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Te Araroa Trail – the How and Why - Part #2 -THE HOW-

HOW? Well… by putting one foot in front of the other, again and again I guess..

ok, just kidding…

Having the fantasy of walking the length of New Zealand and dreaming while looking at some websites and some maps are one thing… getting ready for it is another … and needless to say, I am much better at the former than the latter … and I am also the queen of procrastination .. so even if I commited into doing the Trail a few months ago, I am now,just a few days before departure, still not quite ready to go… Preparing such a far-ranging project is a lot of work and organisation, and requires a lot of thinking ahead. What gear to use; what type and how much food; where, when and how to resupply; where to camp and how to stay safe… all those aspects need to be well prepared in order to have a safe and successful through-hike.

… or I could follow John Muir’s free spirit and just ” throw some tea and bread into an old sack and jump over the back fence”…

but I need a bit more organisation …

So here’s a few aspects I had to work on before heading out.

GEAR : I am only giving a list of items that would potentially be of interest for other hikers. So it is not an exhaustive list.

Pack: - AARN Featherlite Freedom Bodypack

Shelter and Sleep: - tent: Contrail Tarptent - Sleeping bag: Z Pack 20 Degrees - Sleeping Mat: Thermarest ProPLus - Silk Liner: Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Plus

stove, pot, water filter and water bottles

Cooking and Water: - Stove: MSR Pocket Rocket - Pot: REI Campware mess kit - Waterfilter: Katadyn Hker Water Filter - Water bottles: Platypus Soft bottles (x3) Navigation and safety: - Personal Locator Beacon: Fast Find 220 - GPS: Garmin etrex 20 (well… it just died on me today …) Clothes:


- Rainjacket: Earth Sea Sky hydrophobia - Insulation: MacPac Pulsar Insulator jacket - Long underwears top and bottom: MacPac Merino 210 - shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D - hiking poles: Quechua Forclaz 500

There are still a good number of things I am not quite sure about in this list … because of the weight, or because of the bulk.. I need to have enough room left for about eight days of food, and of course I want to keep it as “light” as possible … Also, my GPS just died on me, two days before leaving … so if I can’t fix it, i just won’t take it… So I’ll go with what I have and give it a try..

safety and navigation

My biggest concern, gearwise, two days before leaving, is my camera … Being passionate about photography, it is out of the question to do such a trip without taking pictures … but the camera I own at the moment is a very heavy and bulky Nikon D300s … so it won’t go with me … So two days before leaving, I still don’t have a camera … and I must admit, that troubles me quite a bit … some last minute shopping is required there …. FOOD: For food, I’ll try to go for 1Kg of food per day at the most. I have been trying different dehydrated food options, and again, I’ll see as I go, depending on what supermarket I resupply in, and what is available. So far, here’s my “food list” I will pick and choose from: Breakfast: - Muesi and Milk powder - oats - tea “Lunch”: - Bread bun/pita bread/wrap - crackers - hummus - peanut butter - honey - sundried tomatoes - cheese Snacks: - muesli bars - nuts/seeds - dried fruits - chocolate - condensed milk - trail mix Dinner: - rice packs - Couscous - pasta packs - dried vegetables (mushrooms; peas) - noodles - cup a soup - indian meal packs

When it is possible (as in when I don’t have to carry food for too many days at once) I’ll take some fresh food, especially some fresh fruits, avocados, and some hard boiled eggs.



sorry I can’t help but laugh at that one … The story is, about 3 months ago, after having done absolutely no hiking in ages, I went for a 3 days hike in the mountains near Motueka … worried about my right knee which had given me problems with a painful kneecap … I came limping down the hill, with a very sharp pain in my LEFT knee, caused by a nasty Iliotibial Band Syndrom … so I had made a very thorough training plan which included some strength excercices and a lot of stretching … and followed a bit of it … but I didn’t go too far … there are many excuses I could find to say I had no time, but that would be quite dishonest … I just didn’t do it … I have to give a big thank you to Glenn Thomas, my physiotherapist, who did a wonderful putting me back on my feet and who gave me so many helpful advices.

Now all I need to do is to take it easy, start slow and take good care of my body … and I hope that my knees will cooperate … So in the end, I know it is not really possible to have everything right before even having started to walk… so I’ll start with what I have got, and adjust along the way … I expect the first 2 or 3 weeks to be a bit harder because I might have too much weight to carry, some things missing and some useless … it is all a long learning process, and when I don’t stress out about it, I think it’s going to be quite fun…

and in the end, it is all about putting one foot in front of the other …

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