Thunderstorms, freeze-dried food, and hiking 63 days with your mum
Flynn Grimstone prepares for high school by walking the South Island leg of Te Araroa (the Long Pathway)
Flynn, son of Focus Health Physio Mark Grimstone, comes from a outdoorsy family. His Dad is an avid cyclist and mum Steph, is a hiker. But not every 13 year-old would take on the South Island leg of Te Araroa (the Long Pathway) that stretches 3,000 km from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
What was the key motivating factor?
“It was my idea, at first we were only going to do a section of the North Island, but it morphed into what we did as we did more research” says Flynn, now aged 14. “My mum thought it would be a good challenge to do before I started high school, sort of a rite of passage I guess”
“I liked the idea of doing something a bit extreme.! But in the end, it was a fantastic experience - and I’m glad we did it together.”
Flynn and Steph walked the 1,400 km South Island leg in 2020. It took them 63 days. Some sections were tougher than others.
“Crossing the Takitimu ranges was a slog, the weather made it one of the hardest tracks” says Flynn. "In fact all of the Southland section was hard, only because of mud and rain"
It took 10 hours to get to Aparima Hut in the middle of a thunderstorm - lots of our stuff got soaked!”
“We walked through the Red Hills on the Richmond ranges to reach Hunters Hut. It’s a challenging hike along an exposed ridge and down to a river, only to go back up via a steep sided and difficult valley.
There were some everyday consolations. “We had food posted ahead, so we knew we were going to get a meal at least - even if was freeze-dried spag bol!”