charm – a rainbow. Cary joins…ReadRead more.
TA Day 77, Side trip! Abel Tasman National Park
Today is my second side trip, to beautiful Abel Tasman park. Steve makes a plan and we head out with…ReadRead more.
TA Day 76, zero day, Nelson
“It’s hard to be more perfect than right now,” says Steve as we sit on his beautiful deck overlooking a…ReadRead more.
TA Day 75, Captain Creek Hut to Hacket Track car park, 29 km
I sleep well outside. It’s cooler and the stars come out, diamonds displayed on black velvet. There’s no relief from…ReadRead more.
TA Day 74, Kaiuma Bay Road to Captain Creek Hut, 32 km
Tui and Sam’s loud morning stretch greet the day, overcast, just how I like it. It’s a different world down…ReadRead more.
TA Day 73, Onahua Lookout to Kaiuma Bay Road – 44 km
A couple of kids do arrive last night, just as the sun goes down behind a mountain. They bring good…ReadRead more.
TA Day 72, Camp Madsen to Onahau lookout, 37 km
Q: Why did the weka shriek before the sun came up? A: Because he can. To be fair there were…ReadRead more.
TA Day 71, Ship Cove to Madsen Camp, 17 km
I needed to get up before 5 am to catch the ferry, but what a treat for Raf to take…ReadRead more.
TA Day 70, ‘slackpack’ Wellington, 15 km
Things begin a bit lazy on another unusually sunny, warm day in Wellington with waffles and delicious yogurt, golden kiwis…ReadRead more.
TA Day 69, Wellington
I’m now dreaming constantly of walking, this time pushing through scree, trapped and not getting very far. I’m either a…ReadRead more.
TA Day 68, Camp Elsdon to Wellington, 29 km
I get up early to catch the cool air. It’s steep stairs up and up through bush finally into open…ReadRead more.
TA Day 67, Paekakariki to Camp Elsdon, 28 km
I dreamed last night that I was walking, but would wake up and see the stained glass window in my…ReadRead more.
TA Day 66, zero day
I suppose it’s a bit odd to snag a zero day when I’m just two days from finishing the North…ReadRead more.
TA Day 64-65, Side trip! Mt. Taranaki
I hate to become repetitive, but this morning began with rain on the alicoop. I think I’m going to need…ReadRead more.
TA Day 63, Waikanae to Paikakariki, 21 km
The morning opens with rain and wind. Floris and Marjelain leave early, but I am beat. Brent makes me tea…ReadRead more.
TA Day 62, Waitewaewae Hut to Waikanae, 34 km
I wake up early, pack and eat tuna for breakfast to avoid any more of that weird heartbeat issue. The…ReadRead more.
TA Day 61, Dracophyllum Hut to Waitewaewae Hut, 13 km
Just after 5, and the nervous Germans are up packing. I like getting up early and hearing a few wind…ReadRead more.
TA Day 60, Makahika Outdoor Pursuits to Dracophyllum Hut, 25 km
When you go up in the Tauraruas, you want a forecast with no wind. The fact that it’s pouring rain…ReadRead more.
TA Day 59, Kahuterawa to Makahika Outdoor Pursuits, 40 km
Robb starts the trail with me for just a few feet before pealing off. Our drive into where I left…ReadRead more.
TA Day 58, ‘slackpack’ Palmerston North to Kahuterawa Park, 21 km
It rained last night and is still raining all morning. I have tea and toast with Robb and Tara hands…ReadRead more.
TA Day 57, Mount Lees Reserve to Palmerston North, 31 km
Well it was bound to happen – I wake up in pouring rain. I pack up anyway and figure, it…ReadRead more.
TA Day 56, Koitiata to Mount Lees Reserve, 37 km
A full moon looked in on my sleep, then a glorious sunrise. I’m back on black sand as my trail…ReadRead more.
TA Day 55, Whanganui to Koitiata, 33 km
An absolutely beautiful rest in a beautiful room awakened by the smell of toast, eggs, bacon – a full English…ReadRead more.
TA Day 54, Hipango Park to Whanganui, (30 km) + 7 km
I wake up to a five-note song, a slight variation on Gershwin’s first prelude. I answer with the second line,…ReadRead more.
TA audio narrative: best birthday present everRead more.
TA Day 53, Flying Fox to Hipango Park, (34 km)
The moon comes out accompanied by wild night sounds and a few stray splats of raindrops shaking off the trees.…ReadRead more.
