The straight line distance from Cape Reinga to Bluff is 1475 km, however the Te Araroa Trail will cover a longer distance of 3030 km (1882.8 miles). It is estimated that a tramp along the full length of the trail will take approximately 4 months. Brad had allowed five months, and that's what it will take. Throw in injury recovery time; side trips to special places; and towns that can snag you for rest, gear replacement, visits with friends, or "real food"; and the tramp time, and miles, increases. But, nevertheless, no matter the time needed to complete the trail, it turns the tramper ( hiker, trekker, walker or rambler) into a thru-hiker, end-to-end hiker, or end-to-ending hiker.
I love this picture of Brad because, in my mind, he looks exactly like I'd expect a thru-hiker to look. It captures the essence of a person who had taken too many steps to count, looks a little rag tag from taking all those steps, but has a huge grin to show how exciting it has been to take all those steps.
Brad, now the consummate freestyle thru-hiker, on the Routeburn Track, Te Araroa Trail detour
The words of a thru-hiker, on another trail, but a thought I've wondered about as Brad has tramped from Cape Reinga to Bluff on the Te Araroa Trail:
At some moment during the trek, I wondered if I would be happy the day I reached the Canadian line, or if I'd feel dull and letdown because there was no trail left to do. Sure enough, my last hiking day was not my best. I found myself wanting the trail to continue... It's an old truism, I guess: the enjoyment is in the going more than in the goal...
Anonymous End-to-End Hiker
To finish the moment, to find the journey's end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.
Ralph Waldo Emerson