Campsite Elevation: 676ft/206m
We left the Holiday Park at 7am wanting to get an early start on the day. We stopped early yesterday, so that makes today and tomorrow a bit longer to make it into Wellington. The forecast had a possibility of rain the second half of the day, so we wanted to hike what we could in the morning before the rain returned. Becky was feeling a bit better than yesterday, but ate a lot less than usual because her stomach is still not wanting solid food. We kept a relaxed and consistent pace with many breaks, and that strategy seemed to pay off. It also helped that we got a break from the rain and it was a really nice day.
We started out on the much hyped Escarpment Track. In previous years, the trail just went along the highway along the coast for 6mi/10km. Now, there is a new section of trail that goes up on the hillside with many stairs, and includes two swing bridges. The opening of this short bit of trail was big news this year, and I think it cost a couple million dollars.
The views were great, but we did wonder why the track went so high up the hillside just to come right back down again.
It was signed a ton all through the route as the Te Araroa. There’s been a lot of publicity and it seems to draw tourists with the idea of hiking on swing bridges with views of the ocean.
It was interesting. It felt somewhat commercial, artificial, and unnecessary. Kinda like an open house for a new neighborhood where the house on display is nothing like the rest of the neighborhood and it’s just a ruse to get people to invest in property there. In this case, the neighborhood would be the Te Araroa. If you have this cool hike that draws tourists to walk 6mi/10km of the Te Araroa, maybe they will think the whole track is this cool and they will want to hike bigger sections or the whole thing. It’s a bit of false advertisement and very interesting. The majority of hikers do feel that they fell prey to just this type of advertisement.
Give it a try. Look up one of the Great Walks or a travel idea for New Zealand and see how long it takes to get a link to the wanderlust filled site of the Te Araroa. Click around that site and see if you see any indication of all the towns, road walking, and deep mud forests. It’s not there really. It highlights the good parts, which you can’t fault them. They need people to hike the trail to fund it, but it’s a delicate balance of being forthright in the quality of the trail, yet getting people to know about it and hike it. It’s just not ready.
The oddest part of the whole thing is that we could feel all this as we were hiking the Escarpment Track and it felt really weird. The funniest part is that though it is labeled Te Araroa all over, they missed the opportunity of a really cool board at each end showing what the TA hike is and that it goes the whole length of New Zealand. Many might think that’s just the name of that particular trial. It isn’t something everyone knows out here. All of it was just and odd feeling to have on a “thru-hike.” I’ve been on tons of trails in various stages of development. I understand the great need of publicity and funding, but this is the only one that has such a commercial approach of false advertisement and that feels kinda yucky to promote tourism more than anything. I knew what I was getting coming in, but most out here did not. Becky is a prime example. She wanted to travel to NZ, clicked on a couple things, and got bit by the wanderlust of the TA. Like many walkers, now that she’s put so much time and money into being out here, she feels obligated to see it through even though it is mostly nothing like what is advertised. Ok, side rant over. They are trying!
Not surprisingly, the Escarpment Track ended at a local dairy where we could not resist the pull of buying ice cream! Yep, we got played like a fiddle, and totally knew it, but we gave up trying to resist it weeks ago.
We spent the rest of the day hiking through the suburbs of Wellington as we inch closer and closer. We walked on a nice bike path along the highway. It would be great if all the highway walks were like that someday!
There were no lack of toilets, which was nice, and we found a spot easily to have lunch and get water from a sink. Becky’s stomach still didn’t want food, so she took the time to rest. She did have a theory carbonation would help and drank a couple sodas today. Yes, she did get an earful from me on the health of not eating much, but drinking two sodas, a slushy, and an ice cream today. She said it was just solid food her stomach doesn’t want. I guess ingesting something is better than nothing at all.
After lunch, there was a coastal pathway along a bay that was also nice. It was easy walking in great weather, and we wore shorts. We walked along the commuter train tracks into Wellington, and the path even went right through one of the train platforms. It was pretty tempting knowing we could jump on a train and be in Wellington in probably 20mins. We went by plenty of stores all day, and I bought my fourth pair of sunglasses for the trip, ugh. One pro of always walking near towns is that I can easily replace all I lose! Won’t be as accessible on the South Island.
