Twig Adventures

Day 2: Bring on the beach

December 4th Twighlight Beach campground (km12)-Maunganui Bluff Campsite (km41) Mileage: 18mi/29km It was the first full day of mostly beach walking on Ninety Mile Beach, a stretch of beach that is actually only 50mi/80km long. It feels like 90 miles when you have to walk it. I woke around 4am, still feeling the effects of jetlag, so I worked on my blog and enjoyed the sunrise/moonset. My abode for the next 4 months. I decided to take a lazy morning, figuring I would have plenty of time to make it the 29kms to The Bluff campsite, not to be confused with Bluff, the end of the trail over 3000 km away still. I chatted with Shannon, giving pointers on how[…]

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Day 1: The perfect start

December 3rd Cape Reinga Lighthouse(0)-Twighlight 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. 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 think[…]

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Day 0: Auckland bonus

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 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 great idea a little bit of slack-packing turned out to be. There[…]

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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 summer. For me, already being a bit of a twig, that is a lot of weight. I[…]

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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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