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I’ve been spending time on the treadmill and stair master at the gym since getting out of the hospital. After about two weeks of dealing with the kidney stone, I feel like I’m starting at square one in the fitness department. It’s all good though, I’ve got six months to travel 1800 miles.

I’m packed and repacked and ready to roll, I think. Preparing for a New Zealand summer is challenging. My past experience there tells me that one can expect any weather conditions at any time. When I hiked the Kepler Track years ago, I was approaching Luxmore Hut and as I crested one of my last mountains on a warm but overcast day, I began to feel little pellets of some kind start hitting my face. My first thought was sand. After about a minute, I realized it was sleet! In the middle of summer! I was mostly prepared, fleece pullover and my rain gear kept me warm and dry, however my hands were freezing within minutes. One piece of gear I didn’t bring was gloves. Being the ever resourceful individual that I am, I grabbed a spare pair of socks to keep my hands from too much damage. About an hour later I strolled into Luxmore, sock-mittens doing their job nicely, and settled in for the night.

Four seasons in a day is not uncommon in New Zealand. I’m definitely better prepared this time around. Gloves are in my bag! Here’s my gear list:

  • Osprey Exos 58 backpack
  • Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL-1 tent
  • Sea to Summit Trek I sleeping bag
  • Klymit Static V Luxe sleeping pad
  • Kkymit Luxe Pillow
  • REI Co-op 650 down jacket
  • Lightweight base layer
  • Gloves & fleece hat
  • Town clothes
  • Camp kit (toiletries, headlamp, first aid, etc.)
  • Osprey 2.5L reservoir
  • Sawyer Squeeze filter & CNOC bladder
  • MSR PocketRocket 2
  • Snow Peak titanium mini solo cookset
  • Kitchen kit (utensils, cleaning supplies, knife, etc.)
  • Xero camp shoes
  • Zseat butt pad (amazing piece of gear)
  • Sony a6000 camera
  • GoPro Hero 6
  • iPod Touch
  • Electronics kit (cables, charger, etc.)
  • Journal
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Outdoor Research Helios hat

I’ve got one side trip planned while I’m in New Zealand. After years of trying to plan, I’m finally going to hike the Milford Track. I decided to use a guide company because the logistics of doing it myself while planning for Te Araroa was just overwhelming. So now, I walk into Queenstown and enjoy a week of a feather light pack and just enjoying the scenery! A hiking vacation during my hiking vacation!

I depart October 3. San Francisco, Honolulu, Auckland. I plan to begin my trek Oct 8 from Cape Reinga. Six months in New Zealand. I think that’s really what the doctor ordered instead of lithotripsy!

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