[This was written when the adventure was due to start, and I’ve left it here, complete, for posterity.]
When I first read about Te Araroa (the trail that stretches from New Zealand’s Cape Reinga to Bluff) I thought “I want to do that one day”.
That day has arrived. Well, 21 November 2010 anyway.
The best response I’ve had so far has been from a lady I’d just met. When she heard my plans to take 4-5 months to walk 3,000km she looked at me and said earnestly “Don’t you have a car?”
Most people are very supportive and encouraging. They understand I’m about to embark on an adventure I’ve been longing to do for nearly ten years, and seem to draw inspiration from the challenges it brings. Perhaps they’re just glad they’re not facing the blisters!
Another thing about me: I hold a senior national volunteer role for SCOUTS New Zealand. Therefore, whilst this is not a trip to raise funds, I would love to wave the flag for this amazing 102-year-old organisation and where possible, promote SCOUTS along the way.
Also, if you have a moment, spare a thought for the wonderful Te Araroa Trust. They have toiled for years (with limited funds and resources) to establish this national walkway, and are on the verge of completing it. I’m sure next year’s official launch will be a doozy!
Why have I called this site My Adventure Plus? The tag-line for SCOUTS NZ is ‘Adventure Plus’ because that’s what we offer Kiwi youth – adventure, and a whole lot more besides. Walking Te Araroa is my adventure, and then some!
If you’d like to be a part of this adventure, there are 3 things you could do to help me out:
1. Encourage a friend to subscribe to this blog, or connect with me on Facebook (facebook.com/smilingstuart). The more people who follow my exploits, the happier my sponsors will be and the bigger the promotion for SCOUTS.
2. Put aside some coins, keep adding to them, and when there are quite a few, simply click the ‘donate now’ button above and send me a dollar or twenty so that I don’t have to walk a month on an empty stomach! 🙂 Yes, I’ve had to toss in my job to achieve this dream… [If you donate more than $50 you’ll receive a copy of the limited edition – just 200 copies -, individually numbered and signed book I’m intending to write after I stop walking.]
3. Post a message of support! Your words encourage me, and I’m sure will help when the trail seems never-ending. Thanks!
Wahoo!!! I do believe I remember you talking about this during a Boaters Toastmaster meeting (or else I am just making that up).
You have a good memory! I know I’ve been thinking about this adventure for many, many years – ever since reading Geoff Chapple’s book Te Araroa. This will be something I will look back on in years to come and go “yeah!” Thanks for your Wahoo! of support 🙂
Fantastic Stuart- life is for living, so go for it!
Thanks Karen! 🙂
What an awesome adventure you are pursuing! I hope you can update us with where you will be, so we can cheer you on as you pass by our towns and give you a sandwich if you need one 🙂 All the best
Will do Tracy – sandwiches are always welcome 🙂 In fact, I’m attempting to source even more ‘supplies’ sponsors to help fill my tummy along the way… know any yummy (preferably Kiwi) companies keen to promote their wares?
Your website caught my eye. I’ll be following in your footsteps next year. I wanted to start hiking it this year but didn’t have enough time to plan for it. I’ll be ready next year though. I’m interested in finding out what you think of the bodypack system. Sounds as though you like it so far. Interesting!
Enjoy the trail!!
Thanks for connecting Kenyon!
In hindsight, a bit more time to plan would have been good, but sometimes timing is simply “do it now!”.
Will certainly keep you posted on here what I think of the gear I’m using. Reckon I’ve got a pretty good mix.
I think what your doing is incredible Stuart! There will be great days and also not so great days…so keep digging deep and drawing on inspiration. T.S. Eliot said “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” So risk it and see…All the best for the discovery that lies ahead!