An anecdotal side note, Becky’s phone got wet back on the canoe trip (yep, Frits) and it has been slowly dying. Today she was too worried to shut it down because it might not go back on, but she couldn’t get the touch screen to work to turn it to airplane mode or turn off the volume. The whole day, since we were in suburbs, we had service, and we got to hear dings all day as she got notifications for all her apps. Yep, on top of all this, Becky is going to have to buy a new phone in Wellington.
As we walked on, there was a great variety of sights including a nice lagoon with a park with tons of families and walking through Adrenalin Forest, a high ropes amusement park type of place. It felt like the track intentionally went out of the way to take us to that one and we wondered how many hikers impulsively pay to go on the course.
The day ended with a hike up over Colonial Knob. It was a great path with 723 steps on the way up the 1-2hr climb. Many locals were there doing their nightly exercise up to the viewpoint, and that was cool to see.
We managed to get lucky, and the cold wind and misty weather didn’t hit until the climb. Fortunately, we were sheltered in the forest for most of it.
When we popped out on top, it was really cold and insanely windy. We almost got blown off our feet a few times by gusts. We had about 45min exposed going over the top before we dropped down into the protection of Spicer Forest. Luckily, it was light mist, and the rain didn’t amount to anything while we were up there. Temps up there were 40F/4.4C and some of the coldest we’ve had all trail. Sometimes these Antarctic winds blow up to NZ and these cold windy spells happen. A place down far on the South Island even got snow. Where’s summer!? We did discuss that maybe a mid to late November start of the TA may be better for weather as we both started in early November and have plenty of time to get through the South Island before fall arrives.
We dove down into Spicer Forest and found a great spot to pitch down low and out of the wind by 6pm, before the rain came. This is only the second time all trail that we’ve camped somewhere with just the two of us. It rained lightly on and off for a few hours before clearing.
Becky was able to get some Ramen down before falling asleep before 8pm. As the day went on today, I noticed her frequent and urgent bathroom stops and put together that she has a urinary tract infection that she was aware of and was thinking would pass on it’s own as they have in the past without antibiotics off the trail. She’s only had antibiotics once in her life and I get the resistance. She totally didn’t want to tell “mom” and get a lecture from me, but she sure did! She’s not fully aware of how quickly things can go bad out in the wilderness if they aren’t taken care of and caught early. Yes, she gave me permission to write about this, and I do hope maybe reading this some of what I keep saying will sink in. These are common for women on the trail. She is thinking the exhaustion and stomach are not related, but it all is. Her body needs to rest and she needs to help it by eating better and treating the UTI! I’m trying to convince her to get meds because it won’t be easily accessible on the South Island at all. It’s tough because I see where all this is headed and am like a broken record with the lectures. I swear I do feel like a mom with how I feel that it all falls on deaf ears and she’s determined to do it her way and learn the hard way. My worry is that it’s really impacting her health and possibly ability to do the TA together. We are taking a double zero, but with all there is to do with prepping resupplies for the South Island, getting gear she needs, and getting a new phone, it still won’t be enough of a rest. I don’t know how long I can hold on and keep waiting as these last couple days have been a big test of my patience knowing all this is avoidable with more effort and foresight. It doesn’t just affect her when she doesn’t take care of herself. Tomorrow we have one full day of hiking into Wellington and it will be clear weather, yay! Today was pretty cool with a great deal of variety. Tomorrow we complete the North Island!
To be fair, the PCTA does much the same in how it promotes the Pacific Crest Trail. They show all the happy faces of people finishing, and link people’s shiny photos from Instagram, often give a bit of an impression that all the trail is like Northern Washington or the Sierras. They kind of gloss over the fact that parts of the trail in So. Cal. have been closed literally for years due to fires. Among other things. I think all the associations that manage/fundraise for long trails have to do this to some extent. It can only get better with money, and people willing to put in the work. If putting pretty pictures up- and maybe ignoring some of the unpleasant realities- gets either more $ or people, then it’s worth doing in their view.
And that section’s proximity to Wellington could be a nice spot for tourists who will never do the entire trail too have beautiful views with easy access. No trail will make everyone happy all the time of course. Like you and Wired mentioned, funding for maintenance on the more remote less-used sections can be nearly non-existent. I live near the PCT and they are constantly looking for volunteer trail crew members and it’s one of the most heavily trafficked hikes of its distance.
When friends visit me from far off places I take them on my favorite section of the PCT depending on the time of year and its accessibility. Perhaps this section of the TA is like that for some Wellington locals.
