Earthquakes: should I hit the road again?

This afternoon Christchurch was rocked by 5.5 and 6.0 magnitude earthquakes.

The biggest quake I felt on Te Araroa was when I was cooking dinner, sheltered under the entrance-way of the public toilet at Lake Coleridge, out of the rain. Wobble, wobble…

Obviously, today I was much closer to the epicentre. They were sudden, violent and lingering shakes. Thankfully, being on the western side of the city the house I am staying in suffered no damage. Power stayed on, no liquefaction, no breakages.

It disrupts your day. The work I had hoped to complete grinds to a halt as internet connections drop and cellphones don’t work. Your distracted mind wanders to friends in other parts of town and wonder how they have fared. You imagine the central city covered in dust again as fragile buildings succumb to the further shakes. Your heart goes out to the demolition crews who would have been amongst the barrage…

It’s a similar feeling to when I was miles away from home in February: helpless.

Why do I stay? Because it’s home.

I’m fortunate that I haven’t lost a home or lost loved ones or had to shovel silt. I’ve started to work remotely – not dependent on my location – so I could easily move my stuff to another part of the country. Yet I have friends here. I have (ageing) family here. I ‘know’ the city – I love being able to drive around, confident in my route.

The vision I have in my mind is a future Christchurch vibrant with creative energy, a technological gem, a melting pot of learning and playing and arts and family and nature. A city positioned as a must-visit destination for every traveller. A city spotlighted for its ‘can do’ (and ‘did!’) attitude. A city leading the world in urban design and people-friendly living.

I just hope these continuing earthquakes don’t scare off the people who can help make this happen…

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Limited edition copies almost gone

Personally signed and numbered, limited edition copies of my in-progress book are still available. However there’s just 24 left!

It won’t simply be a re-hash of the blog posts I’ve put up. It will be a warts-and-all-and-blisters-too account of the 88 days I spent walking 2,300km from Cape Reinga to (almost!) Bluff.

It won’t be: Day 1, walked. Day 2, walked some more. Day 3, blister forming and did some walking.

Plus, I’m hatching an idea for a very special add-on item which you won’t want to miss.

To everyone who has already placed their order, an enormous THANKS! If you’d like to grab one of the remaining two dozen, simply click the ‘donate’ button at the right of this page and flick me $50. Too easy.

FYI: I’m working to a pre-Christmas production deadline, so it should be ready for under-the-tree…

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I miss the Trail

Wake. Toilet. Eat. Pack. Walk.

For 88 days this was my morning routine. Simple, huh?

Sure there were other things to think about, like the weather and the route and my aching body and my gear and the cashflow and the list goes on…

Yet this over-riding simplicity of ‘walking’ is something I now miss.

For suddenly I have a multitude of things to focus on:

  • I’ve started an exciting new role with Total Media Magic.
  • I have a manuscript to complete.
  • I have a speaking career to develop and promote.
  • I’m back in full swing with Scout executive board and training team commitments.

It’s proving a challenge to not feel overwhelmed by the growing ‘to-do’ list. I’m doing my best to think of it as a ‘ta-da’ list 🙂

It’s strange being back in a world dictated by the clock, having to be places at specific times instead of letting the hours of daylight be my marker.

It’s weird to know I have boxes of possessions waiting for me once I decide where to live (and can afford to do so) yet continue to manage with the bare basics.

It’s scary seeing how complicated life is for some people.

I’m going to aim for ‘simple’.

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Adventure on hold

The decision has been made – I’m hanging up my walking shoes.

It’s been a fascinating (which is a euphemism for: emotional, crappy, euphoric, tumultuous, frustrating) process of recuperation. Being on the sidelines waiting for my shin to recover has messed with my mind and created some dark days and some sunny days.

I refuse to wait with my life on standby any longer.

  • I want to give my leg time to heal fully with no pressure to recommence a physically demanding trek by a certain date, especially with the weather now rather unfavourable.
  • I want to dedicate effort to writing the book without the shadow of “But how will it end?” looming overhead.
  • I want to get stuck into another couple of opportunities (I might even call them ‘adventures’ in their own right) that have presented themselves.
  • I want to get back to a financially healthy position.

Will I end up completing the remaining 700-ish kilometres to Bluff? Only time will tell, as that is another decision for another day.

Some of you will applaud my choice. Some will frown. Only a couple of people (long-distance walkers themselves) will fully understand.

Either way, I truly appreciate your support and encouragement. Thank you.

It’s certainly been an adventure ‘plus’…

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Feet stop, mind races: help please!

Today is Day 16 not-walking. Well, I’m not bed-ridden but wearing a moonboot kills any chance of hiking 30km today. Or tomorrow.

Dr Mel is quietly happy with my progress. She gave me some big words to describe my shin: tibialis anterior tendinitis. That means ‘irritated tendon’.

Turns out Dr Mel’s colleague – who ranked my injury as “one of the most severe” cases she’s seen – was none other than Dr Deb, who is team doctor for the All Blacks. She was surprised I could walk at all, but when she said it might take up to four weeks to come right, I don’t think I registered the timeline.

Yet four weeks (if not longer) is now a distinct possibility. If I decide to be pig-headed and carry on regardless, I run the risk of doing permanent injury. That would mean my next forty years of hiking, dancing and tennis would be toast, which is unacceptable. Consequently, I’m following Dr Mel’s instructions.

A number of potential actions are swirling around my brain:

  • I hang up my shoes and call the adventure over. I always said this trek was to “see if I can walk Cape Reinga to Bluff” and whilst I’ve walked a very, very long way, it would seem that I might not be able to go the distance. [As much as it feels like “I’m almost there” – and I greatly appreciate the supportive comments which reflect that – please remember I still have 600-700km to go. That’s a big walk in its own right, let alone in winter.]
  • I press ‘pause’ and resume where I left off once warmer (and safer) weather conditions return in the spring/summer, sticking to the Te Araroa route. My intuition tells me this isn’t a good idea.
  • I rest up for 2-3 weeks more and then modify the intended route, sticking primarily to roadsides (instead of going back-country) and make a bee-line for Bluff. I would need a support person in a campervan or an arranged sequence of hosts who could pickup/dropoff since I don’t see carrying a full, heavy pack to be a wise idea.

I’m curious – what would you do? Your goal is threatened. Your physical health is not 100%. Your bank balance is less than zero. The season is against you. What would you do?

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Pictures that make me smile

Our planet is bursting with beautiful, memorable sights…

Cameron Hut, up the Hurunui River between Lake Sumner and Harper Pass.

Upper Taramakau River as seen from Harper Pass.

Looking down the Otira River towards Aitkens.

There's not mush-room under there! 😀

New Zealand's very first hydro-electric power station: Lake Coleridge.

No risk of peeing in the wrong place at the 'Hamilton Hilton', Hamilton Creek.

Lagoon Saddle Shelter, along the Harper River.

Keeping on track.

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Intense rest is pretty intense

And yes, the facial fuzz has been removed 🙂

For a week I’ve been sporting this stylish ‘moonboot’ to restrict the flex in my right ankle and help me with “intense rest”. Doctor Mel at SportsMed, though impressed at how fast the severe swelling has gone down, has ordered another week of this stylish footwear. Then she reckons I might need some physio to get it limbered up and strong again.

So that means my let’s-rush-to-beat-the-really-cold-weather plans are blown out the window. It’ll be June before I get close to Bluff now! Brrrrrr.

It almost feels like I need to regroup and treat the Arundel to Bluff segment (all 700km-ish of it) as a completely separate adventure. The game is changing as the season changes…

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