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?
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.
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A year ago today I completed the journey of a lifetime. 2,190.9 miles on the #AppalachianTrail in 139 days. From Georgia to Maine, I got all four seasons on the AT. What an adventure. And here’s to the next thru-hike with @a_t_sticks on New Zealand’s #TeAraroa 🎒⛰🏕 Link in bio for more on my AT hike and upcoming thru-hike adventure! #astraylife
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.
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.
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.
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!
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