My husband Tim has finished his Te Araroa Trail, so I have asked him to summarise.
So, how does it feel to have arrived in Bluff?
I feel a sense of relief; a sense of achievement.
What were the high and low points of the trail?
The high points were numerous – 90-mile beach; the Timber Trail in the Waikato; the spectacular country of the Raitihii and Lake Tekapo; the coastal walk of Mungawhai Heads.
What I would call the ‘forest fetish’ of the Trail – numerous forests of questionable value as walks – for me, that was a low point, as I prefer Big Sky country.
I loved meeting so many like-minded people and hearing their stories. My admiration for the 18-30-year-olds who did the trail with such enthusiasm for their country is sky high. I also enjoyed the kindness of strangers.
What did you learn about yourself?
That I’m bloody-minded – so what’s new? People ask what deep philosophical thoughts I had as I walked, but my mind was generally on the trail I was walking and the food I could eat that day!
What were the physical changes in you?
My feet will take a while to recover, mainly because it was wet underfoot, but my knees are stronger. My body has benefitted, though I have lost 14 kilos. I do have a residue of tiredness though, due to the sheer physicality of the day-to-day.
What would you do differently?
I made the mistake of thinking it was like an expedition, whereas this trail requires more an understanding of the mind – a tougher mentality. It challenged me in a way I didn’t expect, due to the constant daily routine of the trail.
Evaluation of the trail itself?
Sometimes it seemed to do things just for the sake of doing them – there were strange loops which seem twee, for example, reaching Bluff and then walking over Bluff Hill in order to make the 3,000 k mark.
However, the prescribed nature of the trail led me to places I would not have gone, and therefore some interesting discoveries.
Overall, it is recognised as one of the harder long-distance trails in the world, so as a challenge that’s a good thing.
And now for the two questions people are asking me:
Will he put on a show-and-tell as he did after his South American bike trip, as a charity fundraiser?
I’ll be happy to if it is wanted
What is he planning for his next adventure?
Watch this space!