Twig Adventures

Day 1: The perfect start

December 3rd Cape Reinga Lighthouse(0)-Twilight Beach campground (12km) Mileage: 7.5/12km All went according to plan today and my years of preparation have finally led to my reality…hiking the Te Araroa! The bus from Auckland departed on time at 7:30 am and I sat in the front seat to get a good view and avoid getting motion sickness. I chatted with a nice kiwi man sitting next to me who was one of the bus drivers, getting a ride back home. Along the way, I checked my GPS to find that we were currently driving a part of route! I told the driver to look for me as I was walking the road in this section in a few weeks. I[…]

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Day 0: Auckland bonus

December 2nd. Auckland Harbor Waterfront to Mt Eden Mileage: 6 kms I didn’t want to stay in the hostel all afternoon, knowing I would just get really tired and want to go to bed early, further putting me off this new schedule. What’s a great cure for jet lag? Walking! How convenient that the TA goes right through the city, following the urban and historic Coast to Coast path. The isthmus here is only 9 km wide (narrowest part of the country), thus it’s possible to walk from one harbor to the other in one day. I didn’t figure I’d make it the whole way but why not knock out a few kms, especially during such gorgeous weather. What a[…]

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In-flight Updates

I’m off to a great start. In the line to board my first flight from MIA, a woman behind me said “That’s a really great pack. It’s the smallest one they make, right” I was in disbelief that anyone from Miami would recognize a Hyperlite pack, let alone someone on my flight. We had a short discussion about her plans to climb Mt Rainier with her boyfriend and my grand scheme to live out of said pack for 4 months. She’s a model on her way to a gig in Mexico City. If that doesn’t bash some stereotypes! A friendly, outdoorsy model from Miami. I love it. Then, in what was said to be a completely full flight, there was[…]

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Travel Day!

Well, it’s finally time to get this journey started! My stomach is in knots knowing all the steps involved in just getting to the trailhead. I have a 3hr connecting flight from Miami to Houston this afternoon, then a 15hr! flight to Auckland. Through the miracle of air travel, Friday Dec 1st will cease to exist for me, since I’m passing over the date-line. The flight arrives at 6 am Saturday, Dec 2nd. Talk about a red-eye! In my previous travels to NZ, I was flying from/to Hawaii and the 8hr flights weren’t near as bad. This will be my longest commercial flight yet (not including a trip on the Copenhagen-New London Coast Guard Express: 24 hrs on a very[…]

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Final preps…frontloading

As much effort that has gone into reducing the weight of my gear, I have spent the past week countering these efforts by stuffing myself with holiday food! I’m calling it frontloading. Not surprisingly, thru-hiking is an excellent way to burn calories and loose weight. Estimates put a day’s worth of hiking (about 20 miles for me, depending on the terrain) to be worth about 5000 calories. It’s nearly impossible to find the time to eat that much, let alone carry it. Thus, calorie deficits result. While not intending to, I lost nearly 10lbs in just 1 month thru-hiking the Colorado Trail this past summer. For me, already being a bit of a twig, that is a lot of weight.[…]

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Why I am hiking the Te Araroa

Te Araroa has been a dream of mine for 4 years. I have wanted to do a long-distance thru-hike for even longer. So why the TA, when there are so many great options in the USA, both logistically easier and closer to home? Well, quite simply, New Zealand is where I first refined and expanded my backpacking skills, and I want to bring it full circle in completing my first big thru-hike there. I’m not a newbie, not to NZ nor to backpacking. My resume goes back almost 20 years, starting with short overnight trips, then 4-5 days, and most recently, a full month to complete the Colorado Trail (500 miles). I’ve backpacked many other places including Hawaii, California, Florida,[…]

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Colorado Trail, Week 5, Collegiate West Section, Monarch Pass to Twin Lakes, Segments CW5-1

Day 1: August 18th, 2017, Monarch Pass to abandoned road camp, 11.5 miles, Segment CW5-4. Less that a week after finishing the trail with PBR and Sofie, I was anxious to hike the Collegiate West section that we had missed in lieu of doing the East. Hiking these extra miles would also kind of make up for having missed CT segments 7 and 21 (both of which I’ve since completed as part of the CDT). My companions had flights home but I had another week to kill. Plus, the weather looked spectacular over the next 5 days, with little to no rain! I decided to go NOBO (northbound) on this section, so I started about 5 miles from the end[…]

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Colorado Trail, Week 4, Part 2, Molas Pass to Durango, Segments 25-28

Day 28: August 9th, Molas Pass to Cascade Creek, 15 miles, Segment 25. We enjoyed the town visit but were anxious to get back on the trail early the next day. Partly because the hostel and town weren’t all that great but also because we only had 3-4 more days before we were finished! As a bonus, the weather forecast showed a little bit of a break from rain over the next few days. Let’s hit it! My companions were very ready for this trail to be done with, but I was grappling with mixed feelings. I was really enjoying myself and didn’t want it to end. I came to terms with this by telling myself I could hike the[…]

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Colorado Trail, Week 4, Part 1, Lake City/Spring Creek Pass to Molas Pass/Silverton, Segments 22-24

Day 24: August 5th, 2017, Lake City/Spring Creek Pass to Colorado Trail Friends Yurt, 9 miles, Segment 22. Thus began our last week, a full-on assault of the San Juans…or was the assault on us? We were none too eager to get back on trail after drying off in Lake City, so we compromised by booking spots at a yurt. We read in our trail notes that it was along the route, only about 9 miles into Seg 22. During breakfast, Sofie sent an email inquiring if we could book the yurt same-day. To our amazement, the manager responded right away and said there was room for us. $20 a night per person, sold. We made reservations for 4—us plus[…]

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Colorado Trail, Week 3, HWY 50 to Creede/Lake City, Segments 15-20

Day 19: July 31st, HWY 50 to Silver Creek, 18.3 miles, Segments 15-16. It’s Monday, so back to work! We had a great stay at my parent’s but were eager to hit the trail again. We started off on a very positive note. On the drive up the Arkansas River canyon, we spotted a herd of bighorn sheep. These herds are closely monitored, as they are a species of concern. We were close enough to see that several sheep were sporting tracking collars…which didn’t appear very ultralight or comfortable. Another surprise came as were were driving to the trailhead. We spotted a BAM! We all screamed his name, nearly causing my dad to veer off the road. We had last[…]

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