Well..the TA is not compareable with the PCT in any part. The TA especially on the North Island is not a trail at all. I did not love it so I left it pretty early. I still don´t get it why so many hikers walk (or try to) walk the North Island. It seems people are not very inventive and just want to try something which is promoted like a trail like the AT or PCT.
On ‘promotion’, could some of these people who walk it let me know where they saw it promoted?
Te Araroa’s been in the works as an idea since about the 1970s. That’s long before NZ’s current tourism boom. NZ was then a strongly enclosed, highly socialist country, which had backwards rules like restricting how much money anyone was allowed to remove from the country without government approval. (Now it’s only relatively socialist.) Tourism was barely a thing at the conception. From within NZ, even when I first heard of it in the 2000s, I’d always seen it as an internal project to establish walkability the length of NZ. I see this as a great precedent given the number of times I’ve tried to walk from one place to another, yet been forced along corridors optimised for cars, or (worse) just been denied any practical and safe walking route at all.
Anyway, sure, it’s something to do as an epic “walk the length”, but it also means that someone wanting to travel between any two points along it will have a good option for doing that on foot. In time I’m hoping it sets a precedent for establishing additional guaranteed walking corridors around here. This is especially important in the North Island. Much of the North Island might seem boring, but with all the private land and geography, the fact that there’s a legal and practical walkable route at all, which doesn’t simply follow state highways the entire distance, is a major achievement. Efforts to get rid of the remaining road-walking sections are ongoing, but it’s still being driven by a Trust which is mostly volunteers, often in places far from where the biggest problems are, and gets very little funding. It spends much of its effort trying to convince local and national authorities that it’d be a good idea to help.
On promotion, I’ve had the (possibly false) impression that it’s really been the international long distance hiking community that’s caught on and been promoting it to themselves. Lately, especially since the TAT was symbolically described as “finished” despite continuous efforts to improve, there’s been a sudden and increasing surge of visitors travelling to NZ, all wanting to do it as another thing to tick off the list. Maybe it’s a combination of people just wanting to visit NZ, seeing there’s a “long distance trail”, and deciding it’d be a worthwhile way to see the place.
That’s causing a few problems because, as Erin noted, much of the TAT is a piecemeal collection of individual routes tracks and trails that are merely connected by an overarching route description. Apart from what the Trust has defined, there’s no overall unified plan right now.
In the space of a few years, there’s suddenly a giant bubble of people walk down the route at once — often landing on facilities that historically were only intended to deal with a tiny handful of people a night (and might already have that handful of visitors there for non-Te-Araroa reasons)…. or through communities which had never been such popular places for camping and don’t necessarily have the population base to arrange infrastructure, or possibly even the interest in suddenly having masses of transient people pass by.
Not that I mind everyone coming here. It’s great to see you all, and hopefully eventually the Te Araroa Trail will muddle itself into something that can cope well with, and provide a fulfilling experience for, everyone who wants to walk it. But, apart from a couple of references on tourism promotion websites, I hadn’t really seen any specific above-board promotion of the TAT amongst the much more general promotion of NZ.
Where do people from overseas hear about the thing, and what are you hearing which causes you to decide to do it? Who’s telling you?
I’d like to know how the author mixed this descriptio up with the TA?
Te Araroa – the long pathway is the world’s newest long trail and its most diverse.
New Zealand’s landscape is famously various, and the trail is a natural showcase of that diversity. It winds 3000 km along coastal sand or the ridgelines of forested ranges, across farmland and volcanoes in the North Island and across the beautiful national parks, high country stations and mountain passes in the South Island.
Sometimes you’ll only be a day or two between towns, or you can be up to 8 days in wilderness. In the more populous north there’s usually a campground ahead, and in the more remote south there’s the security of New Zealand’s renowned backcountry huts at the end of any tramping day.
Te Araroa hikers often comment that it’s the contact with the friendly Kiwi culture that makes the trail special. Along with wilderness, the trail takes its walkers through New Zealand towns and settlements and past Maori marae. What the Kiwis call tramping is a traditional and respected skill and New Zealanders are inclined to celebrate the long walkers with invitations into homes en route to share a meal and a story.
Te Araroa means “The Long Path” and so it is. At an average of 25 kms a day, the trail takes 120 days to walk – four months. The North Island route is just over 1,600 km long, and the South Island just under 1,400 km. The trail is best tackled north to south, beginning from the top of the North Island at Cape Reinga in late spring. The traverse of the South Island then falls in mid- to late summer, when the mountain passes are clear of snow, and river levels are low.
