What are you doing ??
Starting October 2019, we are hiking the Te Araroa Trail, which runs the length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga to Bluff. The trail is about 3,000 kilometers or 1,850 miles and will take us 4-5 months to complete. Follow along with us as we share our trail experiences on this awesome adventure!
who are you and why are you doing this??
In the summer of 2016, I hiked the John Muir Trail in California’s Sierra Nevada’s with three of my best friends, including Ethan. It was about 260 miles and took us 24 days. That month was an awesome experience. Ever since we finished the JMT I have been looking for an even bigger adventure to attempt.
The TA will be a completely different monster than the JMT. Its over seven times the distance and will take five to six times as many days to complete. I’m hiking the TA because I want adventure, I want something new everyday, and I want to have a goal that will be super difficult to achieve but equally as rewarding.
So, I decided to quit my job, buy a one way ticket to New Zealand, convinced Ethan to join me, and thru hike the trail I have been waiting a few years to hike.
I’m pretty excited to get this thing started.
Part of the reason for hiking the TA is that I want to see the world. My dad has been a world traveler since long before I was born. For his work, he traveled all around the world for weeks at a time, multiple times a year, for most of my childhood. He would always come back with amazing stories of far away places. It was always so fascinating to me.
I am now 24 years old and have only left the country twice. I spent a week in each Canada and Mexico. Both trips were great but I never felt that I was really experiencing anything much different from what I was accustomed to in the US. Here I stand with the opportunity of a lifetime to go and explore another country and call it home for a few months. There is no better time than now to go and see other parts of the world.
Alex and I hiked the John Muir Trail in the summer of 2016. For me, the JMT was my first real exposure to backpacking. A lot of people doubted my abilities to complete the trip. Following a 5 day practice run in Tennessee to prep for our trip, I even began to doubt myself. I had been at the back of the group the entire time and my body took weeks to feel normal again. The JMT was a totally different experience. I felt great throughout the trip and felt so accomplished when I had completed it.
To this day, the month I spent out on the trail was the best month of my life. Being out in the wilderness, relying on only yourself, the people you are with, and whatever you can carry on your back to survive lets you really get in touch with yourself and who you are. When I go out on the TA, I hope to once again find myself. John Muir puts it best by saying “And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”
Follow us on Instagram @alexmcmillen_ and @ethananderson4 for other trail updates!