Tongariro! By the time we reached this section, everyone was quite excited. It felt like the real trail was starting, and Tongariro was, for many, the TA’s first highlight…
After Hamilton, the TA made its first strides towards the sort of trail I’d been waiting for. There were more forests and mountains, littered with just a few sections of frustrating farmland to ensure the typical North Island TA experience.
Out of the entire 3,000 kilometre TA, I was about to hit its most unpopular section. Everyone who was already cherry-picking and skipping sections, was definitely going to skip this. And those who hadn’t, were considering it.
Are you preparing for your first thru-hike and find yourself completely overwhelmed by all the gear lists, technical terms and lightweight or ultralight musings? Like when you read other hiker’s blogs and they talk about their trail runners getting soaked while walking through wet grass and you just think: ‘What in the world are trail runners? Aren’t hiking shoes waterproof?’ If that’s you, then this blog post is for you.
If there’s one element that pervades everyone’s experience of walking the TA, it’s water. Streams, rivers, the sea, inlets and estuaries. New Zealand loves them. The TA loves them. They haunt you.
‘Trail name or real name?’ That was my reply whenever another hiker asked for my name, those first few weeks on trail. Trail names are a funny thing. Some hikers are keen on them, some not so much.