When I started this walk it was with huge apprehension. The magnitude of the task would daunt anyone. But as Cookie mentioned, I wasn’t exactly the most physically able of people! A few years ago I was unlucky enough to find myself quite seriously ill. Climbing the stairs in my own house was not always possible. And of course I lost substance to my muscle tissue. Not jolly times. It took a several years to get back on track. Very tough, but i made it :) And very importantly, i learned that, one step at a time and you’ll get there in the end. An excruciatingly cheesy statement, but an extremely valuable one. Patience and determination go a long way. And so, a few years later, and by now going out with someone who likes to take a ‘casual stroll’ to continental proportions, the inevitable was put on the table. “Fancy doing a long trail?”. A pretty terrifying proposition! And so, setting out on this epic adventure, I had no idea if I could even last a week! :) Seriously. And now, I just can’t really believe we’re stood at the end. I must be dreaming.
The big thing I must say is the biggest, most enormous, thank you to Cookie. For his unmatchable experience, and patience. For creating all 3000km and more of maps. For being the voice of wisdom and encouragement. And for carrying both the tent, stove, and actually nearly all the food, pretty much everything(!), so that I would have a fighting chance to experience this indescribably amazing journey. There’s no way I could even have imagined considering taking on this, frankly, crazy expedition if it wasn’t for Cookie! And so it’s him I have to thank for getting me all this way. Pretty flippin’ awesome. Thank you xxx
I just want Cookie to know how much I appreciate what he’s done for me :)
Planning – CDT resources are a bit fragmented, you get the maps from one guy, the guide from someone else, the town notes from a different source, none of which are actually the people responsible for building the trail. Te Araroa Trust on the other hand have done a brilliant job of bringing everything together in one place, their website. Route descriptions, maps and town info constantly updated – awesome jobs guys!
Doing the Miles – The Trail along the Rockies was much more consistent, we found we could do similar milages day in day out. Whereas on the Te Araroa the terrain is so varied it was much harder to predict how far you could get in a day. The reason I suppose DOC does all their signposts in time rather than distances?
Route Finding – I found navigation much easier on Te Araroa, it’s not completely signposted, but it’s not far off. DOC has done an amazing job of nailing Orange triangles to all those trees! On the CDT we crossed half of Colorado in snow so deep couldn’t see any trail, just following compass barings for weeks on end. There was nothing remotely as challenging as that!
Scenery – Te Araroa wins this hands down without a doubt. New Zealand is A W E S O M E :)