hike blog

live presentation!

If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.

Erica Jong

Te Araroa, New Zealand’s Long Pathway

Friday, April 23 4:00 CST


“virtual” presentation by Midwest Mountaineering

What motivates a middle-aged woman to brave extreme weather, precarious river crossings, swarms of sandflies and epic mud?  Breathtaking scenery and a renewed sense of wonder!

Join me online for stories and images of this spectacular solo tramp of New Zealand’s 3,000 kilometer “Long Pathway,” Te Araroa.

*Also available on YouTube after the live presentation.

hike blog

TA Day 54, Hipango Park to Whanganui, (30 km) + 7 km

I wake up to a five-note song, a slight variation on Gershwin’s first prelude. I answer with the second line, but I’m utterly ignored. The moon was bright as I slept on soft grassy comfort. We both awoke to a weird creaking in the shelter, but neither bothered to investigate.

Rain seems to be a thing of the past – for now. The dock has stairs, so loading is expected to be manageable. The question is if high tide might fight us as we paddle into town.

hike blog

TA Day 49, Katieke War Moument to Whakahoro – 24 km

A curious calf comes to say hello near my camp spot at Whakahora.
A curious calf comes to say hello near my camp spot at Whakahoro.

The day opens with low hanging mist. I have to put on rain gear to pack the tent, studying the little coffin shaped dry spot in the grass that was my warm body a few moments ago. It’s a modest day’s walk, so I have plenty of time to dry my gear before packing it away on the canoe trip. I will stay in huts along the way. A small luxury, but if the day is dumping rain, it will be well worth it.

The path today is a country road doubling as a cycle path. You know you’re in farm country when you come across a jug in the middle of the road with ‘stock’ scrawled on it. I pass a barn and the shearing is on, hits of the ‘90s this time, backbeat pumping incongruously against the pastoral backdrop.

The mailbox says it all.
The mailbox says it all.
The road follows the Retaruke River all the way to where it joins with the Whanganui.
The road follows the Retaruke River all the way to where it joins with the Whanganui.
Likely the best way to slow down motorists on a farm road.
Likely the best way to slow down motorists on a farm road.

I look down a steep gorge to rapids on the Retaruke River just as a truck passes me with four red canoes, Johno, Karen’s son who made fun of me for being a “nudist,” at the wheel heading to Whakahoro. Those are ours!