TA Day 52, Tieke Kainga to Flying Fox, (52 km)
You know it’s a thru-hike – or at this point a thru-paddle – when you wake up in the middle…ReadRead more.
TA Day 51, John Coull to Tieke Kainga, (32 km)
Our tents are damp in this foggy morning, set on a staircase of carved terraces, Inca-style. Yesterday, Andrew and I…ReadRead more.
TA Day 50, Whakahoro to John Coull, (38 km)
Waking up was with complaining sheep and the thwap-thwap of techno pop meaning only one thing – sheep sheering. It’s…ReadRead more.
TA Day 49, Katieke War Memorial to Whakahora – 24 km
The day opens with low hanging mist. I have to put on rain gear to pack the tent, studying the…ReadRead more.
TA Day 48, National Park to Katieke War Monument – 27 km
I’m having trouble sleeping as my birthday winds down. So many gifts of good weather, astonishing scenery, strong legs and…ReadRead more.
TA Day 47, Mangatepopo track to National Park – 30 km
I often wondered where I’d end up on December 14th while walking the TA. So happy to wake up in…ReadRead more.
TA Day 46, Te Porere Redoubt to Mangatepopo track – 27 km
I’m up and packing at 3 am. Friends, there are stars out. Glory Hallelujah. Fingers crossed we make the crossing…ReadRead more.
TA Day 45, Whakapapa River to Te Porere Redoubt – 35 km
Gray and ominous this morning; foggy, but no rain. Obviously I’d like ideal weather for the crossing – and my…ReadRead more.
TA Day 44, Taumaruni to Whakapapa River – 25 km
To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself. – Søren Kierkegaard The day starts…ReadRead more.
TA Day 43, Ongarue to Taumarunui – 27 km
Up early just as the sun is coming up, my favorite time of day. I’m happy to have found a…ReadRead more.
TA Day 42, Timber Trail to Ongarue campsite – 26 km
Good decision to sleep in the tent, so cozy and much less dew this morning. Tuis call each other over…ReadRead more.
TA Day 41, Timber Trail – 33 km
All my gear is neatly laid out as I wait for the sun to peak out over the trees. He’s…ReadRead more.
TA Day 40, Ngaherenga campsite to Timber Trail – 27 km
I wake up to an absolute cacophony of bird song, the wildest yet. We’re at about 500 meters and it…ReadRead more.
TA Day 39, Mangaokewa Road to Ngaherenga campsite – 33 km
More rain, but finally the sun is up and the sky is pink. I am starting to doubt my capacity…ReadRead more.
TA Day 38, Mangaokewa Reserve to Mangaokewa Road – 17 km
What an extraordinary place to wake up to. I have a virgin forest, thick and impenetrable, across the river. Rapids…ReadRead more.
TA Day 37, Waitomo to Mangaokewa Reserve – 31 km
It rains at night, a constant, loud volley of water bullets on the alicoop. I’m dry and snug as the…ReadRead more.
TA Day 36, ‘zero day’ Waitomo
I think I felt so good yesterday because it was the first time I started to really feel my rhythm…ReadRead more.
TA Day 35, Kaimango Road to Waitomo – 29 km
The weather forecast is for more rain – and thunderstorms – but not until later today. The mist is down…ReadRead more.
TA Day 34, Pahautea hut to Kaimango Road – 18 km
Rain and mist all night, but snuggled warm in a bunk at the hut. Sadly, no view from this spectacular…ReadRead more.
TA Day 33, Whatawhata to Pahautea hut – 33 km
What a fantastic place to sleep, dead quiet until about 4 when the trucks revved up again, but a safe,…ReadRead more.
TA Day 32, Hamilton to Whatawhata – 10 km
The cows have moved this morning and are grazing literally in Irene and Bindie’s backyard. I strip down and take…ReadRead more.
TA Day 31, Hakamarita to Hamilton – 28 km
I got a note from a follower named Tom who says, “You and your hiking odysseys personify today’s word.” The…ReadRead more.
TA Day 30, Rangiriri to below Hakamarita summit – 29 km
Rained all night. Maybe it got it out of its system. I slept well behind Cathy’s pie shop even though…ReadRead more.
TA Day 29, Mercer to Rangariri – 27 km
About to set off. The sun is out but I’m nervous getting back on the trail. Bought way too much…ReadRead more.
