In a couple short weeks we begin our journey across New Zealand. It’s a 3,000 km hike across the entire country, starting at the northern point of the North Island, and continuing all the way to the southern point of the Southern Island.

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It’s my fourth thru-hike, but it’s a whole new animal.

Firstly, it’s a thru-tramp, actually. A whole new culture. That’s sounding pretty good these days.

It’s also a whole new terrain for me. Particularly for the water. We will be spending the first month or two in wetness. All the trail notes I keep reading seem to say, “dry off here” or “hang up your wet socks at this place” with any mention of town stops. We will be hiking through some really wet territory. It’ll rain a lot, but there is also a lot of swampland, ocean beach walks, and even several incomplete parts of trail where the only option to connect the dots is by waterway. One of those points, in fact, is over 100 km on the Whanganui River.

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With this water, comes a whole new set of danger. A friend of mine who’s lived in New Zealand for a while warned me of earthquakes, and to run for the hills if you feel a shake while camping on the beaches. We will need to know our tide tables for many sections of this hike. We will need to know weather forecasts to be on the look out for flash floods in river canyons.

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It’s a whole new experience, sharing it with a partner. Craig and I will be hiking together. This will be a learning experience for both of us. His first thru hike and my first time being a duo. I find that it’s easier to keep yourself together when you have to. Having someone to fall apart on will be interesting. Hopefully not a frequent go to.

Lastly, it’s a whole new time for me. More than ever I feel like I am returning to myself. I feel like I’ve been out of place for the last couple of years. I feel like I don’t fit. I need the trees.

I appreciate all of you who’ve followed along with my previous walks. I hope to share this one with you. Hope it’s a good one. Full of peaks and valleys, tears and honor, depth and transformation. I hope to come out closer to the ground. Closer to my fellow human. With light.

Kia ora!