Bloggers and long distance hiking community do the TA promotions…Guthook app will definitely increases that number…
It’s been my understanding that they quite quickly keep getting funneled over to the TA site when they look up the Great Walks. Then they think it’s just a bigger version of the Great Walks and go for it. Yes, a bit of lack of research on their end, but that’s been my understanding. Even those that researched it greatly are unaware because they are drawn to the flashy filtered Instagram posts and blogs that only show the smiling faces and pretty views rather than the in-betweens or what it takes to get there. It’s a cycle.
Walked the TA north island and loved it…thru hiking (even roads) is about meeting the locals,realizing the hard work it must have been to provide a continous hike,etc…people who are consuming hiking probably should not walk the NI…thru hiking is a way of life…
I do agree that it does seem to be a way for people to claim to do something they haven’t. It’s pretty cool to say you’ve hiked the North Island of New Zealand…and many are posting their N Island finish photos stating they have “completed the North Island!” without mentioning they hitched half of it. It looks a lot cooler on social media than saying, “Hey, I’m done touring around the N Island and now am going to check out the South Island.”
its deceptive there are people “finishing the TA” now in January. that makes the TA look doable for a completion time now, but its doubtful a lot of them have completed it, especially in the times they claim because they are hiking when the weather is really bad, but people reading their posts won’t know that, its just posts on a TA facebook group with no details… and people think, sweet, they did it, so we’ll do that at that time of year as well…
They all do, but the PCT really does live up to the hype overall. Yes, each trail has its parts, but I think my main point is that it’s so greatly overlooked on the North Island and many many hikers feel like it was falsely advertised. It doesn’t matter to the TA if hikers skip and claim to have hiked it, they just need you over here spending $$.
You are certainly justified in your worry about Becky’s health. I hope seeks medical attention soon before her UTI turns into a bladder infection or worse, a kidney infection. The longer she waits the worse it can be. I’m sure she doesn’t want that. It would be a shame if she has to delay her hike after having finally reached the South Island. So, Wellington should be just the place to find the diagnosis and meds she needs. Hope she get meds and feels better soon.
Sounds like you had a great day with all the wonderful sun and hopefully some warmth. I really sympathize with how the commercial aspect of the a trail can detract from the enjoyment.
As soon as possible get some cranberry juice for Becky, it helps treat the symptoms of a UTI and also makes it hard for bacteria to stick to the sides of the ureter. Also get her to drink heaps off water. The more water she drinks the less she will have that needing to wee feeling plus it has the double bonus of flushing the bacteria out and diluting the acidity of the urine so it will burn less when passing. If she is really resistant to antibiotics then she can get cranberry capsules and some Ural at any chemist and they will help her body treat the symptoms until her immune system kills the infection. I hope it clears up quickly for her
Wellington definitely THE place where Miss B can cure properly..Homeopathy may be…
Guess what there is an Homeopathic clinic in Wellington…timing is perfect…leaving Wellington without being healthy/rested/feed and prepared for the SI will be a huge mistake..the SI will be less indulgent than the NI… Good luck, rest/feed yourselves well before starting the next leg.
Wellington very nice city..good flat white coffee…enjoy
I sure hope Becky’s UTI gets treated. That’s so rough to have to go through on a hike- ugh! Maybe others are different, but I’ve never had one go away without antibiotics. There can be complications if untreated, which is not something to mess with in the backcountry.
Thanks for bringing this up on the blog and thanks to Becky for letting you share this part of the story. I know a lot of people read this, and it’s not something talked about much. Really good to share what to watch out for and how to deal with it. Hope she feels better soon!
Ok it’s official now, serena williams confirms it….
NZ WIND SUCKS 🙂
beaten by the wind
My daughter got a kidney infection from a UTI, we almost lost her!!! Becky, please listen to your Elders!! Please!! Ok, rant over..
Good to see you and Becky going through the highs and lows together. Next stop, Wellington, Enjoy!!
Good to know and a somber message for Becky. Thank you for sharing that! She has taken it more seriously thankfully!
Try some of these for Becky, they should be available at most pharmacys without a prescription required: Ural Effervescent Powder Urinary Tract Infection Relief Sachets. Green packets called Urals. They’re pretty good.
