Why walk 1,000 kilometers?
I've been dreaming about completing a long through-hike for a couple of years now and it just so happened to be a great time in my life to do it.
I would consider myself an experienced hiker/tramper. After living in Colorado for many years I grew my passion for hiking and non-technical peak climbs. My first multi-day hikes were years ago when I walked the Inca trail with friends and went on a few overnight treks on a study abroad in Thailand. These were luxury hikes though and by no means self-sufficient backpacking trips. Over the last couple of years I completed a 5 day trek in northern India called the Hampta Pass, followed by the 14 day Mt. Everest Base Camp trek. Again, both hikes offered luxuries such as tea houses and warm cooked meals each night. It wasn't until the summer of last year that I began to truly backpack self-sufficiently. I took a couple overnight trips solo in the cascade mountain range then a 7 day backpacking trip with 2 friends in Glacier National Park in Montana. I was hooked. I spent the next couple of months working in Micronesia living next to the ocean. I spent my free time on remote islands swimming and snorkeling. Not a bad life. But when I returned to the states, as usual, I felt the mountains were calling my name again. It was here that the idea to head to New Zealand was born.
I had learned about the Te Araroa trail a couple of years ago from a very inspiring national geographic article. The article asked nature enthusiasts, authors, and athletes about their dream through-hikes. Follow the link to read it. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/lists/hiking-backpacking/worlds-best-hikes-dream-trails/ I immediately mentally cataloged this trail and I knew that I would walk it at some point in my life along with a few of the other trails mentioned in the article.
The thought of spending almost every day over the next few months in the mountains exploring New Zealand by foot was a dream come true. After a month of 'van life' in New Zealand I was ready to hit the trails.
I started the trail on January 5, 2017 at the top of the South Island and completed walking 1,000 kilometers a couple months later. Mine was not a traditional Te Araroa walk. I combined sections of the TA with other beautiful treks around New Zealand. This blog highlights most sections. Often times I opted to replace long road sections with some of the most scenic tramps in New Zealand. Other times I opted to attempt basic mountaineering climbs around the south island.
Thanks for sharing my journey with me! Please feel free to message me about any of the section hikes, preparation, gear etc. Cheers!