Feeling a little ‘ho-hum’

Last night after I’d exploded my pack and taken over a very cute little shack for TA walkers, two other hikers arrived. They’re the first hikers who have caught up to me, and they started on Dec 8, which means they’ve been pushing big miles.

Julian is from Germany and Brian is from the states near Atlanta I think. They’re the most on schedule hikers I’ve met, knowing exactly what’s coming up and calculating exactly how much food they should be carrying for each stretch. I’m taking a very uncharacteristic relaxed approach to this trail. I carry 4-5 days of food, sleep wherever I make it to, and the only real regimented thing I do is hit the trail at 6:30am every day to beat the heat. I’m not sure if it’s all the time I’ve spent in Canada but I hate walking in the sun here. It’s so hot and burns you to a crisp within minutes, and I’m going through so much sunscreen I swear their stocks are about to rise!

Crossing the Taiharuru Estuary yesterday before reaching the walker camp:

Last night I left $20 for the guy who maintains the little hiker shack and tonight I’m at another random campsite in someone’s backyard with running water, a gas stove, outhouse, shower in the main house and some fresh produce. I gave these guys $20 too, and when I checked how much I’ve spent already in NZ I’m up to $1,200 in under 3 weeks!!! Shit! I read this trail is expensive but holy crap. I also broke another hiking pole and probably need a new pair of sandals too so the tally is only going to rise. Oh and it costs $15 to get across the next water crossing tomorrow morning, then there’s another short paddle section soon, a ferry over to Auckland, a four day paddle further south, and then two ferries to get from the North to the South Island. I had thought about paddling between the two, but I’m so overwhelmed by the costs and logistics and plain old hiking I can’t even fathom it now.

I’ve managed to find a state of contentment which is neither happy nor sad while I hike. It feels rather meditative in a way, and is allowing me to grit my teeth through the foot pain. I hiked most of the day in my fake crocs today because my small toe refused to walk inside a shoe, but I hit the most insane forest this afternoon, which forced me to wear my shoes on the 350m descent over 1km. It was horrific on my ankles and knees and was the closest I’ve come to running out of water.

I thought about quitting a lot today. A lot of this trail feels pointless, and when the roads actually bring you to a track, it’s so god damn steep and hot it’s just awful. There’s so much trail magic surrounding the trail, but it just doesn’t really feel like a trail. At the moment it feels like a suburban walk from town to town that detours up any steep hill or mountain in its path, then you either sleep on the side of the road or pay $20 to sleep in your tent in someone’s backyard. It’s all quite random really.

I’ve heard the South Island is steeper, which I can totally imagine and it turns me off hiking it completely. I keep wondering if I’m just in a shit mood and if these feelings will pass, but it’s really hard to say. The further I walk the more invested I become I guess, although today when I thought about needing to race the weather in the South Island I legitimately thought, ‘ah well, I’ll just go as far as I can.’ This is the exact opposite to the PCT. I needed to finish that trail as though my life depended on it, whereas this trail I just don’t have the same drive. I came out here to be in nature for 4 months, but I just feel like I’m on a treadmill going through the motions. What the hell is wrong with me?

I know what you’re all thinking, and trust me I’m as disappointed in the way I feel as you are, but I’m just being 100% honest in this moment, because I can’t bring myself to write anything else, and sometimes just by writing it down I can move on and feel better. In fact I already do feel slightly better just getting that off my chest. Tomorrow is a new day!

Goodnight from ‘The Green Bus Stop’ at km 394.

15 thoughts on “Feeling a little ‘ho-hum’”

  1. I’ve read quite a few TA journals over the years, and your feelings are no different to everyone else! A lot of people seem to struggle with this trail, especially the north island. Apparently the South Island begins to feel more like a ”wilderness’ experience and less of a suburban walk. Just know it’s not just you! Hang in there mate, and follow your heart. X

  2. I’d say all your feelings are legitimate, there is no obligation to enjoy the whole trail (even less so when there is so much roadwalking!). I appreciate your honesty, and enjoy that much more than if you sugarcoated the hard times. I hope you find the best way for you to do the Te Araroa – by hiking only part of it, or ditching the road walking, or by keeping hiking all of it until the very end – all very valid options!
    And I do hope that you find a solution for your feet and shoe-situation!
    Sending lots of positive vibes and encouragement to follow your heart and path!

