Well, after a week of getting back into the swing of things, it’s time to turn my attention to blogging about our trip to New Zealand.
It’s funny though. When I think about all that we did while we were there, it can be a little hard to really convey my feelings about the whole trek.
So, I’ll do my absolute best to convey exactly what I took away from this trip.
Once the trip was over and we took ourselves down to Wellington for a few days of R & R, I had a five-hour bus ride to reflect.
I think the best two words to describe how I felt afterwards are satisfied and awe.
Satisfied because everything we had planned for came off without any serious issue.
This time, I felt, we were much more prepared, educated and more experienced than when we last went.
Don’t get me wrong, our first trip, aside from those two days, was an absolute success. However, getting lost in another country can be a little daunting.
And losing one of your company for a day even more so.
But this time everything went to plan and I really couldn’t have asked for anymore.
The great thing about travelling with guys like Keith and Matt is that I know what I am in for when I go hiking with them.
Both are fairly calm guys who rationalise everything and are willing to compromise when necessary.
They also know their limits and aren’t willing to put their own interests/wants ahead of the collective.
Secondly, I’m in awe of what we were able to do over the 13 days we were out there.
By no means is what we did the be all and end all, but the terrain we covered and the kilometres we did over consecutive days was nothing short of intense.
To give you a quick insight into how this trip was laid out, particularly if you were following us on social media, Keith was never going to hike with us on the first three days on the road.
He suffered a knee injury in early 2017 and it was touch and go as to whether he was going to be able to come along.
He saved his knee for the forest trails and Mount Ruapehu, whilst taking the bus on the days that Matt and I were walking on the road.
This proved to not only preserve his knee for the more scenic parts of the hike, but he was also a semi-support crew for us on those first three days.
In total, we walked a little over 270kms from December 27th to January 8th (with a day off on January 2nd), and at no point did I feel exhausted.
In fact, it was quite the opposite.
One strategy we had in place was to get up at 6am and leave by 7am; so we would avoid the hottest part of the day and allow us to recover longer if necessary.
The first three days Matt and I had already smashed out 82kms (30, 22, and 30) in some pretty intense heat.
The first morning we got away at 6:30am and was done by just before 1:30pm. And that was including an hour break for lunch and 2 x 15-minute breaks for snacks.
My pack was already heavy and by this stage, I was fearful of what it was going to be like when we picked up our first food box on December 30th.
But, to my surprise, not only did I get everything into my bag, it didn’t feel much heavier.
I think one thing that I am most proud of about this trip and the two guys that I went with, was our ability to adapt.
On January 5th were scheduled in to hike the first third of the 42 Traverse and 17kms of road.
However, an incoming downpour prevented us from doing the Traverse that day and we could only get as far as a town called Owhango.
But we were quick to come up with not only a Plan B, but a Plan C, D and E of how we would get to the Tongariro National Park.
It might seem like such a simple thing, but our ability to react and have it sorted fairly quickly gave me overwhelming confidence that we would finish this with no issues.
And lastly, but certainly not least, was the hike up to Mount Ruapehu.
Yes, we didn’t make it to the top (we were short 100m), but it’s not an easy 8km hike and after 260 or so kilometres prior, it was great that we were all able to get up there without any issue.
What I Learnt During The Trip
- My body is far more capable than what I sometimes give it credit for
- Stretching every morning, at every break and at the end of the day is absolutely key when you’re attempting a hike such as this
- Starting early in the morning has plenty of upsides
- My reactionary skills in the outdoors are better than what I thought
- I am grateful for having two friends who are such capable and confident hikers
- Those two friends and I talk so much crap on the trail it would actually make your head spin 😉
- I have truly found my calling in life – the outdoors