Five month trek for Linda to fulfil a life's ambition

By Mike Barrington

The boots that Linda Donaldson wore during a trek from Cape Reinga to Bluff are destined to become treasured pot plant containers at her Ngunguru home.

She covered 3054km during her five-month hike and her trusty boots gave her only one blister.

Linda's husband Jim also deserves credit for the comfort of the long-lasting footwear. He followed his wife in their campervan and when she emerged from bush sections of the Te Araroa Trail he would give the boots any repairs needed so Linda could keep wearing them. When she reached Bluff the pair celebrated with oysters and champagne, which Linda thoroughly enjoyed after bush meals of cold muesli and noodles. She ate well on the trail, but still lost 5kg.

"I'm looking forward to a hot shower, flush loos and electricity," she said.

Linda, 51, and Jim moved to the Tutukaka coast in October 2011 from Auckland, where Linda had spent 10 years working for St John communications. The couple had previously spent holidays in the North, where Jim, who is retired, has three adult children and Linda is an enthusiastic nana to his grandchildren.

Since arriving at Ngunguru Linda has spent eight months working on contract for the disability service NorthAble, saving her earnings so she could walk the Te Araroa Trail, an ambition she had since childhood. During the walk, Linda also raised more than $6000 via FundraiseOnLine for an automated external defibrillator (AED), a piece of lifesaving equipment which is used by St John to help save people's lives.

St John's South Island customer services manager Christine Prince said the organisation was incredibly thankful to Linda for her hard work. "St John promotes health and wellbeing, and Linda's efforts are a great example of this."


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