So here the adventure begins. I’m on the final leg of a long journey from the south coast of England to Auckland, via Dubai, along with my two support guys, Mark and James. It’s almost feels quite surreal for the Te Araroa expedition to now be underway; it’s been a full year in the planning and, as you can imagine with a challenge of this scale and nature, it’s occupied a significant proportion of my thoughts during that time.
We decided to get the journey out the way in one hit, rather than dragging it out with a stopover somewhere. But we now have 3 days in Auckland to rest up, get over the jet lag, stock up on supplies for the expedition and collect the motorhome support vehicle before heading north on Sunday. There is quite a bit of kit to round up such as a mountain bike for the support crew, kayaks for the several estuary crossings which will come in the first 10 days and then obviously quite a bit of food. Once we’re away from Auckland we’ll have further time to get properly rested up before making a start from Cape Reigna on Wednesday (12/12/12).
|Sunset at Takapuna Beach - right next to our hang out for the next few days.|
I’m being supported by two brilliant guys; Dr Mark Taylor, my newly acquired father-in-law :o) , and a very old school friend, James Ashwell. They have already been amazing in helping with the preparations, to the extent we’re feeling pretty well organised and in good shape for the challenge that lies ahead. They will play such an important part in the overall success of the expedition; acting as a lifeline in many different ways, but essentially providing all the support I need at every given opportunity. That may be a resupply at a road crossing point, preparing the kayaks for an estuary crossing or riding/ walking in to a rendezvous point for an overnight camp. I will try to get them to do some writing as we go along, so hopefully you can get to know them a bit, and to give a slightly different perspective on things!
My primary aim is to keep the mileage clock moving on as quickly as possible (obvious), but that will typically mean using a fast-pack setup for overnights on the trail to allow the daily distance targets to be completed, and thereby allowing me the flexibility to crash wherever I want, whenever I want, rather than being constrained by road crossing points. I will also make use of the great network of huts available in NZ, and obviously the motorhome as well whenever my planned finish point is accessible.
Given this is the first of the expedition blogs which I hope to release daily, as far as possible, I thought a quick overview of the expedition would be in order:
Objective: Fastest time attempt on the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand - a new trail which opened in December 2011 running the full length of both islands – from the top of the north island to the bottom of the south island.
Distance: 3,054 kilometres
Start: 12th December 2012, Cape Reigna, top of the North Island
Finish: Bluff, bottom of the South Island
We will publish regular blog posts here along with a link to the live tracking page so you can see in real time how the run is progressing. I also hope to be on Twitter quite a bit with snippets and images from the trail (see Twitter feed side bar if you have a Twitter phobia ->).
We hope you enjoy following the journey.