Te Araroa Trail – Final Day
Today was the final day of my Te Araroa Trail thru-hike! We all woke around 6.30 am this morning at Camp Stream hut. Laura was off first, heading NOBO up to Stag Saddle. The morning was fresh but not too cold, and thankfully it wasn’t raining! Phil, Mike and I headed out around 8am. My last day on Te Araroa Trail started pretty easily walking down the Camp Stream river valley, which meant wet feet within 10 minutes…
We turned into the Coal Stream river valley and went up and over the hills to then walked parallel with the Richmond mountain range, all the while marveling at the views across Lake Tekapo. We crossed Washdyke Stream then at Boundary Stream headed towards the road. We took things at a really leisurely pace.
The boys both had niggling foot injuries and I was trying to arrange accommodation for us at Lake Tekapo, which was proving really difficult. Everything was booked except for some tent sites at the holiday park – I’d fancied a bit of luxury for my last night on TA but it wasn’t to be.
The Last Kms
When we came out on the road at Boundary stream we still had about 15kms to walk. We slowly walked about 7kms of it, before we saw the rainclouds coming in over Mt John to the West and Stag Saddle to the North.
After much deliberation we all decided to call it a day and get a lift for the last 7 Kms – the boys didn’t feel like continuing with their respective injuries/niggles, and I was more than happy not to walk 7km more road. Should I have walked that last 7kms? Probably, but I’m no ‘purist’, and none of us were enjoying it at this late stage of the day. I have no regrets 🙂
Finishing at Tekapo
When we got to Lake Tekapo we checked in to our accommodation, put up our tents then straight away went for an epic meal in Mackenzie’s restaurant. I celebrated with a glass of bubbles, a massive rare fillet steak, a couple of glasses of pinot noir, and I enjoyed a mini pav for dessert – amazing!!
And that was that… I became someone who had just walked the length of New Zealand (in a non-purist way). I can’t really describe how it feels to have finished. I didn’t shed any tears, jump for joy or any of the big stuff… I just don’t have to get up early tomorrow and walk 30kms.
The journey has been my life for the past 5 months (and for two years before if you include all the wait time), and it’s been the life of everyone else I’ve met over the past 5 months. It’s been amazing to be a part of this group of wonderful crazy humans, wandering through the most beautiful country on earth.
I’ll post my thoughts, in a few days’ time. For now, I’m having a couple of days of rest and relaxation in Tekapo before heading back to the Waikato. Significant gaps/detours to close to are the Richmond Ranges (bad weather twice), Bush Stream (Forest Creek Detour), the Mingha/Deception (Avalanche peak detour), Riverton to Bluff (bad weather/bus detour) – look out for my future posts on these 🙂