TA Day 28, ‘slackpack’ Mangere Bridge to Totara Park – 36 km
It’s raining. A lot. And expected all day – with lightning on the side. But I have good rain gear…ReadRead more.
TA Day 27, ‘slackpack’ Auckland – 18 km
I’m up and out before the house stirs in full rain gear. Just drizzle – and not cold – but…ReadRead more.
TA Day 26, ‘slackpack’* Auckland – 9 km
*slackpacking is section backpacking while sleeping in the same place each night I’m a tourist today, loosely walking the trail…ReadRead more.
TA Day 25, zero day, Auckland
I am laying in a bed letting the body recover until all hours of the morning, make that the afternoon.…ReadRead more.
TA Day 24, Stillwater to Auckland, 33 km + 4 km
A lazy morning awaiting the tide to get to its lowest at 12:36 so we can cross the Okura River.…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA audio narrative: the trail will provideRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA audio narrative: hiking as conversationRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA 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.…ReadRead more.
TA 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.…ReadRead more.
TA 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.…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA Day 10, Kerikeri to Paihia – 24 km
Another lovely night’s rest and now Vern drives me on the windy rollercoaster of a road back to Stone House…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA 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.…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA audio narrative: suddenly D-day
“Make one friend to last the rest of your life.”Read more.
TA 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.…ReadRead more.
TA 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.…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA video: ready or not…
click for downloadable gear list for the Te Araroa – plus weights!Read more.
TA 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 NietzscheRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
TA audio narrative: Does orange make my butt look fat?
It's said that people fear public speaking - and looking ridiculous - more than death.Read more.
Hammock Gear Burrow quilt review
I am afraid of heights. At least according to Ohio-based Hammock Gear, who – despite the name and mission –…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
Soto Amicus review
Amicus means friend in Latin, and I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Soto Amicus…ReadRead more.
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…ReadRead more.
TA 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…ReadRead more.
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 Kempton…ReadRead more.
training is life; life, training
Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education. –…ReadRead more.
TA video: Thru-hike prep with visual aids
Tenting tonight on the old camp ground. – Micki SimmsRead more.
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…ReadRead more.
Balega socks review
If you want to hike with the ease, agility and the fleet-footedness of a seasoned ultra trail runner, and keep…ReadRead more.
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.…ReadRead more.
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…ReadRead more.
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…ReadRead more.
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.…ReadRead more.
Today, my boss gave me the green light to take a personal leave of five months to take care of a little something that has been on my mind for the past several years: to walk one of the biggies.
While it would seem to make more sense to start with something close to home like the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest, my chunk of time away will be in the winter, and it’s only logical to track down summer – and prime backpacking season – where it happens during our cold months, on the other side of the earth.
I must have been playing a long song on Classical MPR when I stumbled upon this long trail. I was surfing the web looking up top hikes of the world and this newish hike – or tramp, as the Kiwis call it – popped up, piquing my curiosity.
Te Araroa means “the long pathway” in Maori. Completed in 2011, it’s a 3000 kilometer trail extending from Cape Reinga in the North to Bluff in the south. It traverses the entire country; beaches, forests, mountains, volcanoes and cities and should likely take all the time I have planned to finish it.
Part of the Te Araroa is by boat.
Thus far the furthest I’ve walked all at one time was the GR5, 450 miles over the spine of the Alps. While taking on that challenge I wondered if I was made of the right stuff to sustain a thru-hike of not just weeks, but months. Aside from the logistical nightmare and the risk that I might not be missed at my place of employment, I hadn’t the faintest idea if I possessed the grit, the fortitude and determination, and the sheer pig-headedness to stick with a walk of 1,864 miles.
Over the ensuing years, I decided there’s only one way to find out, and that’s to go and do it. Keeping in mind the fact that I’m not getting any younger and my arthritic toes are continuing to protest, I made the decision to request a leave of absence, and put myself directly on the path of enormous change. Sure, it will be a change in scenery and routine, but also in how my life looks and feels because I am going alone. Don’t worry. Richard will be following my every step through the magic of GPS tracking – and I’ll stay connected by blog. I certainly hope you’ll follow me. I might need emotional support along the way.
So right now I’m absolutely tingling with excitement for this rare opportunity even as I make lists of all that has to get done, including applying for a visitors visa on an extremely thorough application which requires proof I not only have the financial means to return home, but plan to do so!