9th February

41.3km

Careys Hut 2708.4km Roadside camp 2749.7km

The sky showed off hues of pink and gray. I was first to wake and first to start hiking on the flat and easy 4wd trail. I slept so well last night, if there were any mice in the hut they didn’t seem to be interested in my food or the bags the other hikers had lying on the floor.

After 10km I took a toilet break at a campground and really wanted a second coffee but the ninja sandflies appeared from nowhere and attacked me. Usually strong wind is enough to blow them away but not today. Today they wanted my blood. I’ve mentioned sandflies on numerous occasions during this hike. And yes they are much worse than I’m making out. They really make an amazing day in the great outdoors downright miserable. Sorry New Zealand, maybe you should add sandflies to the list of animals you are trying to exterminate. It should be easy to do. Just list them as an exotic species that blew across the Tasman from Australia and poison the little buggers. Please.

I followed the dirt road for the next 20km as the wind picked up to near gale force. This kept the sandflies away and allowed me to simply make some miles through the rolling farmland. I put on my headphones, listened to music and let my mind wander. I started to think crazy thoughts. The speed record, or fastest know time for the Te Araroa trail is about 74 days, self supported. Which means thru hiking the same way I do, without the aid of others to cook meals, pace runners, cars at trailheads with food and water etc. I’m less than a week from finishing so maybe I’ll finish in 116 days or so. I’ve taken 13 rest days and I cruised through the north island at a leisurely pace. The south island is much harder and slower but I’ll finish it in around 48 days. If I lightened my gear to freaky ultra light levels, planned my resupply and transits between the islands and had some luck with the weather I know I could come close to that sort of pace. It’s a relaxed 40km per day average. The crazy thoughts one can have when thru hiking. Or are they crazy. Of course they are, I’m no athlete.

10am photo below

With all my daydreaming finished I set up camp near a stream on the side of the road. The next hut was 20km away, that would have made a 60km day. Too far for me, I’m not breaking any records today. Besides I’m feeling rather tired at the moment.

Distance to The Bluff 247km

If you enjoy following along on my journey, let me send you a postcard from New Zealand? I have set up a Patreon site with various levels of support. For those that would like to help out with my journey, I can give something in return. Thank you in advance. https://www.patreon.com/bikehikesafari


You might like to read:

Complete Te Araroa Trail
Te Araroa Trail Gear List
Lightweight Hiking Gear List

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12 Responses

  1. Nas Shannon

    You may hate the sandflies but they love you!! Seriously, they are hands down the worst thing about this country – almost makes you appreciate those gale force winds and icy morning frosts!
    I hope you are having an amazing well-deserved rest and planning your return in 2020 to break the speed record (not crazy at all and I will totally drive you in a Sth Island resupply package)

    Reply
  2. Kev

    Am feeling your sandfly bites vicariously. Hang in there mate!
    Just remember your managing a LOT better than I would.

    Reply
    • BikeHikeSafari

      Don’t come hiking in New Zealand until the cold frosts kill the buggers, you would not like it. They are much worse than the PCT, in fact the PCT is nothing in comparison.

      Reply
  3. Marc aka 10-Speed

    This crazy things you sometimes think… I didn´t know the speedrecord is only 74 days… Who was it? I was going quite a relaxed speed and did 88 days. I was thinking of doing a yoyo sometimes when hiking, but had already planned an Australia trip with a friend of mine.

    Reply
    • BikeHikeSafari

      Not sure who it was, but like most people they thought they did a fast time but did nothing to verify it. GPX tracks, photos of hut log books, time stamps and gps on photos etc. So it will not be accepted, so as it stands there is no self supported verified fkt for the TA. The FKT for supported is something like 55 days. Could be a project for you?

      Reply
  4. Alan Grant

    I’m with you Brad – they are worse than the mosquitoes. They become legendary in ways that mossies rarely do. On the up side, it’s said that we owe much of what is left of the original pristine forests and landscapes in general on the South Island’s West Coast to the marauding sandfly, otherwise the fat cats would have carved them up a long time ago. Small mercies!

    Reply
    • BikeHikeSafari

      Sometimes they do. I’ve had a couple of occasions where I scratched the bites and they became infected. At least there is no malaria or other nasty viruses from them

      Reply

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