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TA Day 94-99 – Lake Tekapo to Twizel


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25th-30th January


Boundary stream 2363.5km to Twizel 2433.3km

Overnight my thoughts turned to a couple of people I met on the Pacific Crest trail in 2015. They moved to New Zealand from USA after finishing the trail and have been here ever since. By coincidence they decided to hike the Te Araroa trail northbound this year before heading home. I wondered where they would be on the trail as our paths must be crossing soon. You know what’s going to happen next.

Not sure what that sign means but New Zealanders and their sheep……

I slept too well last night, if that is at all possible. The first bird calls failed to wake me so it was left to the sun to remind me that I’m a morning person. For me it was a late start but I had a quiet flat dirt road walk into the tourist town of Lake Tekapo. On route I caught up with Stan and Elizabeth, better know by their PCT trail names, ‘Dino DNA and Etch a Sketch’ luck had us walking down the trail at a place where we could chat and catch up on several lost years. Long after the hike was finished I’ve kept in touch with many hikers, although I must admit, not as much as I would like. I shall remedy that after this hike. Is there any friends you haven’t contacted in a while? Do it today, do it now. You’re welcome.

Prior to working as a Police officer I had a tourism business and worked as a tour guide in places such as Kakadu National Park and the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. There was much to love about that lifestyle but over time I needed a new challenge so become a Police Officer. A buddy from the tourism days set up an upmarket Bed and Breakfast with his partner in Lake Tekapo. I got an invite to stay.

Sab and Anne Marie have a very flash house with world class views of Lake Tekapo and the surrounding mountains. I rested up for a day and even boroughed their car for an overnight trip to visit a friend in Twizel, a nearby trail town.

During my stay I was treated to hiker sized portions of Venison, Cod and my favorite salads and vegetables. All the things my hiker body craved. I paid my way with storytelling and some photography of their house and views. Sab and I also managed to solve all the worlds problems.

After a couple of days rest I set off hiking towards the town of Twizel 55km away. I broke up the flat hike with an overnight stop at a Freedom campsite at a Lake Pukeki. The campsite is located on an unnaturally blue lake with views to Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand. The snow capped glaciers running down on all sides.

During my short overnight trip to Twizel I met Leia, a long term traveler, digital nomad and YouTuber. We camped together at Lake Pukeki solving all the worlds problems and discussing business ideas and the life of a nomad. Not too many people make an active choice to live our lifestyle and its refreshibg to meet others who’ve turned their backs on normal society rules.

I had a problem while staying at the lake. I changed out my trail running shoes from Altra Timps to Altra Olympus at Lake Tekapo. The new Olympus shoes caused some discomfort on my right shin. I suspect the start of Shin Splints, a debilitating injury that can only be cured by rest. Fearing the worst we both agreed to stock up on some food and stay a day or two extra at the lake.

The weather was hot, a heatwave by New Zealand standards. I almost braved the bitter cold water of the lake but I’m softer than ice cream when it comes to cold water.

One day turned into two days which turned into six days resting and catching up with friends in this part of New Zealand. It was the right time and right place to rest but now I’m on a mission to get to The Bluff which is the southern most part of New Zealand and the end of the trail. But will my body hold together.

Next – Day 100 – Back on Trail

All the tips you need to hike the Te Araroa Trail : 
Complete Guide to the Te Araroa Trail
Te Araroa Trail Resupply Guide
Te Araroa Trail Gear List
Te Araroa Trail Gear Review

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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