In the past I have had some of my best times and met the most interesting people when I have been lost or things have gone wrong. I believe fate dishes us up what we need, when we need it.
Nevertheless I am going to try my best not to get too lost on the Te Araroa, mainly because I will always have to walk myself back to the track. By being lost I mean not being where I thought I should be, rather than not knowing where I am. To that end I will be using a couple of apps on my phone.
I do kind of think these are cheating a bit and I thought a lot about not using them at all. I really enjoyed reading the stories written by the first TA walkers who had no GPS and few maps. They were the real pioneers who spent hours and sometimes days back tracking along the route, stuck in patches of gorse, climbing cliffs and basically getting lost. Reading books about adventurers and survival is my passion and I love to have a good story to tell. But in the end I decided it would just be plain silly not to take advantage of the tools available to me.
Te Araroa Hikers App
This handy little app will be on my phone and is accessible offline. Here are some examples of information available to me.
A series of maps are downloaded to my phone
I can zoom in to get more details. e.g. places to camp, get water and shopping. My current location will show also so I can see if I am off track at any time and find my way back. The maps show the km waypoints so I will always know how far I have walked and how far to go.
There are details of each section and any updates and warnings. I can click in to get the details.
I can also see the elevation. The first one below is 90 mile beach which is very flat, but walking on sand the whole way. The second one is in the Taraura ranges between Palmerston North and Wellington. Those will be hard, slow days!
More details available here with direct links to other websites. For example I may want to check out the hours are shop is open, or book accommodation so I can go direct to their websites. Too easy!!
This is an American App which has maps from many long distance trails all over the world. There are some features on this one that the TA App doesn’t have so most people use a bit of both.
It also uses GPS to show my location and I can share it via email and text. Photos can be uploaded and accessed by everyone using the app. So if I am not sure that I am in the right place I can look at photos from the app.