I have finished the Trail exactly a month ago now, and it is still very vibrant and big in my mind, my heart, my soul .
This is the biggest thing I have even done in my life, and even if I embarked on this journey solo, this would not have been possible without the help and support of many many awesome people. So I want to say THANK YOU.
Special Thanks to:
Geoff Chapple and the Te Araroa Trust for having made the Trail come to Life and for working so hard on it.
A big Thank You to my parents, who had to put up with another one of my crazy ideas. It is not enough that I am on the other side of the planet, I also had to walk the length of a country! Thank You for your endless love and patience! I love You!
Glenn Thomas, my physiotherapist from The Physio Clinic in Motueka. Thank You for following me during the few months of my preparation for the Trail and getting me ready after my shoulder and my knees gave signs of weakness not long before leaving. Also for being so readily available when I was on the trail and asking you for some advices. And of course, thank you for you perpetual enthousiasm and love of hiking. It was so comforting to be able to talk with someone outside of the Trail who yet understands what this is all about.
Fred and Sarah Van Kleef, owners of Patisserie Royale in Motueka. I want to thank you for everything you have
done for me. In general for having me at the bakery and all the good times I lived there with such a wonderful crew these last few years, and in particular for all the help and support you have given me during the preparation of the Trail. Things like staying in your sleep out have made my life so much easier before leaving for the trail and when I was half way into it, when I came back to Mot for a few days.
A huge Thank you to all my friends in Motueka:
William and Helen for generously taking my shopping list with them to the USA and taking the time to get for me the gear I needed there and bringing it back to Motueka. And also for the ride from the Trail to Motueka and back. Will, Thank You for being there for me when I called you in my low moments on the Trail, and for knowing me so well and knowing what I needed to keep on trucking.
Chris for being such a best friend before I left on the Trail. Our “missions” gave me a taste of the freedom I would get on the Trail. For looking after my stuff while I was away and for being such an awesome “support crew”, wether on the material or moral side of things. I am extremely grateful for all the help you have provided.
All the friends from the bakery and the market and everyone else… Daisy, Pimmy, Emma, Judith, Angela, Tere, Pato, Sabrina, Christine … Thanks to you all, I truly feel at home in Motueka and I want you to know that no matter how long I’m gone for, you guys are all deeply in my heart!
Thank You as well to all the people I met along the way :
The Trail Angels:
-Olly Lancaster for the ride to Cape Reinga. -Jimi Hart for your hospitality, the comfort of your beautiful housetruck and imperishable cheerfulness !!!! - Matthew and Tracy from Whananaki Holiday Park. It was so good to stay in the Nak’d Inn and have a good meal with good people after a loooong day of walking. - Hilton and Melva from the Riverbank B&B in Ngunguru. Thanks for letting me and other hikers pitch our tents in your frontyard! -Andy and his family looking after the Tidesong B&B for helping Faby and I cross the Taiharuru Estuary on a little dinghy. - Douglas Chowns from McKenzie Bay for letting me camp in his garden and for turning my day around after one of my scariest moment on the Trail on top of Mt Lion. - Jen Rummy for giving Rory and I a ride back to the Trail from Whangarei. - Mandy who generously offered Rory, Edwin and I to pitch our tent in her backyard at the end of the Govan-Wilson Road. - The nice couple camping with their very young daugther at Kaniwhaniwha Campsite and who offered Patrick and I some roasted marshmallows - Craig Hope and his daughter Emily from Raglan for “rescueing” two wet, cold and tired hikers (Patrick and I) and taking us to their place for a very nice evening! - Maurice Louis and his wife Monika from the Art Doc Gallery in Bennydale, for an awesome evening at their place, and the opportunity for me to catch up with friends, and listen to some french music and dance waltz!!!
- The principal at Ngakonui School for letting Patrick and I camp in the schoolyard. - Dave and Caroll from the Huntly Holiday Park, the cabin was a nice place to take a day off! - Ray and Josie from Kelly’s Motel in Taumarunui for making us feel so much at home. - The jet boat driver on the Wanganui River who offered us to pitch our tents in his sheep paddock - Arthur and Suzie near Bulls for the nice chat on their porch. - The woman on Gladstone road for the weather forecast before heading into the Tararuas ans for the refreshing glass of orange juice - Mickael and his wife Jo for the ride from Lake Coleridge to Methven in order to go around the Rakaia River. - Linda and Elaine in Clearwater for giving me advices on how to cross the Rangitata River and some extra food! - Sarah from Lake Hawea Holiday Park for the nice fluffy duvet that kept me warm in my tent during that very cold night, and for walking with me a bit along the river - Don from Colingwood who was driving aound on his farmbike to check out the river, and who gave me two beers in Boundary hut. - LLoyd Esler from the Invercargill City Council for taking the time to meet Patrick, Eef, P-J and I to give us the commemorative plaque of the Te Araroa…
Thank You as well to the people I met along the way who didn’t have anything to do with the Trail, but who nevertheless are now part of my story :
Linh (who shared the Wanganui Journey with some TA hikers and who I met again in Hanmer Springs), Vaughan (met in Hanmer Springs) Ana (met on the Travers-Sabine Circuit), Rob (met on the Travers Sabine Circuit AND who I met again completely by chance on Stewart Island), Marta (met in Wellington and with whom I shared the Cook Strait crossing on the ferry) Steve (met in Bealey Hotel) Daniel (met in Pakihuti Hut).
Thank you to all of you who are following my blog, sending encouraging messages and news from wherever you are … This journey would have made a lot less sense if you had not been there to listen …
And of course, A HUGE Thank You to all the Te Araroa Thru-hikers, you guys are awesome. You are family. I know I will see you again someday.
in the meantime, I wish you happy Trails!! (because there will be others).
“Happiness is only real when shared” …