So I walked Te Araroa...
I'm back in Auckland. Having hiked (almost all) Te Araroa, from Cape to Bluff.
Turns out keeping a blog on trail is flippin' hard work! There is almost no time to think let alone write on trail, and the lack of internet plus the frustration of typing on a tiny phone keyboard meant that my hopes to keep blog posts coming live from the trail failed monumentally.
But one thing that was apparent to me on the trial is that I did want to write it down. So alongside the instagram account I kept up, I've decided to write up my experiences retrospectively. I did keep notes on trail and I'll use them along with the few thousand pictures I took to help remind me what happened and how I felt.
Looking back at the trail in its entirety I'm still not quite sure I've come to terms with what I've just done. I remember being in Queenstown, and zooming out from the little section of map on my phone and actually seeing the whole of New Zealand and the little blue dot that was me and thinking; blimey! Maybe this is quite a big thing I'm doing.
The trail tested me in so many ways, some expected and many unexpected. I faced more challenges than, at times, I thought I could face but I made it to Bluff, and had a blast getting there!
My time on TA taught me a few things too. I learnt about NZ's plants and wildlife, I learnt about the generosity of it's people and I learnt a few hard truths about myself too.
Coming back to the real world, and the hustle and bustle that is Auckland life, I already miss the simplicities of the trail. I miss the laughter. I miss the companionship of silence, and the friends I walked with. I miss reading hut book entries, and unbelievably... I miss the supermarket shopping! Boy, I thought it was stressful on trail but back in the real world where you have to decide what you want to eat and it can be different every night, I've found myself suddenly overwhelmed by shopping!
Te Araroa may well have been the best six months of my life to date. I met some of the best people, and saw a fair bit of the country. Despite it being tough, and the multiple times I would scream some incoherent variation of "f**k!" at the path in front of me, whenever anyone asks, I've never hesitated to recommend the trail. Get out there and do it. Sections, thru or even a day. Get out, meet people and enjoy what the trail provides.