Time flies, as the saying goes, and it does indeed; yet another month has gone by.
2013 started off with me getting a kina spike into my foot which required me to have a few rest days back in Auckland. I then took the bus to Hamilton to catch up with Dan, who unfortunately had a bad cold so that we stayed in Hamilton for some more days before continuing the Te Araroa trail. I gladly hitchhiked some of the road sections as blisters and some kind of tendonitis were bugging me, again. I decided to skip the Pureora Forest (about a 4 days walk) and hitchhiked to Taupo and Rotorua instead, and met up with Dan and Richy, who Dan had met in the forest, in Taumarunui. From there our river journey began; we canoed and kayaked all the way down to Whanganui. It took us 7 days and we covered 25-40 km each day. Ben (Dan’s initial travel buddy who had to take a break due to injury) joined us again and on the way we picked up another TA hiker, Dean. It was quite a nice break for our feet, yet it was a bit strange to suddenly use nothing but our arms to bring us forward. And lucky me I managed to get my foot into trouble again nevertheless; whilst not on the river I got stung by a bee.
The river is one of the Great Walks and took us through some very scenic landscapes. Once in Whanganui it meant back on the road (literally as heaps of road sections followed). The weather was dry and hot, not the best conditions for walking (on roads). We stopped in Palmerston North for three days; Dan hadn’t had a break since Hamilton, his cold was returning and some sort of tendonitis/shin splints made itself felt.
To avoid yet another long mountainous forest section (no I’m not lazy or totally unfit, but my foot is still hurting quite a bit) I’ve gone up to New Plymouth with Ben for a few days, might go to some more places before meeting the guys past the forest in a week’s time.
So there we are again. Still in the North Island. The Te Araroa trail can be a pain, especially if it comes to walking long distances on the road or badly signposted sections in some forests. It’s quite strenuous for your health (ie feet and knees in particular) and I wish it was a little more diverse (by having sections to be climbed, swum, ridden on horse, etc). But the fact that you meet amazing and like-minded nice people along the way makes up for all the ‘bad’ times.
I will continue walking from Waikanae to Wellington, take the ferry across and then hitchhike around until the end of February, as I unfortunately don’t have enough time to do the whole TA.
Here a sweet video by Dan