Welcome to my Damn Long Walk of Te Araroa
What are we doing?
My friend, Frances Karl, and I plan to walk Te Araora – New Zealand’s Trail (simply known as TA) the summer of 2019-2020. It is 3,000 km long , mostly off road through mountains, farmland, across rivers and estuaries, along the coast, up rivers , through National Parks and forest. We start at Cape Reinga at the very top of the North Island and head south down to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island. Walking South bound is called SOBO
For more details see Te Araroa Trust’s website
Why walk so far?
Basically I am tired of working and think a 3,000 km walk must be better than sitting stressed out in front of a computer for 50+ hours a week. Life is too short for that shit! Also when I first heard about the idea of Te Araroa in late 1990’s I vowed that I would start that the day I retired. As a result I have read many books about the trail and followed the development over the years. But I have decided that I can’t wait until the official retirement age of 65 to do this. So I have again have left my job and rented out my house. So for about six months from 15 October 2019 my home will be wherever I stop walking each day.
I will walk about 4.5 million steps and you are all welcome to follow me from the comfort of your homes or load up your pack and walk a bit with us.
What do I take with me?
The answer is quite simple. As little as possible! Because I have to carry it on my back for the whole damn long walk I have been researching this question for months now on the internet. Google makes it all fairly easy to come up with what is best to get. I reckon that I spent at least a dollar fir each gram I have saved. See my gear list here
Being safe and prepared for all eventualities has to be the priority. I have been personally involved in four Search and Rescue events and have always been praised for been fully equipped and doing things correctly . One of my rescues
How will I know where to go?
There are two Apps that I will have on my phone. One is the official TA Hikers App and the other is the Guthook App. They use GPS and have a wealth of information available offline. Post trail update: I found that I used both apps. The Guthook had a feature where walkers could add comments which was useful and showed the elevation. 2021 update: The TA Hikers App now has these features as well
At anytime where I was not sure if I was on the trail I could just look on my phone and see exactly where I was in relation to the track. No data or service is required as it uses the GPS satellites 2021 update: The TA Hikers App now has these features as well
See examples here of how the apps work in my Navigation page here.
My Trail Buddy
Frances is a high school teacher who has specialised in outdoor education, building and physics. She renovates her houses herself, can back a trailer, read maps, and can keep teenagers in line so she has some good skills to add to the mix. Frances has traveled extensively, walking and cycling across many countries and has built her own home in the wilderness of Tasmania. We have tramped together in New Zealand and Patagonia and we both hope we can put up with each other for the length of the trail. We do understand that there will be time when we will want some space and I am sure she will want to throw me off a cliff or two at times. But we hope to be able to keep together most of the time. She has also given up her job and rented out her house and is committed to the Te Araroa as I am.
Update: Unfortunately Frances was unable to complete the trail due to foot injuries. She tried really hard to keep going but had to pull out at Tamarunui. On Day 27 she began the day with sore foot that did not get any better. She took about 10 days off and caught up with me after Auckland in Mercer. However the rest had not fixed the problem and Frances carried on in considerable pain for another week or so. Then it was obvious that she had to stop. On returning home she had x-rays which showed some broken bones in her foot! So she was back at home with her parents resting up and plans to complete the Te Araroa next season.