Thanks Steph! Oh, I’m finding out how far I can go all right, only the next day I can’t seem to repeat the process 😀 the accumulative effects of big distances are yet to be mastered…
having just found out what you are doing i don’t feel as bad for giving you such a hard time on the dance floor!! If only i had known earlier, i would have put my P.T.I hat on and given you a beasting – LOL. well done for what you are doing and when things get tough remember that famous elephant joke….(how do you eat an elephant? 1 bite at a time). i hope you got my email about our offer of some immune boosting supplements to help you with your task? Good luck and i will be following your progress. if you need anything when you get to Hamner (my nearest town) let me know and i will try to oblige. Oh, and don’t forget that talking to yourself is not as good as singing out loud!
enjoy, endure, embrace, have fun!!!
janine (from ceroc)
You should always feel bad for giving me a hard time on the dance floor Janine! 😀
Why have elephants got big ears? …..because Noddy wouldn’t pay the ransom. Bo-da-bing! 😉
Thanks for your email, I will respond very soon (wading through the messages currently).
It’s not the talking to myself that is concerning… it’s the intelligence of the answers which scare me!
I read about what you’re doing in the ‘Good Living’ pull-out of the Chch Press. Good article and good one. And I reckon instigating Plan C is a great idea (just read your latest entry about the blister etc). Being adaptable and making the trip sustainable for your body in the long term makes real good sense I reckon. Keep pursuing that dream though 🙂
Thanks Tess! The dream… hmmmm… easy to forget what that is when back in the world of comfy beds, fridges full of food at easy reach and entertainment (TV) at the push of a button. Still, I’m sure the walking-bug will hit again soon (physio booked for today) and I’ll be back amongst the trees, mozzies, sunburn and sleeping in the tent! 😀
Dear Stu, well, by the time you receive this, many sleeps would have passed since we last connected; the big fat red fella would have come & gone; & we now read that you are well into your footprint trek – awesome stuff fella & we know you will enjoy the experience beyond your imagination :0) We leave Dubai at the end of March to walk from Istanbull to Gallipoli for Anzac Day – then head to Spain to walk the 800km Carmino de Santiago … any tips you can pass on, apart from the fact we should return home to follow in your footsteps :0) Enjoy bud, enjoy …
Hmmmm… where do I start? Apart from suggesting that I come and join you 😀
I’ll put my thinking cap on and create “Stuart’s Top 10 Tips for Long-distance Hiking” and flick through to you soon.
On a bonus, I don’t think Spain has gorse!
Good to see you change your shoes, now and then. When you get to Methven, you may want to give give us a ring 021 252 8660 and we can try to get some scouts and leaders to walk with you. There are lots of offers of a bed and some real food (not tramping stuff). Happy Scouting. Lori
Awesome Lori – some non-tramping food and a real pillow would be FANTASTIC! 😀
Hey so glad you made it safely through Waiau Pass! After our cold wet rainy day sheltering in Blue Lakes Hut together we followed you as far as Lake Constance but that was enough for us as we are fair weather trampers and were happy to get back to Blue Lake where thankfully the weather had cleared………..we could see you had a long cold blizzardy journey ahead (in those light shoes!) so good on you for making it
with dry feet we hope!
All the best for the rest of your adventure!
Di and Annabel
Did you see me waving at you from on top of that first bluff I had to climb? I thought it might have cleared for your return journey – I could see blue sky just above the snowy clouds I was dealing with. Dry feet?? I wish! My shoe-lace loops got all iced up and there were multiple river-crossings on the way to Caroline Bivy, for the coldest night of the trip so far (no fireplace). Not that the mouse minded much as it explored my gear… 😉
Hey, fantastic!! Nice to see your site. Megan here, stopped and offered you a lift near Otira yesterday. I’m quite inspired by your journey, so thanks for that! Maybe one day I will do it too! Hope you keep enjoying our stunning country.
Hiya Megan! Stopping twice (once in the car, once online) for me in two days? That’s appreciated! 😀
Hope you’ve had a fab time cruising around down south after your conference… good luck with the house renovation!