This Is Me Trying (Days 10 – 13)

Back at it

I was happy to finally reunite with my group in Kerikeri, though envy bit at my ankles as I listened to their stories of mud forests and waterfalls. It felt wrong to have missed out on nearly a week of adventure, but I tried to stay focused on what awaited us after one final rest day.

After laundry, resupply, and a lengthy visit to the pharmacy, I was finally back on trail. Leaving Kerikeri felt like a new start, and New Zealand welcomed me back in its own special way: with a day full of rain.

Building a “Tramily”

We had picked up a few new group members while I was healing, so we now walk as seven strong. One of the newbies, a young Australian, is the only proper purist I’ve walked with, so we know our time with him is limited as we prepare to stick out our thumbs in the coming days.

There are many different ways to walk this trail, and the purist way (walking every single inch) does not suit everyone. Some have time constraints due to work or visas. Others simply don’t have the money to be on trail that long, but most of us can’t be bothered to spend days walking on the side of the road. It’s a common criticism that Te Araroa has too much road walking, and many walkers elect to hitch through those sections to save their shoes, their feet, and their sanity.

A drowned rat

My first day back leaves me soaked to the bone, and I learn quickly what items are actually waterproof and which ones just claim to be. My leg and foot handle the return well, though moments of pain and worry tore through me in those drenched moments.

I still ask myself why I am out here, giving the question to the dirt beneath me and the country before me. What can I possibly find within myself when all of my energy belongs to staying dry, staying healthy, staying upright? What is waiting for me on the other side of this island?

For now, I pitch my tent.

The next day, we decide to shake things up a bit and kayak to our next destination. It’s refreshing to glide between sailboats and along misty shores, giving our feet a break as our arms take over. My rowing partner splashes everyone in the surrounding kayaks, and we are yet again soaked before the rain even starts.

When the rain does come, it gives me a feeling of rightness. Here I am, with no work and no purpose other than to go forward. To paddle and walk and get to the next day. There may never be a time like this again in my life, and I do my best to absorb the moment before it passes.


Once we drop off our kayaks, we make our way to a quiet farm deep in the countryside. We have to cross a river just to get to it. A silver haired woman greets us as we walk up to the sight of foals prancing in the pasture. We help her pick the leaves off of rosemary and lavender, and she gives us a brief lesson in New Zealand’s culture and history. It’s a special evening, and the cattle are vocal all night long as they welcome a newborn calf into their gentle world.

In the morning, no one has slept well. We leave our purist friend as our host gives us a ride up the road in order to shave seven kilometers off our day. The rest of the way is a basic trek on a gravel road that eventually spits us out at a place simply called The Farm. Here we find yoga classes, a litter of puppies, and a baby in the sink. The days ends with french fries and Disney movies, as every day should.


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Comments 1

  • Michal : Dec 8th

    Let’s goo!


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