What better way to celebrate a wedding anniversary than by embarking on a family tramping adventure? On this occasion, a trek over the Kelly Range/Taipo River/Harman Pass tests skilled tramper and mum, Sonia Barrish, as she navigates slips and steep climbs on a four day, 51 kilometre tramp with her partner and 15-month old.
Over six months and 3,000 kilometres later, this incredible mother-daughter team crosses the finish line into Bluff and completes Te Araroa. While ending this epic journey and rejoining civilisation may be bittersweet, Emilie reminds us that they have many more adventures ahead . . .
Refreshed and ready for action, Victoria and Emilie return to the Trail to tackle the second-to-last leg of their journey – the Takitimu Mountains in the Southland region.
A concussion en route to Queenstown requires Victoria and Emilie to take a brief hiatus from the Trail. With morale and motivation running low, Victoria finds encouragement in the kindness of friends and makes the decision to continue the trek onto Te Anau.
Gale force winds strong enough to carry a pack, a crossing of the largest unbridged river on the Trail, and the chance to use a nursing degree? It's just another week in the life of these two Te Araroa trampers.
After a forced rest day watching snowfall, Victoria and Emilie continue on their way and climb up to Stag Saddle, the highest point of Te Araroa at 1925m. Spurred on by grey clouds, they make it to Lake Tekapo, where the joy of having finished another section competes with the dread of having to re-enter society.
Making their way across Hakatere Conservation Park, Victoria and Emilie are welcomed by a cold South Island night and an unexpected memorial for a local hut mouse. With another front rolling in, they manage to get to Double Hut just before the snow falls.
After taking a short break with friends, Victoria and Emilie rejoin the Trail and have their first kea encounter. As the weather packs in, they hunker down to wait out the storm. Anxiety pays an unexpected visit and reminds Victoria that ‘just like the weather, this too shall pass.’
Crossing the Harper Pass, the wild west coast welcomes Victoria and Emilie as they bathe in its icy waters, explore its lush forests, and meander along its rocky riverbanks.
Celebrating their crossing of the Waiau Pass, Victoria reflects on her former fast-paced lifestyle and how truly precious it is to have this mummy daughter time in nature.
“I feel nutritionally deficient, my stomach a gnawing void after 60+ days of trail walking on meagre rations.” While made worth it by the stunning views and company of friends, Victoria faces the harsh reality of packing another 14 days worth of food and trying to keep a party of two nourished amidst long days of climbing in Nelson Lakes.
In this eventful portion of their trip, Emilie once again shows her bravery as she gets stung by a swarm of wasps and takes a serious tumble that requires Victoria to act fast. Amidst it all, this powerhouse team meets new friends and soaks up the magic and healing held within the Richmond Ranges.
Victoria and Emilie continue to explore the many coves and beaches of the breathtaking Queen Charlotte Track, rediscovering the magic of low tide and nature's smallest sea creatures.
An extra rest day replenishes this mummy daughter tramping team. After saying goodbye to new friends, they set off on the next stage of their Manawatu adventure while Victoria contemplates the shortcomings of 'thru-hiking.'
Victoria and Emilie roll up their sleeves and help restore Stanfield Hut, giving back to the backcountry hut system that has sheltered them along the Te Araroa trail.
With pit stops along the way for homemade cake and ice cream, road walking has its perks. Mother and daughter duo, Victoria and Emilie, continue their journey along beaches and agricultural land, eventually reaching the famous Rescue orange Whiowhio Hut in Palmerston North.