How do you start a post on a blog you haven’t touched in a few weeks?
You start at the beginning you silly.
Well, over the last few weeks, I have been preparing for the Tongariro Northern Circuit. The journey to this weekend has been a long one and a journey with a couple of unintended turns. After my surgery last year, I made the decision to do the Milford Track over Christmas and New Years. I prepared myself and on the day to book my accommodation, the website died and I was called into a meeting. After the meeting was finished, the site had returned, but the spots were all booked out.
My backup for that was the Hillary Trail. Over the last few months, I have been tramping through the Waitakere Ranges and the Hunua Ranges to prepare for the Hillary. However, in early December, disaster struck. The Maori Iwi placed a rāhui on the Waitakere Ranges, with the Auckland Council asking people to not tramp into the area in order to save the massive Kauri Tree.
This meant that my plans for the Hillary were dashed. With short notice, and not many places to look towards. I settled on Tongariro Northern Circuit. The Crossing (which will comprise mostly of Day 2 for me) was on my list for this season, but when I was researching, I found the 4-day hike version and decided this will be my new goal.
And now… tomorrow I will start that walk.
Since the Waitakere Ranges closure, I have done some pretty good walks. On my Birthday, I did an epic 22.5km walk over 6 hours with some friends in the Hunua Ranges. I found an awesome area about 90 minutes outside Auckland which is pretty awesome. Then, over Christmas, I was out on the Coromandel and I did a fair bit of walking through there as well.
And finally, about 10 days ago, I went to Rarotonga, and there I did the Cross Island walk. This walk was great in that I had to do more climbing and reaching than I usually do, and the tropical conditions were the challenge as I went through the bush. The climbing was great, and the distance turned out to be only 9km, but a challenging 9KM, and felt ready to do more.
All of this has led up to this weekend’s 43km walk. I am excited about this walk, my first multi-day camping adventure. Based on my weekend camping experience last year, I am taking some additional measures to make sure that I am happy and healthy for the whole trip. Mainly, I am making sure I take pain relief, and likely a knee brace just in case. I have bought my food, and I am in a pretty happy with that.
Also, with this being an Alpine walk and not a temperate forest walk like I had originally intended, I will be carting some warmer clothes just in case.
I am a little daunted honestly, on the eve of my first Great Walk, and I obviously have some jitters going into tomorrow. I am also doing this solo, and while I will definitely not be alone on the trail, I suspect between 40 and 60 people will be walking the same segment I am day to day, I will be functionally on my own otherwise.
So, tomorrow, I start and will likely be out of contact until Tuesday, so until then, wish me luck and I will let you know how it goes!