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April 2022 Issue
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Walking on the road to recovery

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing was one of Kaelyn Kingi’s 100 tracks

One hundred tracks, more than 210 hours and almost 660km – Kaelyn Kingi did a lot of walking in 2021.

The 26-year-old was looking for a way to heal from a tough year that had taken its toll on her mental health.

She thought about what made her happy when she was a child: helping her dad in the garden and going for walks with her mum in Rotorua’s Redwoods.

They were outdoor activities, so she decided that as an adult, tramping might be just the ticket.

She set out on her first hike in January 2021, determined not to let fear or solitude curtail her from walking 50 tracks in a year.

Three months and 30 tracks later, Kingi upped the ante, setting her mind to walking 100 tracks by January 2022.

“I think the intention of the goal was to try,” she said. “Eventually, the challenge became less about the number of tracks and more about the experience.”

Kingi was a newcomer to tramping and said the first few walks were “miserable” but that she “found myself in a better place quite quickly”.

The Hamilton-based communications adviser began with tracks that were within an hour’s drive of the city but was soon travelling further afield.

Kingi said she felt a strong connection with Mt Pirongia because it was her first “proper” hike. She also enjoyed Taupo’s Mt Tauhara, and Mt Urchin in Kaimanawa Forest Park.

Since reaching the 100-tracks milestone, Kingi has gone on another 25 walks.

“This year I’m making a point of going to different places and researching their history,” she said.