The halfway mark

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Between Whanganui and the Tararuas we had a relaxed section to get back into the trail rhythm. First, we had a long thought about what to do with the stretch to Palmerston North. It consists of 100km almost purely on the road, mostly asphalted. Unpleasant memories of how our feet used to cope with this surfaced to our memory.

Too stubborn to quit on such a large portion of the trail we decided to rent bicycles. Jörg and Marylene joined in too, Serina took the long way on foot. So for the first time since the 90 mile beach, we parted ways.

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I was surprised to see that as untrained hikers and with our big packs on our backs we made it to Palmerston in an easy 1,5 days. I guess the trail must have left a serious effect on our physical stamina. See nice to see all that paved road rolling by – and as long as we move forward using our own manpower it’s alright – right!

So when we finally had our first day on foot it came as a by of a shock. It had been 2 weeks since we had had a proper day of hiking. Everything just felt so awkward: our shoes, our packs, our poles, and not the least our feet themselves. Blisters wielded as skin needed to harden up again.

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Luckily the trails were wonderful. They ran through beautiful forests, some of the last we’ll have before crossing the Cook Street, and we tried to enjoy them as much as possible. It became so apparent now that the forests have changed throughout the country: from the dense, northern forests with giant Kauris towered mighty above the bush, the majestic Totara on the hills, to the elegant and narrow Kahikatea in the central north and the spacious forests with big Rimu we pass now. I’m sure we’re going to miss them in the endless tussock countries ahead.

As a little extra we passed the halfway mark on the Burrtons’s track, we almost couldn’t believe it. There we stood, halfway between the Cape and he Bluff! The next day we had our first glimp of he South Island from Archey’s lookout, can’t wait to get there.

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It’s also been the first days since the Ninety Mile Beach that PJ and I have been walking by ourselves and this was very cosy. We did think back about a lot of the moments we shared with Serina and smiled. We thought about the compiling of our first hit album as the ‘Happy Hiker’s Club’ with several excellent singles such as:
– Burgers for Breakfast
– Happy Hikers with Angry Feet
– Shower Power
– The Austrian
– Second Hand Sporks
– Life’s too Short for Shaving
– Proper People Pass out at Eight
– Boardwalks to Nowhere
– Even the Sheep look Miserable
– Les Croissants, Les Croissants
All compository suggestions are by the way welcomed!

And on a final note: a big huge thank you to everyone who has voted in the photo competition – I won! Amazing to see so many of you have supported. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

– by Eef De Boeck

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6 thoughts on “The halfway mark

  1. I’m preparing for the TA (south island definitely and still deciding on doing the enitre north island or only bits of the north island) and your blog is really an inspiration to me: well written, fun, and also useful for preparation. About the north island: I was wondering if there were more sections that could easily be biked? And about this section: could you share where you rented your bikes and how you arranged to hand in the bike further down the trail?

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    1. Hi Liz! We only biked one section, and that was between Whanganui and Palmerston North because most of the track there was along state highway 3 and there was a road diversion for a logging operation in a forest. However, as far as I’m aware the track has changed there now and follow along the shoreline which should be nice. I don’t remember the name of the company we used, it was the first time they did it and we just asked if they could pick up the bikes in Palmerston, that was fine for them. As for the north: it’s very tough and dragging sometimes, but I thought it was worth it. If I would start over I would for sure walk the north island again, just to understand what the trail is all about.

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  2. Congratulations are in order:Completing the first 1500km,halfway the journey,and wining the photo-contest! I hope indeed that the rest of the trail goes as smoothly as the first half! Keep up this spirit guys,enjoy but keep vigilant and careful!

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  3. Nice to meet you both on Kau Kau this morning. Well done in finishing the North Island. If you need any ‘trail magic” or just a meal way from YHA please give us a call.

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    1. Hey Andrew,
      thank you! It was very nice to meet you as well. Sorry if we seeme d abit absent, the intensity of the moment that we were actually looking at Wellington and actually would finish the trail that day caught us. We will certainly do so. Thank you all at the Wellington Trust, the trail towards and around the city is really, really nice.

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  4. Hey hey, half way with big big smile….. Congratulations!!!
    Ne mens went aan alles he , te voet ,in t water, op de fiets het maakt niet uit …opnieuw slow motion nu. Wel tof dat jullie een stukje met 2 afleggen, altijd anders dan met meerderen he….
    Ik kan me voorstellen dat er zich nu een totaal ander N Zeeland ontplooit, bergen met besneeuwde toppen, het klimaat zal ook wel anders zijn…
    Ik blijf zowel jullie trip buitengewoon vinden als de inzet en doorzetting
    die jullie uitstralen :)) En je verhalen Eef, maak er een boek van!
    Hope the both of you stays strong, healthy and full of energy
    Take care en tot de volgende!
    Nicky

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