29km, 6.5 hours
3000km later and we’ve walked the length of New Zealand. Actually, it’s likely been 3500-4000km: distance is measured as if by satellite, without considering the vertical aspect. Trails are also measured as smooth curves, whereas we’ve zig-zagged our way on every backcountry trail. What I’m trying to say is: we’ve walked a long way to get here.
116 days. 3000+km. 5-6 million steps (or about 60,000 each day, for those of you who keep podometers). 300-400,000 extra calories burned.
Things I won’t miss:
Sandflies. These swarming insects render 2/3rds of the South Island uninhabitable. Okay, that might be a bit harsh.
Sore feet. I kind of thought walking for 100+ days, often the equivalent of a marathon would have made my legs tough as nails. True, they are pretty strong and I can walk for 10 hours a day. But that walking still hurts!
Pooping in the forest. Yep, TMI. I went there and this writing lost a lot of dignity. Just like you feel when…
Dehydrated food. Also, maybe even chocolate. We’ve had a lot of that on this trip because it’s energy dense. Yes, you can actually tire of chocolate, it just takes a lot of effort.
Dodgy water. New Zealand has some of the cleanest water in the world (eg. Blue Lake). But too often we’ve had to filter from bogs, streams that run through cow country, hut water tanks full of insects, or just over-chlorinated small town water supplies.
Things I will miss:
Endless summer. I’ve spent more time outside this summer than I ever have. Even as a kid. It connects you to nature, weather, sunsets and sunrises. It’s a great way to really experience summer, not just as a weekend thing, but all day everyday.
Adventure. Every day is a new, often unexpected adventure. Just yesterday I drove my first motorcycle as part of our trail logistics. Almost had hypothermia. Saw the world wake up on top of a 1000m cliff. Fought 100km/hour winds to cross a mountain. Forded countless rivers. And dozens of other really cool things that you don’t do in normal life.
Kiwis across New Zealand. I’ve had a chance to meet people across all geographies of New Zealand, from local fishermen, to sailors, plenty of farmers, coal miners, and characters of infinite variety. It sort of helps me put together not only a picture of New Zealand, but how all the different jobs of modern life fit together.
The views. Best explained pictorially.