Hello world. I assumed there were still a few people out there following this blog. Sure, it has been 2 years and 11 months since we started the trail (how time flies) but it looks like we still got things to share.
Todays post is to direct you to the blog of my dear friend and work mate Rene who just started walking the trail yesterday with his brother Mike and their mate Rick (all in their 50s). I had the privilege to drop them off at Cape Reinga and now I am really enjoying walking it again in my mind thinking of them.
That brings back a whole raft of memories and the thought that it has been way to long since we have been out for an adventure. So watch this space 🙂
Also it gives me a sense that we still have unfinished business. During our walk 3 years ago we took pictures of all the amazing helpers that supported us along the way. The intention always was to post them all up to tell the world about the amazing people that made the journey possible for us . But somehow after the walk ended the daily grind took over.
So in the next few days we will post those images and the stories behind it. That’ll be fun and I hope you can forgive us for the long wait.
The other day Kirsten reminded me that our anniversary is coming up. That surprised me a little since we never celebrated such like before. But then I realised that on the 11th November 2012 Te Araroa Tatoru started out from the Cape. So we decided that the good old blog needed resurrecting for this occasion and here a little post from the two of us.
The holiday lasted a few hours and then the reality set firmly in. Staring down 90 mile beach was intimidating. Can we actually walk that far let alone walk to Stirling Point some 3000 kilometres away?
Well we have to say it was one hell of a journey, over the 4 or so months it took us to walk the long way to Bluff we experienced the country like adventurers of old, at walking pace with only what you can carry. The basics of life, mobile phones, UV water sterilisers, digital cameras, solar panels, merino underwear, you know just the basics.
It is hard to say if it was a life changing event, do events take 4 1/2 months? It was not like a holiday that is full of monuments to take pictures of and show your colleagues when you are back at work in a couple of weeks time. Here is me at Cape Reinga, here is me at Bluff, here is us at Stag Saddle.
Walking became our job, our lives for that time. We rose early, disassembled our temporary village of two tents and walked towards our next temporary village. A simple existence was had, one that revolved around the rising and setting of the sun, a desire to keep heading to our destination and our limits of food and energy. Gone were the concerns of office politics, societal pressures and those trivialities that can seem to fill our days.
To look back on it is not to search your memory for those monuments which anchor an experience. Every day was a new experience, new places were seen with every step. When we looked back along the track we came we remember the sweat, the scramble, the climbs, the descents, the tough bits and the easy bits. And that is why it is often hard to pick out a favourite place. Sure some were better than others but every day was an adventure with its monuments, trials and tribulations.
It took some time to settle back into normal life, Wellington seemed odd, our flat felt familiar but not ours and seemed massive. Our cat did not want us, she was happy to prostitute herself to anyone and everyone on the street rather than hang out with us on the couch. People appeared to be stressing over nothing, to get over-excited about nothing, they just needed to take a breath and go for a walk. That all seems like a long time ago now, work and study made sure of that.
Strange how adaptive one can be – we got faster, fitter and stronger while walking, we adapted to the experience. We got used to walking 30+ kilometres a day. We got used to sandflies (for the most part). We got used to eating porridge every day (haven’t touched it since). We got used to carrying a pack on our shoulders and felt odd without it (even putting it on now is like slipping into your favourite t-shirt). We got used to feeling absolutely exhausted at the end of the day, just to get up the next day and do it again, and again, and again. Now back in society we have adapted again to what we are doing.
And for the most part it feels like it never happened. The day-to-day rhythm has taken over and nothing in our days reminds us of that amazing experience. But then, suddenly, a memory strikes and a flood of images, feelings and sensations almost overwhelms. In that instant it’s like it happened yesterday and every little detail is relived, vivid and clear. Those are precious moments.
Would we do it again? Yes!
Has our life changed? Not sure, it is hard to see change from the inside. If it has it is the small things that have changed. It certainly cemented our relationship.
Are we mentally stronger because of it. We don’t know, some things are still hard. But in a way knowing what has already been done gives us strength.
To help us settle back into life after walking we headed to Stewart Island.
A picture was taken every day we were on Te Araroa.
Watch my beard go from stubble to bushy.
A picture was taken every day we were on Te Araroa.
Kirsten’s expressions are great!
A picture was taken every day we were on Te Araroa. Have a nosey and enjoy the video.
A couple are blurry but hey you get the idea.
That’s right people you could be the proud owner of My Te Araroa Beard and live the magic of Te Araroa over and over again.
Auction ends on Sunday and all proceeds go to Te Araroa Trust.
I have been trying to pull together a selection of my photos that tell some of the story, are interesting to look at if you weren’t there, And not too many of them. This has been difficult. But hopefully these do the North Island some justice.
|North Island Photos|
We came across many interesting creatures. Some larger than life. Some still very much alive, others not.
|Dead or Alive|
There were many different types of signage leading us on our journey, some clear, some hand made. It still amazes me that we made it to our destination. I managed to prove that I’m really not the best at following markers, but normally got us to the right place, well eventually.
|Signs of Te Araroa|
If you would like copies or to use any of these photos please ask.