The end.20 April 2017
Hey folks! I apologise for the delay between the finish and this final update, due entirely to my post-trail exhaustion and ever present disorganisation. On the 10 April 2017 I arrived in Bluff and finally finished the Te Araroa Trail, 146 days since my departure from Cape Reinga on 16 November 2016. The final day of the trail consisted of a 70km hike, starting at 4:30am in Riverton and finishing at 11:00pm at Stirling Point, Bluff. The end of the trail brought about strange emotions, ranging from euphoria to very conclusive satisfaction. I was incredibly grateful to Paula and Crist from the Bluff township, who picked me up from the finish line and put me up for the night, an incredibly kind service to this weary hiker.
By the end, I was very ready to be done with walking and beat a retreat back to the comforts of civilisation, particularly that offered by friends, family and the glorious perks of the fridge/pantry combo. The trail has easily been the most challenging experience of my life, and has led to immense personal growth (as well as serious physical shrinking). My self confidence, appreciation for the New Zealand outdoors, and understanding of people and cultures from around the world has skyrocketed, and done nothing but fuel my adventurous side. Thus despite the call of home, immediately following the trail I embarked on the Rakiura Track on Stewart Island, after which I spent a day hitchhiking back to Christchurch over a period of 16 hours via 10 different rides.
As to the future, I am moving to Wellington on Monday 24 April to work for the next couple of months, and to finish the final course of my Bachelor of Criminal Justice. Following this I hope to work and travel abroad for as long possible, before returning to New Zealand to undertake a Master of Social Work (Applied) back at the University of Canterbury. The Te Araroa has most certainly NOT put me off walking, as I have hopes to attempt several other long distance trails, namely the Camino de Santiago (through parts of France and Spain) and the Pacific Crest Trail (from the US border with Mexico to the border with Canada).
A huge thank you to all of you sponsors for your contributions to the Fred Hollows Foundation. Your donations have been well received, and will be guaranteed to go towards a fantastic cause. We nailed the original goal of $2000, finishing with a grand total of $2130. Considering the most common eye treatment offered by Fred Hollows generally costs around $25, these funds should make a significant difference in the lives of many people. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have parents who have gone out of their way to promote this page to friends and family, and who collected many cash donations on my behalf, for which I have been hugely grateful.
Once again, thank you for your continuing support of me and the Fred Hollows Foundation!