Positive Mental Attitude, baby, it's all about Positive Mental Attitude.
We begin the Te Araroa trekking South down the glorious 90 mile beach. Several beautiful days of flat, straight, monotonousness onwardness. The breathing of the ocean beats continuously with its waves rolling in, sucking out... back and forth... total peace and harmony. Have you ever had the opportunity to close your eyes and walk blindly (even backwards) for hours on end? This is what I call fun.
Next up comes the mud. Steep, knee deep mud. I haven't made a mud pie since I was 5, and I certainly can't remember the last time I jumped into a puddle to see how big the splash would be. I turned into a goofy little child in this next section, sliding up the mountain, down the hill and rolling all around in the mud with the biggest grin you have ever seen. This is also called fun. Real dirty fun!
Onward to the farm fields. It feels so cool to hike with the sheep and cows of New Zealand. Each time I climb over a farm stile, I thinkof my Grandpa's childhood back in good ol' Iowa. The cows will even hike along with you if you sing to them. Sure, it was cold and rainy and your legs swell with weird allergies to the land, but this is the life! I'm so thankful to all the farmers who've opened their private land for us TA hikers as we make our trek across their country.
And then we have the road walks. Oh, the road walks. This is something I learned to love on the PNT. You find all kinds of cool road kill and trinkets here. Of course I got my NZ number plate (that's a license plate for you Americans), and even found a pack of smokes... thanks Hoff. Also, the bars are never too far and drivers always wave for extra hiking encouragement. The Te Araroa tramps directly through major cities and down proper residential neighborhoods, hundreds of miles of this, in fact, and eventually you find yourself hiking on a golf course. A true opportunity to taste a new country.
Beach... Mud... Farm... Road... Most of the hikers who I've spoken with didn't exactly like these sections... I get it, too. There were moments when I questioned what the hell I got myself into. But I think with the right Positive Mental Attitude, and the ability to embrace each moment as a crazy new adventure, you can have the best time of your life. Attitude is more valuable than any piece of gear on the market!