With only 80 days (11 weeks and 5 days … but who is counting?) to go, preparation is shifting into a new gear.
I have daunting and exciting feelings towards starting Te Araroa and are constantly reminded by how challenging this journey is going to be. I recently made my wife watch “Wild” with Reece Witherspoon playing Cheryl Strayed, a woman’s journey on the Pacfic Crest Trail (PCT) 1,100-mile (1,770-kilometres) solo hike. If you haven’t seen this movie, the opening seen involves toenails being removed and hiking boots rolling down a crevice! To be fair, this did not help terribly with easing my wife’s concerns about this trek – but she is still on board … thankfully!
My gear has started to arrive, and I have started to build a little bundle of items which is stored next to my bed serving as a constant reminder of things to come. There is a wealth of information available online, and I can only wonder how challenging it would have been without the advancements in modern technology and the internet, to review, rate and get instant feedback on products that in some cases, are going to be critical to survival. Let alone the advances in technology to allow for such items as a Personal Locator Beacon, which with the click of a button will have a helicopter and rescue team heading to my location in the middle of nowhere (not that I anticipate ever using!)
Previous TA hikers have been very helpful on the TA Facebook page, and with the NZ terrain, and weather it really does help to have advice and feedback on your gear from those who have completed the TA previously.
Today we went shopping at Anaconda to pick up some of my trail gear and hiking boots. I ended up getting the Hi-Tec Altitude Lite boots, and couldn’t resist the opportunity to break them in. So, I went for a quick hike on the Ku-ring-gai Creek to Tree Fern Gully Creek Track. I haven’t been on this track so wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to see where my blisters will come up with my new boots. Not having the luxury of time, I completed the 7.1 km (4.4 miles) trail in 1 hr 30 min which I consider pretty good as it was fairly steep both up and down (without pack and with many stops for pictures along the way.)
It was good to be out and walking – but it also got me thinking as what others do if and when they start feeling like throwing the towel in. Not that I was feeling like this in any way on my casual stroll in the bush this afternoon, but I do know there will be times on the TA where I will encounter this desire. So I will check in with my mentors to see what they did to combat this on the trail.
So, what else has been happening? Next week, I will be doing my last public presentations to over 130 Senior Finance Executives in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and then Perth the week after. So, I have been busy working on my presentation content and are lucky to have my wife joining me for the VIC and QLD events – it’s great to have her along, as even after doing this for many years, I do still get quite nervous and stressed in having to speak publicly – she helps with this!
Finally, we had a great time at the The Raise Sparkle Ball Friday 08/09. It was good to see everyone again, and the charitable spirit was alive and well with all the guests. I was very fortunate to win the table raffle prize, which will keep me in the good books for a little while. Here is a video of the evening and also a link to my donation page – also a reminder, please, if you would like to support me on my trek, the best way you can do this is by making a donation.