Trek for Life Aotearoa/NZ Charitable Trust's 2020 excursion was in the very Far North, horses and riders ambling their way to Cape Reinga and back south again. By last Thursday they were at Herekino.
The annual adventure is billed as a wonderful way for those who love riding horses or mountain bikes, or walking/hiking, to see some spectacular parts of the country and to support a worthy cause, this year's recipient being first response and rescue services.
The trekkers follow a clearly marked route for six days, with a rest and relaxation day in the middle. Most days they travel between 25km and 35km, often through places that many travellers generally do not have access to.
"Despite its size, some areas of New Zealand can be very remote, and with our innate Kiwi sense of adventure the chances of finding yourself in the wilderness needing assistance is great," the trust website says.
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"So we thought what better way to give back to local communities than to support the first response and rescue services in the areas that we travel through by donating a portion of the proceeds?"
The trekkers travelled with a large support crew of volunteers in a variety of roles including medics, vets, farriers, quad bike support, lunch stop helpers, track marshalls and tail-end Charlies who made sure everyone was safe and healthy.
Trekkers chose their own pace, their way being clearly marked with ribbons, arrows and signs to the next camp. And while they were on the move, volunteers were busy dismantling, moving and setting up the next camp to await their arrival.
Each morning began at sunrise, with a buffet breakfast and a lunch bar where everyone packed their own lunch to enjoy along the trail or at our designated stop, where they found toilets and even a coffee cart. Medics, the farrier and vet were already there, to deal with any issues that might have arisen during the morning.
Walkers and bikers could catch a shuttle bus from the lunch stop on to the next camp if they wished to.
Most trekkers made it to the camp by around 4pm, giving them time to set up their tents, have a shower and relax, or even enjoy a massage.