Back to the Jungle

After too many days of walking on road margin, getting passed by cars going 50 mph, we found ourselves back in the mountains, climbing and descending. As fast as road margin kilometers are (we average about 5 per hour on the road and 2 or 3 in the mountains), the bush is quieter, less dangerous, more pleasant and has cleaner air. There were also some other issues.

Z, December 30th 2013


Crossing Auckland and Environs

This section has been an interesting one, like so many before it.

On Saturday morning we left the downtown, eastern side of Auckland, heading west across the city.

Our path took us through every possible park, some with views of San Francisco AND Auckland:


It's just that way, if you look carefully...

After walking all day, we had done a peculiar thing: we arrived right back at the Auckland airport, where a few weeks prior, we had started our journey.  Having walked thirty-five kilometers at that point, with some pain, we set up camp and slept under the last of the planes that were headed out that day.

Since that night, we’ve continued our southward march, entering at long last into points on the map farther south than any we had visited prior.

Along the way, we’ve had some interesting scenery.

There was the time we hiked through airport industrial zones:


The so-called “Repeater Hill”:


The time we went straight through the Auckland Botanic Gardens:


And eventually, we made it out of the city, and, via hills:


And dales:


We’ve finally made it back into the forests:


M, 30 December 2013


This is the first in a long series of posts about our food. We’ve gotten quite a few questions about what we eat, so here is some information.

We’re in Auckland presently and we hopped into a large chain supermarket. This, of course, is impossible when we’re in small towns (small town food post to follow). We needed to resupply for a 6 day section (the longest we ever have at any one point). We’ll resupply again in Huntly, one day before arriving in Hamilton.  The items in the picture below will keep us fed for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 6 days.


Some features of this resupply:

  • We went to a camping store and got some freeze dried dessert, just to see what it’s like. We’ll let everyone know when we’ve eaten it.

  • We’ve discovered something that neither one of us have ever tasted or seen. It’s called Bhuja Mix. Mike eats mountains of this stuff. It’s very yummy, crunchy, a bit spicy, and really loads up on the calories (one bag is 1259 calories).


  • Something else that we eat tons of are the One Square Meal bars. I think they sell these at the Berkeley Bowl. They’re bars, full of calories and natural ingredients. And they’re super easy to eat as we walk. We each eat one of them a day.  There is an ongoing debate about which is better: apricot or cranberry. We think apricot is winning, but we still have 3400 km to decide.


More food posts to come!

Z, December 27th 2013

Our Christmas in Auckland

Yesterday was Christmas here in New Zealand, and we spent most of it doing what we do nearly everyday: walking.

But yesterday being Christmas, it was a little different. There were few cars on the road, nearly everything was closed, and we were making our way steadily towards Auckland.

What we were not expecting, but should have figured, were groups of people picnicking, celebrating Christmas with a BBQ. It reminded me of 4th of July.

At the end of the day, we found ourselves on a ferry, making our way from Devonport to downtown Auckland:


We plan to spend two “zero” days here. Today, Boxing Day, we’ll be doing some shopping and phone calls, and tomorrow we’ll do some touristy things (suggestions are welcome).

Last night we spent Christmas eating what Kiwis call a kebab:


And watching The Hobbit:


We were up until 10pm last night, way past our bedtime, but it’s a fine movie, and we can’t wait to walk every location in the movie (I think it’s mostly South Island).

M, December 25th 2013

The Treacherous Tides

Our notes said ‘do not attempt unless it is low tide’. We arrived at the beach with low tide having passed 3 hours before. What were we gonna do? Hang out for 6 hours? Waiting for the tide to go back down? No way! We’ve got places to be, things to see, zero days to enjoy!

We looked at the conditions, at the rocks around the point of the beach and decided that we could/would brave it. We may get our feet wet, but that’s nothing new.

We got through the first 5 or 6 points without problem, always having a bail out option if things got iffy. But the closer we got to high tide, the higher the water and we still weren’t ready to wait 6 hours for the ride to go back out.

A small video to show what I’m talking about:

We made it safe and sound. We did get wet (it wasn’t the last time that day either) but all ended well.

Z, December 24th 2013

A socking update

Judging by the comments, the topic of my socks is a popular one.

You probably know by now that we’re only carrying three socks each, so when one ripped back in Mangawhay Heads, that was a bit of a problem.

Well we went through a few towns since then, and I’m happy to report that I’m now carrying FOUR socks: two old ones and two new ones. Apparently, in NZ you have to buy socks in pairs. Wtf?

The only shop that had socks was a surf shop, so I’m now rocking Billabong skull and crossbones socks.


Awesome or terrible? I can't decide.

Go figure.

M, 24 December 2013

The Blister Post

Note: I am writing this post because in all our walking, Mike hasn’t gotten a single blister. Mike is dealing with his own ailments at the moment: allergies.

But I’ve taken precautions. If you wanna see pictures, you have to click on the links.  You don’t have to see them if you don’t want to.

It had to happen. I can’t let my blisters heal and not tell everyone about them especially since they are such a big part of my everyday life.

This all started about 3 weeks ago, on Day 2.  90 Mile Beach was killer on my feet. Over 120,000 steps on the exact same terrain, the same step over and over again. The same rubbing in the same spot for 3 full days. Blisters were inevitable.

As we continued on, the blisters got worse, obviously. Finally, they gave and I was left with a mess. I bandaged them, I took my socks off  whenever I could, and I just kept on walking, although Mike insisted on taking a half day in Ahipara, right after the beach, to give them a rest.  I wasn’t totally sure that I should have been continuing, but it turned out OK. At this point, they have become amazingly tough skin on my feet that I don’t even feel any more. 

We meet a couple at a camp site a couple of days later. She had started to feel blisters on the beach and took her shoes off to walk barefoot. This wasn’t a great idea because she ended up with a bone bruise on her foot and couldn’t finish the beach portion. When we met them, they were planning on staying at the camp site for 4 days to see if the bruising got better. We’re not sure where they are now, but we hope she’s back on her feet.

Other people we have met have also told us about their 90 Mile Beach blisters. Seems that it’s a common occurrence. 

The blisters are still a big part of my life. I check them everyday, but they are healing nicely and are a constant reminder of what I am doing.

If you are brave and not easily disgusted, here is a pic of those blisters, as they stand today.

Z, December 24 the 2013