    1. Thank you Fine! I can usually see a positive side to almost everything, which is why some of these days are such a struggle when it seems there’s no silver lining. Your note makes me want to battle through it all with greater determination! Thank you!

  3. Living in a very hot and humid area myself, I know I get very tired quickly. I think you are doing amazing, considering. I found a site that was talking about the trail – a little quote (you may have already read) “The bigger goals for the TA Trust are to have the trail really mean something to New Zealander’s both walking the trail and supporting walkers and the trail itself. That’s part of the reason the TA will never be 100% off-road. We are creating a uniquely NZ experience which involves interaction with the local people and culture as well as wilderness walking.” If you can just get through this foot pain, it might not be so bad. Try and hang in there.

    1. This is a great perspective, and I have to say my many interactions with the locals in each town have made the experience what it is. I’ll remind myself of this vision for the road sections coming up!!

  4. Having followed you all along the PCT, Rozanne, the way you feel is very understandable. This trail is grueling and taking a hugh toll on your body. If it’s not beautiful and inspiring, at least most of the time, it’s very difficult to keep motivated.

    1. Thanks for your understanding, and also for your encouragement through this trail too! You have no idea what a kind note like yours can do for my morale! 🙂

  5. Dear Rose,

    As the sun rises this morning, I find this newest post of yours true to your nature. As always, both make me smile.

    Like a rose, the colors of this sunrise burst open and spread pinks and reds and golden rays of promise. Still the thorns hide close behind. Winds of change are always close behind. Where will they take each of us ?!?

    That’s why I choose to call you “Rose” today. To honor your beauty ! The true deep kind of beauty that comes only with fresh, raw truth.

    Like a rose.

    This brings to my mind the song of the same name. And you know me…sometimes I just gotta share these touching lyrics.

    Maybe your love of walking-adventure seeking-world travel etc is just like this song.

    THE ROSE

    SOME SAY LOVE IS LIKE A RIVER
    THAT DROWNS THE TENDER REED.
    SOME SAY LOVE IS LIKE A HUNGER
    AND ENDLESS ACHING NEED.
    SOME SAY LOVE IS LIKE A RAZOR
    THAT LEAVES YOUR SOUL TO BLEED.

    SOME SAY LOVE IS LIKE A HUNGER
    AN ENDLESS ACHING NEED.
    SOME SAY LOVE IS LIKE A FLOWER
    AND YOU IT’S ONLY SEED !

    IT’S THE HEART AFRAID OF BREAKING
    THAT NEVER LEARNS TO DANCE.
    IT’S THE DREAM AFRAID OF WAKING
    THAT NEVER TAKES A CHANCE.

    IT’S THE ONE WHO WONT BE TAKEN
    THAT CAN NOT SEEM TO GIVE.
    AND THE SOUL AFRAID OF DYING
    THAT NEVER LEARNS TO LIVE !

    WHEN THE NIGHT HAS BEEN TOO LONELY
    AND THE ROAD HAD BEEN TOOOOOOOOO LONG.
    AND YOU THINK THAT LOVE IS ONLY
    FOR THE LUCKY AND THE STRONG.

    JUST REMEMBER IN THE WINTER
    FAR BENEATH THE BITTER SNOW
    LIES A SEED, THAT WITH THE SUNS LOVE
    IN THE SPRINGS…..BECOMES THE ROSE.

    ( sometimes a tiny little spider lives inside a rose…
    Be the RoseSpider )
    🌹🐜

    Keep on keepin on !

    Lyndella

      1. It is ok when your words are stuck inside your heart…
        I’ve got your back Girlio

        2018 = Another Blank Page
        🌅

  6. Hang in there girl!
    You inspired me to hike the Camino last year, ( Norte route) and I hiked the Lycian Way this year.I so enjoy your posts and the awesome photos.
    Stay safe.

  7. Roses can seem to turn their own thorns back on themselves….and this pain are those hurting you.. I am so thankful you resisted.. may your toes become proper and healed…..and not infected …. love your desire keeps on trippen’ wild…. you can feel undone and alone but we are always with you…..thank you, dear Rozanne for sharing …. and that wonderful coming back to your positive feelings … you delight me and all of us that can learn from you so much for our own being alive….you show us a better way to be… our lovely hero….. love and encourage to you…love you and who you are….From your old friend from Paradise in northern Ca…Barbie

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