Thru-hiking filmmaker Elina Osborne has set off on Te Araroa.
The west-Aucklander, who became popular on YouTube for her videos of the Pacific Crest Trail, started from Cape Reinga in late November and is loving the experience so far.
“I feel like I am gaining so much more of an appreciation and awareness of Aotearoa, and feeling more connected to it,” she said.
Osborne was initially hesitant to walk Te Araroa because of its reputation for road walking.
“It’s a poor excuse but it was a roadblock for me, as well as knowing it was in my home country, it meant it was on the priority list, but lower down,” she said.
Osborne hasn’t taken for granted the fact she’s doing a thru-hike during a pandemic.
“Since Covid, and not being able to go anywhere, now is the best time to do it. I almost feel like I am hiking it for all the thru-hikers whose hikes were cancelled this year,” she said.
“Sometimes you have moments where you realise people can’t even walk up to a stranger where they are right now, but we are meeting trail angels and talking to strangers on the street without masks.”
Osborne is trialling an unreleased lightweight pack from Macpac, designed specifically for the Te Araroa. “They wanted me to give them feedback on this awesome product they’re releasing next season – I was stoked,” she said.