Tātou Araroa — Episode 2: A tale of three homes
Thursday night, 3 days before we begin.
Who are ya?
Before we go much further, it seems rude to not introduce ourselves. My wife Sarah is 30 and a Primary School Teacher and I, Bill, 35, an Outdoor Education Professional. Whilst you might read this and be thinking “oh they’ll be all good then”, I should point out I’ve spent more time in the office than the outdoors. I am more at home on Excel than in the bush, more proficient in Kaizen than Kayak.
Sarah will introduce herself further in due course, for now she say’s hello and thank you to you all for following!
We moved to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2011 after meeting at a camp in America and have fallen for te whenua (the land), te tangata (the people) me te āhua noho (the lifestyle).
A tale of three homes
Shutting down a house can be many things; stressful, tiresome and hard work. It is however, above all, hugely freeing. To end as we have now, with a bike, a paddleboard and 6 Tupperware boxes feels liberating, if a little terrifying.
Last week we lived out our last few days at our lovely rented home in Castor Bay on Auckland’s North Shore. We took in the view of the Hauraki Gulf for the final time, packed up, cleaned up and now find ourselves at the home of our first Pre-Trail Angels (more about them later!)
Yesterday was also the first erection of our home for the next 5 months, the beautiful Nemo Dagger 2. 1.51kg of poles, pegs and sheets, she’s a thing of beauty. The double entry and exit points and double vestibules will hopefully limit the effect on Sarah’s and I’s patience with each other with her tiny bladder and my general messiness.
The Curious Incident of the Camping Stove in the Night-Time
Not my proudest moment, but it could have been much worse. Essentially there are 2 main schools of thought about cooking on a long distance tramp. Liquid Fuel vs Canister. We’d never used Liquid before and, conscious of the cost and environmental footprint of using canister, we thought we’d give it a go and borrowed one from a colleague.
Cooker set up, youtube instruction video for operation followed, here we go….. WOOOOOF a 4ft flame shoots up, up my leg and up my arm taking the hair with it as it comes. The expected calming after the initial ignition is not forthcoming and, due to it’s proximity to our back door……..it needs to be moved.
“Fuel, Oxygen, Heat — The Fire Triangle, remove one and it’ll go out!” I repeat in my head, (amongst many curses regarding my shorts being on fire), I decide a wet towel is the best option, so I wet a towel, place it over the stove and decide to move it to the garden. I lean in to pick up stove, choose the spot on the towel to hold…… ARGGHHHH my hand has slipped in a fold in the towel and the back of my hand now attaches itself to the hot metal of the stove and begins to sizzle. A swift throw of towel, cooker, fuel bottle and all into the garden and a frantic race to remove the fuel from the stove ensues.
Fortunately, four weeks, many hospital visits, district nurses and patronising OT visits later and we’re looking much better and very grateful for the amazing health system here in NZ.
We wrote in our first post about the amazing Trail Angels who dot the winding path of Te Araroa, bringing figurative, and often literal, shelter from the storm. They come in many forms, from the farmer who takes 10m2 of their land and puts it aside for a TA Only campground, to the friend who offers their home, time or wisdom along the trail.
We’ve been lucky enough to have a number of Pre-Trail Angels and we’d love to recognise them now. To the crew at my old employers Bigfoot Adventures — thank you thank you for the advice, the support and the tent! To Ash, Sarah and most importantly Veda (age 16 months) for hosting us this week, sharing your home and your lives with us for this hugely transitional time in our life has been amazing.
We shall seek to recognise Trail Angels as we go, they are the lifeblood that makes this amazing experience what it is.
Check out the next chapter in our journey HERE