Te Araroa – 4 Weeks in Wellington

It has been a while, but here is the new blogpost. But wait a moment…something here is different. Well, our blog is now a simple WordPress blog. Why? Two days ago the whole website crashed after an update. Nadine tried to fix it for hours. Despite a new installation of the WordPress software the site wasn’t running. At least we could backup the database, where all the texts are. Unfortunately the contents are affected too. All ‘Umlaute’ (German) are weird symbols now. Shi#@*!! That’s why we decided to setup a new blog for the rest of the time on the Te Araroa Trail.

Let’s turn back the clock…

Forced Break
When I learnt in the end of December that I had to take a break for 3-4 weeks, at first I cursed my foot and then the “unbelievable long time” I had to spend in Wellington instead of being on the trail. Afterwards it was pretty clear to me, that it was a luxury problem; particularly as Wellington is one of our favourite cities in the world and our budget allowed us to stay in a rented room in a very very nice place (Petone). And of course, time went by quicker than expected.

Post-Trail-Depression
But in the beginning it was a difficult phase until we were adjusted to the new situation. The so-called ‘post-trail-depression’ had us in the palm of its strong hand. The sudden change from a 10h-walking-day to a couch-potatoe-day had a strong impact on my psyche. The dopamine- and endorphine-levels dropped which caused a bad, even depressive mood. And because I was restricted in my mobility in the first few days due to my foot and the bad weather, I had enough time to brood on my negative thoughts…

  • Do I lose all my gained fitness from the past two months?
  • Do other hikers have injuries, long-time damage too? –> Lots of the blogging hikers let the negative parts out.
  • Why do the details of the healing process with metatarsal fractures vary so greatly? (4-8 weeks up to a year)
  • What are we gonna do, if my foot fails on the South Island?

… and then there were all the accumulated thoughts and information gathered in 21 months of travelling. What will I do afterwards?
While hiking your focus lies on the moment and on your immediate needs. The forced break gave me unusually much space to think. And we didn’t have WLAN for the first two weeks ;-). It wasn’t bad that I had to deal with my thoughts, though. And the negative phase gently went off.
Only now and then my longing for the trail increased. Especially when I followed the progress of our fellow hikers on Instagram and FB. Or when we met them in Wellington. In those cases I had a strong urge to start walking again. But in the end my foot made it quite clear when I would be able to continue on the trail.

Leisure time
We spent our weeks in Petone with cycling (no problem with my foot), reading, in the cinema, on the beach and the couch. Soon I started with a gentle training for the foot doing some short walks on the beach and to the supermarket, swimming and cycling.

Preparations
In the last week we started with the preparations for the South Island. We experimented with a borrowed (thank you Debbie & Rob) dehydrator for the first time and planned with the utmost care our menu for 34 days. Funny, what you can do with lots of free time. In the end we had 5 parcels; two more than planned originally. Thereby we save time and have a more diversified menu than usually. It costs more, though.

The Test Walk
And then it was time to walk. Together with my sister and her boyfriend (they stayed 4 days with us) we walked the last 22km of the Te Araroa to the End of the North Island. It should be a test walk for my foot so that we could assess if we would continue the trail on the 25th (after 4 weeks break).
And yes, it was okay. It’s not completely healed but I didn’t have much pain after 22km. It felt great to be back on the trail; although I was slower and more cautious than usual. But we reached our goal.

What’s next?
We take the ferry to Picton on the 25th of January. A day later we start the Queen Charlotte Track. It’ll be another test walk but this time with more weight on the back and on a real tramping track. Only then we draw a conclusion, after we will have arrived at Pelorus Bridge. After that the Richmond Ranges are waiting; one of the hardest part of the whole trail. We want to be sure that we won’t have to give up halfway because of the foot. Transportation would then be by helicopter only.

So stay tuned for the next part of the Te Araroa Trail.
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4 Comments

  • whiona says:

    Hi Nadine and Phillippe,
    Hope your recovery works. Did you know that some water taxi companies on the queen charlotte track carry your packs each day if you want them to. I know it sounds wrong for a thru hiker to have such luxury but in your case it may give you a chance for the first day or two to start gently. All the best Whin and Whiona

    • philkeiser says:

      Hey Whiona,
      Yes, we hope that too :-). Nadine knew about this but we want to test it with the backpack (4 days food) to have the ‘real’ experience. No surprises in the Richmond Ranges 😉

  • Patrice says:

    Happy to read this update! I am sending well wishes for strong feet and strong mind. Listen to your body and hopefully it will tell you that you can keep on walking!!

    • philkeiser says:

      Thank you very much Patrice. We hope so too. The next few days will tell. Cheers from Picton.

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