The Wandering La Vignes Live, at an REI Near You!

Hey hiking friends!

Do you live in Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Colorado Springs, Boulder, or Denver? Do you want to talk to real-life Appalachian Trail thru-hikers and former AT hostel managers? Have you seen Lord of the Rings and thought that scenery couldn’t possibly be real?

Good news!

Patrice and Justin La Vigne, AKA “The Wandering La Vignes”, are coming to an REI near you to talk about their experience hiking Te Araroa in New Zealand! They posted about it here back in November on our very own I have been woefully behind in my blog-readin’ lately and happened across their November 6 post on the afternoon of December 1st. As luck would have it, that very evening Patrice and Justin were speaking at my local REI, 20 minutes from my house! I made a hurried reservation (it’s free, but you need to register), rearranged my evening schedule, and arrived breathlessly about 2 minutes late. Justin welcomed me and I found a seat in the front row.

I have to admit, I went 50% so I could meet other apptrials writers in REAL LIFE, 40% for the chance of free gear, and 10% because I wanted to hear about hiking Te Araroa in New Zealand. I’m planning my AT thru for 2016, and while I love adventure as much as the next person, I couldn’t imagine adding ANOTHER long distance thru to my to-do list. Well, the talk was just fabulous, and I am SOLD on Te Araroa. Patrice and Justin were such good speakers, so well organized, and with such wonderful photos and stories to share, that I felt like I could leave tomorrow based on their information and be a successful Te Araroa hiker. I laughed, I cried, we bonded, it was beautiful. Not only did they have detailed hiking information to share, they also brought much of the original gear they had used through the whole hike for show and tell, including Justin’s used boots (I didn’t sniff). Even if you’ve read Patrice’s Te Araroa hiking guides, parts 1-4, on this blog, you’ll still come away with new information and a new long trail for your hiking bucket list.

Also, as a wonderful bonus to the evening, there was a gear giveaway at the end! Randomly selected attendees received some excellent loot – I took home a fabulous Sawyer Mini! I won’t spoil the surprise of what exactly is being given away but… trust me. You’ll want at least some of it.

Here is a quick recap of when they’ll be where, but check their original post for links to register at the appropriate REI. Thanks again to Patrice and Justin for an EXCELLENT evening out, and I would urge anyone who can make it to go check out this fabulous presentation!

Indianapolis: Monday, Dec 7

St. Louis: Tuesday, Dec 8

Kansas City: Wednesday, Dec 9

Colorado Springs: Tuesday, Jan 5

Boulder: Wednesday, Jan 6

Denver: Wednesday, Jan 13

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