Hope it helps.
the flash sections of the trail are there to kill two birds with one stone… give the locals somewhere nice to exercise en masse regularly and slot it in to the TA while they are at it and take advantage of maximum funding from multiple sources, being close to a major population centre it attracts maximum $$$ local businesses push for it so they can get maximum $$$$ and sell maximum ice creams…
adds another feather in the TA’s and local councils caps…. never mind its only a teeny weeny section of the TA, blink and you’ve done it…. trying to improve the TA is a massive task, strapped for resources it needs to be able to improve the trail, they cant turn down opportunities to incorporate high quality sections into the trail, presenting a trail warts and all is risky, would it sink the trail when its only just got off the ground? by NZ standards its not that rough a trail, I dont know if the organisers thought out how much different it is from what overseas walkers are used to, Europeans get a lot of benched trails with serviced accommodation throughout…. NZ is a modern western nation but in some ways its not. once yhou stray very far from the major towns maintenance on infrastructure takes a big dip
Hello. Interesting thoughts. On this:
The views were great, but we did wonder why the track went so high up the hillside just to come right back down again.
When I walked it I’d have preferred it stayed on the top, but property rights are a big complication along there. It’s a private farm along the ridge at the top, so it can’t go across that way. Go too low and it gets tangled up with the railway corridor, plus trying to survey tracks that sidle steep terrain can get intensely complex an expensive.
This section had been planned by locals for some time before Te Araroa came along. (More background at https://kapitibush.org.nz/2015/12/03/how-it-started-paekakariki-escarpment-track/ ) Without it, the only walking option between those two points is directly alongside the road. Once you’ve done that once, there’s little incentive to do it again IMHO. Te Araroa and locals ended up having common goals when the TAT wanted to find some way of avoiding the road walk. As it is now, and with easy public transport (train) at both ends, it’s becoming a really popular section of track for locals who live anywhere along the Kapiti train line.
I did see many locals on it and that was nice! I don’t know many of them know what the TA is, which is a bummer…
You are giving Becky excellent health advice, Erin. I’m an RN — I’ve seen untreated UTI’s escalate to kidney infections that cause kidneys to fail, requiring dialysis.
Sometimes it’s possible to self-treat if caught early enough & symptoms are very mild. But from what you’ve described, Becky’s way past that point.
Full course of antibiotics & lots of fluids is the way to go.
I hope Becky is feeling better very soon!!
Mercedes says what I wanted to say last night but was too tired to compose! It sounds as if it’s got way beyond the self-treatment stage. Please tell Becky that people around the world are imploring her to see a doctor.
Thank you Mercedes!
The Te Araroa isn’t like any other long trail I have ever heard of, much like NZ isn’t like any country you will ever have been to.We are such a small couple of islands that this trail is going to pass through everything, as a matter of course. I love seeing travelers come here and see this amazing place, but I am afraid it does bug me to see the trail criticized so. The TA is NZs trail, it isn’t just a nature walk like the other long thru hikes. The mix of muddy ‘jungles’ (which I wouldn’t trade for a groomed trail ever), the beaches, the roads, the farms, the tourism, the dairies and ice cream, it’s all a part of it and that isn’t going to change too much. I hope it doesn’t. Travelers just have to get used to it and adopt some of the laid back attitude of us Kiwis. This is where we live, and everyone is welcome to come walk right through the middle of it and be welcomed.
Yes, it’s one thing to think that, then a whole other to actually walk it and truly still believe it every moment of every day for two months of that. That’s what a very few percentage do. It’s fine for those who live here and go out on weekend or weeklong trips, but doing it as a “thu-hike” is a whole other thing and I have to be upfront about that. There are many other options in the thru-hiking world that many would prefer to this. I am ok because I’ve done all those and have reached this point on my list, but for most, this is a first thru-hike (maybe their only one) and they are regretting their decision to make it this one.
Hey Erin, my wife had joint pain on a section hike and did not agree to take any anti inflammatory. She hates pills. We soon had to get of the trail. I feel you concern for Becky and your concern you could lose her as your hiking partner. I hope this works out well for both of you.
Hum, is it time for tough love and/or ultimatum? I understand your dilemma and feel bad for you. You’re a very wise person, you will make the right decision. You too worked hard and saved to do the TA, it would be a shame if the South Island turns into a disaster because of one person’s stubbornness. It can easily be prevented. If one person is aware of the danger and decide not to prevent it, you have the right to refuse to get involve.
