The great joy of road tripping is watching the beautiful scenery, the green hills and ranges roll by from the car window. One of the kids asked if we could keep driving, I'm surprised that was a request after all that time in the car. We might have to revisit that road trip around Australia...
24/2/17, Day 78, 10/1864km
Every day gets better and better and better. We walk these ridges in utter disbelief, catching flies, thriving in the sun and cruising these groomed and manicured alpine trails. This is what I’ve been wanting, for so long. This is what I wanted to do, to see if this was me, to see if this is who I was. It is; I feel alive. It’s exhausting hoisting this bag with 7 days of food up and down these 1000m plus climbs every day but I still find myself running to summits to catch the sunset and out late gazing at the stars.
We earned this, too. Not to say that anyone who didn’t do the north island wouldn’t appreciate this the same but we pressed through 1700 kilometers of mud, blood, sweat and tears, mountains with no trails and no views, cities with unforgiving road approaches and terrible, terrible weather, to get here; It’s invigorating. All the stress, all the trauma from the north softly fades as we walk along the ridge skirting from summit to summit as the sun gently set and painted the world gold, as we found it to be. I feel like I’m gently grasping a concept of realty that I used to know and holding it gingerly as I explore every inch of it, stifled with nostalgic curiosity. It’s amazing what some summits and sunshine can do for you.
The Richmond Ranges, one of the highlights of the Te Araroa. We were very fortunate to have such spectacular weather, many trampers we spoke to weren't so lucky. In cloudy or stormy weather the stunning views like these would be hidden. Two of our good friends even encountered a snow storm and had to wait out a few days in a hut. Be careful while tramping this section. Come prepared with extra food and a realistic expectation as to how far you can go each day. For most hikers their usual kms per day were cut in half and many had to wait for a flooded river to go down or a storm to pass #awalshlife
The view behind Starveall hut was one of our favourites. This was the first hut in the Richmond Ranges. An infamous section that still haunts many a Te Araroa hiker. Don't get me wrong this was one of the most beautiful sections but possibly the hardest on the whole trail #awalshlife
Climbing Little Rintoul (1643m) and Mount Rintoul (1731m) was one of the biggest personal challenges on the whole Te Araroa Trail. From Old Man hut to Rintoul hut it's only a mere 5km but the average walking time is 5 hours. It is rocky, rugged and exposed. Both descents have steep scree slopes to go down and both ascents are rock climbing at times. We were travelling with a group through the Richmond Ranges and each faced our fears at different times. Yes there were tears and meltdowns but we all worked together in summiting both Mountains 🏔 One of the craziest but best experiences of my life.
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