The Route to Routeburn…

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I blame Bear Grylls.

Although, to be fair, he didn’t start it- not really.

It was the guy that we dropped off at Glenorchy that day back in February on the Nomad Safari tour that really started the germ of the idea. Then Julie, our guide that day, started talking about the tramping she’d done, and the germ of the idea sprouted into something a little more.

That night, over dinner at Botswana Butchery and some excellent Otago pinot noir, my friend and I talked about the guy we’d dropped off and how he was doing the walk independently. We wondered about the training that would have gone into getting ready for the tramp, and just how heavy his pack looked.

Then, on the flight home, I saw the Bear Gryll’s Air NZ safety video. It was set on the Routeburn Track and that sprout of an idea made it’s way to the surface.

I told my husband about it.

‘Your back is too sore,’ he said. ‘How are you going to carry a pack for three days and 40kms?’

I’d thought about that. ‘There’s a posh tour you can do,’ I said. ‘You don’t have to carry in your sleeping things or food- you just need clothes for the walk and the two nights at the lodge. They say about 10kgs.’

‘But you don’t like camping and share accommodation,’ he said.

‘These are proper lodges,’ I explained. ‘They have beds and running water.’

‘What about your knees?’ he asked. ‘You’re always complaining about them.’

‘I’ll train for it and drop at least 10kgs,’ I said.

So, the Routeburn Track was added to my bucket list. That was back in February. I’ve done nothing about it since.

I’ve had good excuses- money, joints, back pain…you know how it is.

I talked about it- to anyone who’d listen. I talked about how I was going to do it, and how I was going to train for it. I went into outdoor stores and priced tramping shoes and backpacks, and I drooled over microfiber t–shirts and daktari pants- you know the ones with pockets in the legs that zip off to be shorts.

I’ll book it soon, I said. As soon as an invoice came through, as soon as I sold my book, as soon as I got some more yeses, as soon as I got fitter…you know how it is.

The friend who was with me when it all started said that she was in- and when was I booking?

I rang the tour operators and asked the questions that were concerning me- things like toilets on the track, and just how fit do you really need to be? Then I took a deep breath, I drew a line in the sand, and I booked the tour.

That was yesterday.

Today the training started.

There’s 21 weeks between now and then. That’s 21 weeks to get fit enough to deal with the track and the climbs and the backpacks comfortably enough to enjoy the process and the scenery which is described in the blurb as:

mountainous peaks; sheer rock faces; alpine basins; pristine lakes; cascading waterfalls; luxuriant forest; turquoise rivers and million dollar views around every corner.

The Route to Routeburn starts here.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

14 thoughts

  1. very exciting! My hubby and I are keen to do the Milford Sound trek. My only excuses are that I hate flying and that’s a necessity to get there. We are both fit, and would handle that part no problems. Out of curiosity, what did they say about toilets on the track? That is something that would concern me, too! I’m not much of a “roughing it” type chick! 😉

    1. Milford is next on my list…re the loos- at each lunch stop there are Dept Conservation shelter huts with loos- long drops…In the lodges though, they’re proper flushing ones.

  2. Oh, very exciting. Having something to train for will surely be motivating. I love that you’ve booked it – AND that you’re getting through stuff on your bucket list!

  3. Yes Jo, go for it. Having this focus will really motivate you. I was looking at doing a south island trek in March before redundancy put a spanner in the works of my travel plans. Hopefully things will fall into place and I’ll still be able to do it. Remember the motto – train hard fight easy. Keep up the training and you’ll get there. Good Luck 🙂

  4. Ok 21 weeks, it will fly by, I envy you the adventure and I will be along with you in cyberspace. Take lots of photos to show us every step of the way.

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