75 days walking, 2,515,298 steps later...and we have nearly completed Te Araroa North Island SOBO. (Still to walk 48kms for the Tararuas)
Anthony has done a tremendous job in recording our journey through the blog. Already, I am enjoying going back and reading where we have walked and looking at our pictures.
There is just so much to reflect on. Our beautiful, beautiful country. I found it heartening to see many examples of good practice land management taking place. With farmers fencing off waterways, creating wetlands with plantings and seeing many instances of once pastoral land that should never have been cleared, now being allowed to return to its natural state, mainly into native bush. In contrast to that, the sad sight of productive land close to towns being bought, subdivided and sold for more lifestyle blocks.
We experienced so much over those walking days but oh my goodness, the beauty and rawness of our country seems to burst through at any opportunity. The Tongariro and Whanganui regions spring to mind.
We did well with the weather, a fair amount of luck and some judicious planning meant we had few days of actually walking in rain. The ground and walkways however still had their fair share of wet and we certainly experienced plenty of mud and wet shoes.
Our last stint from Taumarunui saw us meet up with more wonderful people. Franziska, our young walking companion from Germany was very good company and I marvel at her bravery for taking on such a big challenge. As Anthony mentioned, we enjoyed our time with Greg, Gill and Kevin who were on the same campsite schedule as us on the Whanganui River. Greg has since achieved his goal of walking the NI TA in a continuous line, a great achievement!
Others who enhanced our experience were Dave from Koitiata, Doc rangers from the Whanganui River, Ian, Peter and Marianne who willingly shared their knowledge and Joan and Grant for being awesome hosts.
The South Island awaits. For all sorts of reasons we have decided to walk NOBO so to Bluff we go and will start to walk home.
Wishing everyone who reads this a great festive season and all the best for the new year. Friends and family.....don't forget your word!!!
Belinda and Anthony (aka Tony) Hadfield made a decision, in their late 50's, to do something a "bit different" and walk New Zealand's 3000km Te Araroa Trail over summer 2015/16 - although updates will now tell you that this plan will take longer now!!. As the old saying goes - "don't leave home 'til you've seen the country"!!