2011-2012 has been an emotional 12 months for us

We became kiwi citizens. Our kids, Ben and Beth survived the Christchurch earthquakes. I lost my mum and brother, Brian, to cancer in the same week. We sold our outdoor activity business in Hanmer Springs that we had run for ten years. We ran the Forest Camp as managers and we will celebrate 30 years of marriage.

It has been a time of intense emotions and hard work but a great network of friends and family has supported us.

Losing Brian at the age of 60 has convinced me that we have to “live life for today”. With that in mind Steve and I have decided that the best way to celebrate surviving, being kiwis and the “life of Brian” is to walk the length of New Zealand. Now here is the irony, Brian would be convinced that we are finally, totally and unreservedly barking mad!

Thanks to Ben and Beth for their support to let us go, to Sharon and Serge our Hanmer backstops and to Shalane for inspiration.

Follow us on our journey – meet us on the way with tea and scones, walk a section with us, join us for a beer or just support our cause and donate to Cancer research!

Feel free to add comments to our blog below, just click on "comments" below the blog entry and write in the box then add your name or be anonymous!!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

We have been blown away by the very generous donation of $2000 to Cancer research by Mr Ashton, his son was my brothers best friend and he too has lost friends and family to cancer. This is a great boost to us and an affirmation of our journey. 

With Graeme and Sandy at Pakiri.

We woke to dawn over Pakiri beach and then headed off over Tamahunga Mountain, the track was opened in 2001 by Sir Edmund Hilary. We had stunning views and it was a slip slide down to the Omaha Valley. The next day was through the Dome Forest, fondly renamed as Mt Doom. No it wasn't that bad, just very muddy. Thankfully the tearoom at the end was still open to lift our spirits and help us on our way to Moirs Hill. We descended into The Puhoi Valley and stopped for a rest at the Cheese factory, it was very difficult to set off again, but worth it.

Puhoi is an awesome spot with the historic pub , store and library and a River Kayak Company that hire out Kayaks to you for the next leg of the journey. We were blown down the river, thank goodness it was a tail wind and across the estuary to Wenderholm - 7kms later. A great feeling to have gained the distance with no leg power!!
The next section from Waiwera to Orewa needed to be walked at low tide, so we had to spend 3 hours waiting for the tide to drop at the Hot pools and had a leg massage, it was so so good. It was then a scoot across the sand and rocks to Orewa and Roger from Herikino picked us up and took us back to his son's house for the night. Thanks guys for that.We had an early start the next day to get to Gunter and Jan for a boat ride across the estuary before they set off for a weekend trip on their boat. Many thanks you guys, what a great support to the Te Araroa you are.It was then down the coast towards civilisation and the North Shore walk. (Just another thanks to Charles and Chico who gave us a lift at the end of a day - good luck with the Queen Charlotte.)
Sadly we had a bad day of weather for the North Shore Walk but we were happy to duck into a cafe or two to get out of the rain. We are staying with Frank and Penny in Devonport for a couple of nights and finally discovering Auckland. Their hospitality and generosity is overwhelming, cheers.

In Devonport, Auckland in sight!

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