Project 40 is now in full swing with last minute checks and logistics being squared away from Te Araroa mission control (read, our spare room). After 12 months or so in the making, having gear spread about, starring at maps and dreaming of life on the trail, it is finally upon us. Less than one week to go and the final count down is on. We head to Melbourne next weekend to catch up with my family before I jump on a plane to Auckland, leaving my very understanding and patient partner Jacinta at the airport for what will be the longest break we’ve had apart after close to 16 years. Te Araroa has occupied my mind for far too long and I’m sure she can’t wait for me to get going either at least to get a break from “Te Araroa this….Te Araroa that…” But Jac will head over to Queenstown in a few weeks for a mountain bike adventure of her own and I’ll push to get to a airport so we can catch up at the end of the month.
All my gear has been checked, rechecked and packed; and resupply boxes are ready to go. It’s just a matter of tidying up loose ends now. So very, very excited to get going and make a start on this journey.
Final weigh-in for my gear is 11.5 kg base weight plus food and water which will put me around 17kg. A little heavier than I would like but things are sure to change as I find out what gear is working, what is not and picking out items that I can do without.
There are a few people starting from Cape Reinga either side of my start date who I’ve been in contact with and will likely meet up with in the near future. I’m really looking forward to catching up with like minded souls doing the same trip and who are bound to share similar passions for life.
So the plan now…. finalise things at home and hand over at work this week, travel to Melbourne Saturday, fly to Auckalnd and onto Kerikeri on Sunday; complete odds and ends in Kerikeri like buy a sim card and set up my ipad and do my first shop for trail food; get to Kaitaia; then travel to Cape Reinga to kick this thing off on Wednesday 11th Nov.
I’ll leave you with these quotes that really sum up the essence of what Te Araroa is all about; and words that have kept me going on this very long count down towards what will be a journey of a lifetime:
“We travel not to escape life but so life doesn’t escape us.”
“Because in the end you won’t remember the time spent working in an office or mowing the lawn. Climb that god damn mountain.” John Kerouac
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” Beverly Sills (I have this tattooed around a compass on my left shoulder)
“When you’re in the mountains, every day is Friday.”
There are so many more words that I could write they would occupy a book. I’ll leave it at that.