Reaching halfway

This morning we hit the halfway point, km 1,500 of the Te Araroa (although I believe the total distance according to my Guthooks app is actually 3,041km).

There was no halfway marker, no register, no fanfare or real celebrations. Tom, Will and I just snapped a photo at the corner of Roberts Line and Liberty Grove in Palmerston North and kept walking.

We did however have an early celebration last night after bunking in with a trail angel to avoid the harsh storms that hit NZ late yesterday. We didn’t get as much wind and rain as expected where we were, but folks in the South Island would have been pummelled, so hopefully those in the mountains were huddled in one of the many huts along the route.

Our trail angels Gail and her husband John treated us like kings in their already busy household. They had 5 boys living in their 8 bedroom house, 4 in NZ studying abroad from Indonesia, China, Brazil and Hong Kong, while the 5th was their adopted son. We all sat at the table like a scene out of ‘The Sound of Music’ and ate mountains of food that Gail whipped up in under an hour. We were also treated to beer, wine, single malt whiskey and liquor drizzled over heaped bowls of ice cream, so it was a tough wakeup at 6am this morning to head back to the trail.

Gail is a social worker and John is a pastor at their local church. They are wonderful people who have also rescued more than a dozen retired racing greyhounds, two of which befriended us during our stay.

I cannot wrap my head around how generous some people can be. Neither Gail nor John earn a large income, they’ve raised three of their own children and dedicate their lives to looking after even more children, while opening their doors to dirty, stinking thru-hikers. These people are true angels!

Having walked over 90km on roads over the last three days we’re taking today a little easier before we head into the Tararua Ranges. We resupplied this morning at Countdown with 6-7 days of food, so all our packs are feeling a lot heavier. My pack however is feeling pretty good after shedding 2.5kg in a recent pack shakedown, which saw me sending my stove, second hat, sandals, sun shirt, t-shirt, puffy jacket, and all secondary items ahead to Wellington. I still have four out of my seven layers and am learning about cold soaking food from Tom who also travels without a stove. I’m actually eating healthier without my stove as I’ve tried to cut out excessive sugar and replace it with healthier fatty foods like peanut butter and cheese. I’m having to eat a 1kg jar of peanut butter so I can use it as a soaking bowl, and I’m almost at the point where I’m putting on weight rather than losing it thanks to all the hospitality we’ve received.

The boys are already sad that the end is coming too soon, but I know we have a long way still to go, and so many things will happen along this crazy adventure. I’ve never felt so relaxed and at peace on a trail before in my life. I’m not fussed about how far there is to go anymore or what happens in between, I’m just excited that surprises (good and bad) await me down the trail, and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be out here. Sometimes I feel guilty that I have the privilege to be doing this, but then I look at people like Tom and Will who are straight out of studying and are managing to hike the trail on a shoestring budget. We all have to go back to jobs to make money afterwards, but I think thru-hiking makes us prepared to live with less in life, and therefore filling the bank account is not our number one priority. It’s like what we carry in our packs – we only take what we need.

Happy trails! 🙂

11 thoughts on “Reaching halfway”

  1. Hi darling, congratulations by reaching halfway, you can be proud of yourself. This must have been the most trying part of this trail. Looking back at your blog, some parts might well have been the road to hell or never, never land. You are a thru hiker and your determination got you where you are now. Those trail angles and the company of the two boys helped you smile and laugh again. I must say that I have never seen such a mountain of peanut butter on a cracker, is that what you call “eating well” ha ha. Enjoy the days in the Tararua Ranges and after that the South Island should be soon in sight. Love you, Mutti xx

  2. Your comments bring home the point I reached many years ago whilst sitting atop the Tararuas many long years past, when I figured it out, that less is more and more is being out there. Time ceased to matter and money was just something that got you out there. It has been a joy following your journey. May the world continue to turn well for you, and travel safe, yes I know you will.

  3. The generous hearts and minds of Gail and John are extraordinary. Imaging a world where we all felt and acted in the best interests of OTHER people. I feel I want to do something for them but I don’t know how. How pathetic this trail is without some key markers like a 1/2 way point! It is only a trail because some people make the journey from points to points. It’s misnamed and is a tramp as NZ folk say, which equates to people wandering from here to there. You’ll probably miss the boys for a while but your head seem now in a good place to carry forward but the thought of cold soaked food is too much. Imagine a dinner party based on peanut butter and that. Pewk! Re frugality and money – well some is handy to pay the rent when not on the trail and eating cold soaked food. Life is a trail but sometimes you’ll find toll points so a bit of earned cash comes in handy.

  4. Congrats on reaching and maintaining that zen-like open and relaxed mindset – that is so awesome! Happy to hear you met so many wonderful people on the way – I do think the relationships we forge and make on a hike, be it with (parts of) ourselves or others, are the most important part of the journey. Those impressions last a lifetime, and can have so much influence on both ourselves and also others – my guess would be that many many people who got in contact with you on the TA also took away happy memories and new insights!

  5. So glad to see you in such a good head space. I was a bit worried at the beginning, but looks like you have rebounded and the trail has embraced you and vice versa! Enjoy it MukMuk!

  6. no stove….hmmmm… no hot coffee…maybe you had such good coffee with that gracious family until get little stove wherever you sent….hmmmmm….giggle…(did something to your blog’s replies’ answers from you?…. wondering???…hmmmmm it just my computer or have any the rest noticed?…I am sure all of us love them…right ???) nevertheless your adventures are all full exciting and some pretty tough… you help encourage to trippin’ on….love tou wonder-filled girl…..Barbie here

  7. Well done Rozanne. I’m really enjoying your impressions of New Zealand, as I’ve never been there. And your reflections on this adventure are fascinating.

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