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14 April 2017 (and note on walking times)
UPDATE 21 April: Blogs have now been completed for this trip. Time to sign off until we start what will hopefully be our final stretch - Bealey to Merrivale Rd (to complete the South) and the Tararuas in the North - maybe starting in December :-)
So ........ we arrived back home on the Kapiti Coast yesterday evening. Got out from Goat Pass Hut to the Bealey Hotel (near Arthurs Pass) on Tues 11th before the rain got too bad! Stayed there Wed night as well, having decided that the weather was deteriorating enough for us to call an end to this season after one month of walking (starting with the remnants of cyclone Cook, it seemed like winter might be setting in early!!). Caught the shuttle to Chch airport Thursday a.m. and got a 1335 flight to Wgtn. Barely made it into Wgtn as the low cloud/mist was causing issues (not as bad as all the cancelled flights from Chch to Tauranga, Rotorua, Hamilton, Napier because of cyclone Cook weather!!) - so were very grateful when the wheels hit the tarmac about 1440!! Taxi / train / taxi saw us home about 1545 Thursday!! Will now start updating the blog from the luxury of a desktop computer :-)
Walking times - in some of the latest blogs from the South Island I have tried to give an idea of walking times versus total time each day - this is because some people have expressed interest in how fast a couple "our age" (!!) do it versus the more common 20-30+ year old legs mostly doing it. When I mention "walking time" this also includes lots of micro-breaks for photos, changes of clothes, passing chats with other hikers, uphill rests for me (!) etc - I tended to only pause the Suunto recording for our 10-15 min smoko and half hour lunch breaks. Just FYI if planning :-) Always remembering that changing track and weather conditions, including river flows can affect times!!
28 March 2017
On 14th March we caught the ferry to Picton. The next day we got a water taxi out to Ship Cove to restart our adventure sobo in the South Island. We walked 12 straight days to St Arnaud where we are currently having our second rest day! I have found it hard to update the blog - long hard days, lack of reception and battery limitations! But I have have made daily notes so will start posting again as soon as possible
06 Jan 2017
We completed Otaki Forks to Wgtn and on 7/11/16 started again from Taumarunui. We completed to Levin (leaving the Tararua section of 48km as the only bit of the North Island to finish off). A couple of weeks of doing stuff at home and on the farm was required before we could set off for the South Island, which we had decided we would start nobo from Bluff! We flew to Invercargill on 15/12 and walked Bluff to Invercargill 16/12. My knee was an issue so we hired a car and visited friends and places in the lower SI for two weeks before restarting at Invercargill. Unfortunately I had hurt my back during this "time off" and after several days of hiking up the SI it was clear that another (!!!) injury break was required. So after completing only 5+ days of walking the SI, we headed home on 3/1/17. Disappointing, but we are already planning when to get back on the trail one the back improves!
13 September 2016
We have decided to section hike the Otaki Forks to Wellington stretch over the spring - and started with the Pukeatua Track last Sunday 11th (see blog). Having done that section (in amongst farm work etc) we will head off back to Taumarunui (to recommence where we left off in April) early November. Our plan is to finish the North Island with the Taumarunui to Otaki Forks stretch and then, after a few days break to organise things at home, head off to walk the South Island. Its great to be started again!!
11 May 2016
We have now stopped walking for the winter as of 16 April, having got as far as Taumarunui (TA km 1052!). I've been a bit slow with updating the blog but have now finished the last week or so and they are all posted in the blog section!! Our plan is to set off again, maybe October depending on weather etc, to complete the rest of the journey (only 2000km to go!). So expect this to be the last blog probably until we start back on the trail again in October or thereabouts. Thanks for reading :-)
3 March 2016
Thought it was time to update "The Plan" 9 months after the original. In summary, a week into the walk, heading up the asphalt road to the Herekino Saddle, my knee started to pack up. We made it to the end of the Herekino Track, but in some pain!! So after 2 weeks checking progress with the knee in the Bay of Islands, we decided to head home to Kapiti. I needed 3 months rehab for the meniscus to mostly repair itself. Belinda managed to walk the Lake Waikaremoana Track before Xmas - I spent the whole time in the campsite on my stationary bicycle doing rehab, and exploring the gravel roads in between times!! :-)
As you may have seen from the blogs, we decided to start again at Marsden Point and head to Auckland to test out the knee. This was OK so we headed back to Opua and started from the Waikare Inlet heading to Whangarei. We had to come home for 10 days or so for family things on Sat 27 March, so stopped at Tidesong B&B (near Pataua) as we couldn't make it around the Whangarei Heads in the time available. We head back up to Whangarei on Thurs 10/3/16 to finish off two days hiking there - then its back to Opua and from there to Takahue to do the 4 days or so across to Kerikeri (Northland Forests), which we haven't done yet. That will complete the Cape Reinga to Auckland Central portion of TA. Then, all things being equal, we will bus back to Auckland Central and start heading south for as long as the weather and bodies allow. The revised plan is to do as much of the North Island as possible this season - then, if necessary, finish the North Island later in the year and move onto the South Island (maybe around November depending on weather etc). So, where the TA is concerned, we have learnt that "The Plan" must be flexible - such is life!!
So......... Belinda has for some time had an urge to walk at least parts of the Te Araroa Trail.
Early in 2015 she asked me (Tony - chief scribe) if it was something I would be interested in doing - especially as I had just resigned my latest job with the aim of having some months off to catch up on jobs around home and farm. To her (probable!!) surprise, I said "why not"!!
So for some time now the research, planning and purchasing has been underway. I'm a minor tech nut, so this has been an excuse to purchase some nice new toys as well (more about that at some stage in the future)!
The resources available from the Te Araroa Trust, as well as from other previous walkers' blogs, has been tremendous. A special thanks to Kirstine who wrote a fantastic blog of her 2014/15 trip that contains heaps of excellent information, written in true Kiwi style, that we found extremely helpful (and inspiring!).
Our current plan is to kick off around mid-October 2015. Getting back from a few weeks overseas in early September gives us a few weeks to hopefully get lambing and calving out the way and get things set up for our 4+ (5?) month adventure.
While not experienced trampers, we have a fair part of a lifetime hiking around the hill country farmland on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand so maintain a "reasonable level of fitness.
We've done the likes of the Tongariro Crossing a few times and Belinda recently walked, with her sister, the Milford and Routeburn Tracks and, previously, the Abel Tasman Track. We are trying to do regular hill track work to continue to build on the fitness a little - but don't think anything can ever really substitute for real "trail fitness" that will come with the start of the walk proper!
Apart from the walk itself being a really exciting opportunity, it's also a chance for new learnings. As well as bits of new technology, this blog forms part of the learning as well, as I've never done one before. Hopefully the experience isn't too painful - for me or for the occasional person that might (maybe?) actually read it!!
I'm almost loathe to include links as there are so many that may be of use to different people, and any list can never be "right" - I know there will be many resources that I have not even come across in my research. However, for what it is worth, here is a selection of some of the ones that we have found useful.
TA sites and blogs: