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Wanaka

Remaining Distance: 498.2km
Distance Covered: 2801.8km
Total Traverse Hiking Days: 126

Last Wednesday morning while studying the map Ken was on, I suddenly felt sure of his precise location. Then, at that very moment the phone rang. It was Kenyon calling from a ridge while heading towards Lake Hawea. I asked him where he was in relation to a certain grid reference on the map. His answer; “right on that spot”.I just couldn’t believe that I had such a strong feeling of his location and for what reason I’m not sure? Lindy thinks it must be a twin thing? I’m thinking it’s more coincidence than anything else.

Before Ken called, he had set off from Stody’s Hut and had been heading to the ridge above which would then weave him down into Lake Hawea Bay. The ridge offered distant views of Mt. Earnslaw and Mt. Aspiring as well as faint mobile reception. Several of his calls dropped out along the way – more reminders that we really should have gone for TelstraClear, the preferred network which offers far greater coverage throughout New Zealand.

A couple of days ago Ken crossed the Ahuriri River. He mentioned it was thigh deep and running fast and that his boots had been damp ever since. The worst part of gearing up in the early hours of morning would surely be sliding warm feet into wet boots that have been slowly chilled over-night. Mmmmm . . .  The second worst part would be having to slowly warm them up for the first hour of the day’s hike. You may well ask, why not take the boots off before entering the river? Well some rivers are fine to cross without footwear, depending on their depth, strength of current and riverbed surface. With a heavy pack and out of sight rocks to negotiate, the safer option is to keep boots on and remain sure-footed. While a heavy pack can help anchor you in a waist deep flow, it can also become buoyant once water reaches the height of the pack. This is often what happens and can lead to disaster. Getting swept away in rivers is the most common cause of fatal accidents in the sub-alpine area of New Zealand. The Ahuriri was Ken’s last solo river crossing of his traverse and by river I mean enough of one to call for concern. All remaining rivers on his hike are bridged which is of course a huge relief to me. I don’t like to think too much of anyone crossing rivers on their own let alone my brother, on a track with little traffic and days away from any help. Before and after every crossing Ken has made, I keep a vigilant eye out for his incoming SPOT message. Receiving the “OK” by sms is always the highlight of that day.

Ken and I have both been in recent contact with Graeme Woodward, a Sydney friend of ours from years back, who now lives in NZ. Since hearing of Ken’s hike and being a keen hiker himself, Graeme has planned for weeks to hike part of the Te Araroa Trail with Ken. Tomorrow morning Graeme and Kenyon set off. The first 15km will take them out of Wanaka to Glendhu Bay. From there they’ll take the Motatapu Alpine Track which is known for running through Shania Twain’s property. After sharing hot cross buns with the pop star, they’ll then head on to the town of Mace. It’s then Big Hill track into Arrowtown which is just a day’s hike north-east of Queenstown.

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. John Phillips #

    Wonderful photos of lakes and mountains. I cant believe how fast you are moving now. The end is in sight! well not quite yet but within range.
    I hope you get to contact Laura and Mark in Wanaka either now or on your return trip up north.
    They are in the adventure guiding business and will be most interested in what you have done. Also they are nice people with great spirit.
    I am glad you have company on this stage of your journey
    Bets wishes, John and Pippa and family

    Saturday 7 April, 2012
    • Hi John, Pippa and family!

      Thanks so much for Laura and Marks details. I left Wanaka the morning after receiving your email and left a message with them. We hope to meet up with them on our way back north once the hike is over. It would be most interesting to hear about the work they are both involved in. I’m very envious of the town they live in. What a setting!

      It sure is great to have had company during the last week. My friend Graeme joined me for four days and now Gordon is here with me in Queenstown. We have five days of hiking ahead of us before I am on my own again but as you know Gordon will meet up with me for the last 5 days of the hike.

      Please say hello to the rest of the family for me.

      Friday 20 April, 2012
  2. Pammy #

    I’m thankful to hear the worst of the river crossings are now over on this final leg of your traverse. I guess you can say you’ll cross the other bridges when you get to them!

    Love your photos of the lakes and mountains – wish we were there!

    Saturday 7 April, 2012
    • Hi Mom!

      I’ve enjoyed eating the towns out. They’re having a hard time keeping up with my orders.
      Being able to ford the last two rivers (Rangitata and Ahuriri) was a very rewarding part of the traverse. I’m counting the days too and look forward to seeing you and Dad soon. Looking very forward to some relaxation. It’s been a while since I’ve had a break.

      Graeme and I had a real workout on the hills for 3 days followed by a very flat hike into Queenstown on the last day. It was straight to the pub for drinks!

      Will chat to you soon! Bye for now, Keno

      Friday 20 April, 2012
  3. Jo #

    Yay Kenyon! Queenstown. You are really reaching the final days now. Very exciting for you. Looking forward to hearing all about it when you get home. Baby is looking like it will beat you as coming sooner than planned in next 1-2 weeks. Will get a better idea after ultrasound scan tomorrow. Keep up the good pace and we’ll see you soon.
    Jo and Darren

    Tuesday 10 April, 2012
    • Hey Jo and Darren!

      That’s really exciting to know that any minute now your will have a new born baby! Please let me know how you are after the big day. I hope the ultrasound scan went well and that you got a printout of it to show me when I get back. Not long now.

      Will be catching up with you soon. Bye, Kenyon 🙂

      Friday 20 April, 2012
  4. wrongwayround09 #

    Kenyon – it was great walking with you over the last week. The scenery between Wanaka and Queenstown was stunning, and we were so lucky with the gorgeous weather. But the hills on the Motatapu trail are certainly not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, I’m so glad we declined Shania’s offer of a hot shower, home cooked meal and helicopter ride ;-). Walking was the only way to go!

    All the best for the rest of your walking adventure – I look forward to catching up again when you’re all done.

    Graeme.

    Thursday 12 April, 2012
    • Hi Graeme,

      Ken had a great hike through Motatapu with you too. Great to hear you had just as good a time. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to join in on the fun. I look forward to posting some of the photos taken – so look out for them!

      Cheers, hope to see you in Christchurch soon!

      Thursday 12 April, 2012
    • Hi Graeme,

      I’m still dreaming of the offers that Shania Twain threw at us but you’re right… hiking is the only way to go! As hard as it was, we did the right thing.

      It was great to have your company during that undulating section. We sure did have good views at the top of each “hill”.

      Gordon and I will be seeing you next month. We will be in touch to arrange a time.
      Enjoy cycling the Heaphy Track! I’m interested to hear all about it. It looks like we will be seeing you when you get back from Heaphy.

      Bye, Kenyon

      Friday 20 April, 2012
  5. great website!!! love your work and blog. got your details from my flatmate lynda, she works at fresh choice and you met het today….

    Saturday 14 April, 2012
    • Hi Lynda,

      Was great to see you again today whilst I bought the last few things I needed. Hello to your flat mate too! Might see you again soon on our way north after I have finished the trail.

      Bye, Kenyon 🙂

      Friday 20 April, 2012

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