After the AT Comes New Zealand’s TA

After finishing a thru-hike, many hikers are left wondering what comes next. The answer’s easy: another thru-hike!

Last year I completed my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Having never backpacked before, it was an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience. As I hiked along and Katahdin grew nearer, I wondered what would come next once I finished the AT. Where would life take me?

Contemplating life in the 100-Mile Wilderness.

On the trail another hiker mentioned New Zealand’s own long trail, the Te Araroa. At the time I stowed the idea away for later and focused on finishing the AT. But once the trail was complete, I was left contemplating my next steps. The idea of New Zealand came creeping back to mind.

New Zealand Calls

And so I obtained a working holiday visa and headed to the land of kiwis for a year abroad. Working first in wine country and then in Fiordland National Park, I have to say New Zealand is the most beautiful place I have ever lived. After living there a year, I was completely sold on the idea of hiking across the island nation. And so, beginning in November, I will embark on a southbound trek on the Te Araroa.

My favorite view of Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park.

Te Araroa

The Te Araroa (TA), translating to The Long Pathway, traverses New Zealand from north to south. At about 3,000km or 1,900 miles, it is a bit shorter than the AT but quite a different trail. I’m looking forward to this new adventure and I’ll be taking a piece of the AT with me.

Te Araroa route, courtesy of Guthook.

Thru-Hikers Unite

On the AT I met fellow thru-hiker Sticks. We hiked a few days together before being separated and subsequently reunited for another week on the trail. We hiked well together, pushing each other to hike more miles than physically healthy. He also was responsible for my trail name, Crazy Horse. Though we got separated for good in Virginia, we’ve kept in touch this past year.

The only photo I have of Sticks, as he’s about to devour a meal in Virginia.

Post-trail life for him has been dull and he’s ready for the next adventure, wanting to hike the PCT in 2020. But I convinced him to hike the TA with me first! And so after a year apart, we will reunite in Auckland and begin our journey north to the trailhead in Cape Reinga. Though for some reason he thinks we are going to crush the TA and then set off on the PCT a few months later! And I’m the one called Crazy Horse!

Stay tuned for more! I’ll be blogging regularly here at The Trek as well as my personal blog. For more of my AT hike check out my Trek blogs and YouTube for videos from the trail.

Why I Almost Quit My Second Thru-Hike

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