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.