One of the best years I’ve had hiking and cycling, with three multi-day hikes, two multi-day cycles, and many day trips. Spending three weeks walking around Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, in November was an excellent motivator for doing as many training walks as possible.
Hump Ridge Track, January
Over New Year I walked this excellent three day hike along the south coast of the South Island. It was the second time I’d walked it, and the first since it had become a Great Walk. Other than being busier nothing appeared to have changed, the scenery was still spectacular, the days still long, and the sandflies still ferocious!
Ben Lomond Track, January
A solid day walk up nearly 1,500m from the shore of Lake Wakatipu to the summit of Ben Lomond behind Queenstown, and back down again!
Thousand Acre Plateau Track, January
A wonderful three day hike in one of the more unusual and scenic parts of the New Zealand back country. It was super hot, ideal for camping, less ideal for long stretches with no shade crossing the plateau. There was an interesting older couple on the track who had take a mini retirement break to spend months walking all the remaining hikes they wanted to do in New Zealand. Being a full time hiker sounded quite appealing…
Skyline Walk, April
A short but memorable walk from the Sky Waka on the side of Mount Ruapehu, not long before the ski field went bankrupt. The drive and gondola did most of the hard work to gain altitude for stunning views over Tongariro National Park.
Timber Trail, April
An exceptional multi-day cycle through some of the most atmospheric native bush in New Zealand, staying at the famous Timber Trail Lodge half way through.
Water Ride, Napier, April
A great day ride seeing much more of the city than I ever had before.
I did three varied full day walks – Wheddon Cross to Dunkery Beacon loop walk in Exmoor, Porlock Weir to Lynmouth on the South West Coast Path in northern Devon, and Sevenoaks Weald to Chartwell on the Greensands Way in Kent, plus lots of local walks in Surrey. All very pleasant and quite different to New Zealand tramps.
A wonderful place for epic day walks, with trains and cable cars taking most of the altitude strain, making it easy to get high and enjoy the views. It was super hot and exposed though, plus busier than I’m comfortable with, but the views on the Schynige Platte to First via Faulhorn, Oeschinensee loop, and Brienzer Rothorn ridge trail were pretty phenomenal.
City to Sea Walkway & Southern Walkway, August
A big training walk, 26km from Wellington CBD to the south coast along the City to Sea Walkway, and back to the CBD on the Southern Walkway.
Marchant Ridge Tararuas, September
Another decent, if quite different training walk, through the Tararua bush up to the Marchant Ridge for big views, and strong, cold winds!
Remutakas, August to October
Despite living in Wellington for three years, this year was the first time I’d ventured out to the Remutakas. They’re amazing! Super closed, varied, and quite stunning in many places. I made up for lost time by walking the Mount McKerrow Loop, Butcher, Cattle Ridge and Orongorongo Track Loop, and Whakanui Track Loop.
Tip Track and Red Rocks, Te Kopahou Reserve, August
An old favourite, though I found a little used connector track down to the south coast which made for a satisfying loop.
Main Ridge Track, East Harbour Regional Park, September
First time here as well, training was a good motivator for exploring new places, and Wellington is full of fantastic walks. This had limited views, but plenty of tree roots and undulation.
Johnson’s Hill, Wellington
My local, somewhere I venture up multiple times each week, but the views never get old.
Kanchenjunga Circuit, November
The big one, a long Himalayan hike, spending 11 days above 3,000m, and walking 5-8 hours a day. Conditions varied from tropical heat at the start and end, to -10C overnight in my tent at the highest camp. It’s hard to digest such a long and varied hike, but the blog posts on it coming next year should help me frame the memories.
Banks Peninsula Track and Central Otago Rail Trail, December
A pair of multi-days adventures for the end of the year, though both will be more upmarket than most of the trips this year as the main bag will be carried between accommodation so I can walk / cycle with a light day pack. It’ll be my first trip to the South Island in nearly a year.