Yes, that discussion (or rant on my part) has been had, and she has taken it to heart thankfully. Hoping for a great reset on the South Island!
Sixteen degrees F here in the Portland area.
Oh man! Brrr!
Each person has their own path in life and if your path is being jeopardized because of someone else’s decisions then you may need to choose to go it alone. No disrespect to anyone and Becky might just need to do this her way. My advice, even if you didn’t ask for it, is that pressuring anyone to take care of themselves, especially when they are young, often makes them dig in their heels. Simply stating your position and what you are willing to do, and not do, might clear up for her what she is willing to do. Either way, it’s an adventure.
Yes, I do think that it has sunk in a bit finally. I give her props for standing her ground and not letting others influence her, but she’s coming around in her own time. I just hope it’s sooner than later!
that campsite in the forest is about a kilometre away on the other side of the hill from the house where i grew up in Tawa, between the womens prison and the psychiatric hospital lol…
Haha! Ah, wilderness!
Please tell Becky that people around the world are imploring her to see a doctor. -Very succinctly put. Please consider Becky. Obviously you can see how many care. Hopefully the wrap up of this leg will see Becky all good to go and plans moving forward.
It seems it all has worked and Becky did buy some stuff to treat it, so thank you to all of you for the peer pressure other than from me.
she bought more gummy bears? 😛
I blame Will for starting this addiction!
So many goid comments. UTI can lead to stroke like symptoms, where a person hallucinates.
I learned from an er doctor that this is why they do urinalysis so quickly with these symptoms is so they can diagnose suspected UTI and start antibiotics. Dehydration can be a killer. AND can cause one to seriously lack judgement. So while I agree with Shelly on pressuring.. I also think you really cannot back off at this point.
I used to be a several Pepsi a day consumer, but also was aware that it acts as a diuretic, thus requiring you to consume more water to stay hydrated. (quit the Pepsi cold turkey in late 2012, 50 pounds ago). A very small amount of flat Coke was considered to be stomach-settling when I was little.. but just a little.
I agree this is beyond cranberry therapy, though that wouldn’t hurt along with and after a course of antibiotics.
So add someone who has lived a long time from SoCal to those concerned from around the world.
I hope you have a good stay in Wellington, good resupply, that Becky finds good shoies and replacement cell, and of course good food and chocolate milk!!
Yep! She did get the diuretic lecture as well, ha!
The Te Araroa is not the Pacific Crest Trail.
The Te Araroa is not the Pacific Crest Trail.
The Te Araroa is not the Pacific Crest Trail.
That is a good thing.
Rinse, repeat the above as necessary.
When I hiked that section of the TA in 2015 and 2011, I would have LOVED to have that swing bridge section in place.
GOOD JOB TA KIWIS.
Anyone that knows my depth of hiking knows I’m much more than a PCT walker and that I’ve been on all sorts of trails at various stages of development. This isn’t my first rodeo by far and I’m well aware that all trails are different. To each their own. My friend that hiked this in 2011 found it to be an adventure and exciting, but it’s become something else now that he would not like at all. He met his first other thru-hiker that year the day he hit the South Island and would never be able to take what it is today. It’s different to sit at home and judge and quite another to walk it (all of it) and actually know.
the TA is part Camino de Santiago, part Trail hike, part Rogaine…. part farm wander…
A geographically-unified long walk / through-hike in NZ would probably look something like this:
I.e. not a long way from the TA for much of way south of Palmerston North, but very different north of there.
TA is not a trail! It is a series of trails linked by road sections.
Even the SI has roads too so isn’t an entire trail.
It is certainly advertised as a trail, per their website, and others.
There are very probably some terminology clashes in there.
In regular NZ terminology I’d normally refer to a specific walkway through a wilderness area (or whatever) as a ‘track’, whereas a ‘trail’ is just a route lots of people follow, normally via signs or instructions or whatever.
Cudos for both of you Erin and Becky for being so open and honest. Becky, we love you. 🙂 We all learn in our own time and way.
Some of the comments about how the trail really is and how it’s “advertised” reminds me a LOT of the AZT. And I have worked on the AZT and lived right by it for 35 years. I can’t believe when people use it for a first thru hike. NOT a good plan, it’s harder than “advertised” and not a lot of people who start actually do the whole thing or finish. Or finish in the time they think they will, cause well reality bites sometimes. Once again, thank you for sharing, very much look forward to your updates and appreciate the efforts it takes to keep that up.