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The Yurrebilla Track: This weekend…tune in

September 24, 2010

This weekend marks some of the last training I will do in my preparation for the Te Araroa Track. Over the next few weeks I will try to knock out a few more k’s on the bike, but this will probably be my last hike before I leave.

I’m doing the Yurrebilla Track in the Adelaide Hills. It starts at the Belair Conversation Park and ends in the Black Hill Conservation Park some 54km north through the Mount Lofty Ranges. This is a great opportunity for me to test out my gear and to gauge my fitness. It’ll also give me the opportunity to enjoy some much needed solitude, ahead of god-knows-how-many months on the road. I’m sure in NZ I will experience plenty of alone time, but if past trips are anything to go by, hostel living isn’t exactly personal.

To follow my progress on the Yurrebilla follow my Twitter (@teararoaonveg). I’m sure I’ll get to update it from time to time – there is usually mobile phone access along the high points of the Ranges.

Wish me luck.

More piece of the Te Araroa puzzle

September 24, 2010

The 3000km Te Araroa Track is essentially a series of shorter, existing tracks connected to produce a cross-country pathway. Increasingly the gaps between these shorter sections are being filled and the whole track is nearing completion. According to many sources, the track is due for completion in early 2011.

Lake Wanaka

Around Wanaka, on New Zealand’s South Island, a number of new sections have been opened. Paul Hellebrekers from the Department of Conservation (DoC) says 45km of new track have been constructed which makes up a section of the Te Araroa Track.

In addition to the new sections of track around Wanaka, a new hut is to be built on the track near Lake Hawea with another having its status upgraded. According to the Otago Daily Times “the new eight-bunk Pakitaki Hut will be built this summer, while Stody’s Hut, an old musterer’s hut, will be upgraded to “basic” standard.

It’s great to see the track is coming along quite nicely and the completion is nigh.

Photo of the day – 30 days

September 23, 2010

Camping next to McKellar Hut on the Greenstone Track, NZ

Two quick, easy vegan recipes to cook on your Trangia

September 22, 2010

Some of you may remember an article about me, “New Zealand’s longest trail – on veggie power” on Adventure Travel Online a few weeks ago. (A big hello to all my followers that discovered my trip through this article.) Well Rosie from AT, who wrote the article, asked me to contribute something to a thread on the forum.

Nature Travels, a UK based adventure company that specialises in “outdoor experiences” in Sweden, is writing an e-book of Trangia recipes. Rosie thought it would be a good idea for my to contribute some of my outdoor culinary flair (pity I’m yet to discover it) by way of some vegan recipes for the book. Here are two of my favourite recipes to cook on the Trangia when I am tramping:

Lentil bolognese

– Dried lentils soaked to shorten cooking time (I soak them in a wide-mouth nalgene bottle during the day as I tramp)
– Tomato pasta and mixed herbs
– Olive oil
– Pasta of choice (usually angel hair as it cooks in a nanosecond or macaroni for durability in the backpack)
– (Optional: dehydrated veggies)

Spicy dal and rice

– Dried lentils as above
– Fresh ginger and garlic (you could use dried stuff, I suppose… but the fresh stuff is light and packs well)
– Garem masala, chili powder and turmeric
– Olive oil
– Tomato paste
– Rice (the instant stuff makes it easier and doesn’t require cooking, just heating; though I carry raw)

These dishes are relatively quick and easy to cook, don’t use much fuel and give your body plenty of fuel and protein. Oh, and most importantly, they are delicious. So delicious in fact that I regularly cook them at home.

Photo of the day – 31 days

September 22, 2010

Looking down over Adelaide from Morialta, SA

My generous sponsors & supporters

September 22, 2010

I am doing Te Araroa – On Veg out of my own pocket primarily. However, a few sweet companies have come onboard and sponsored me with a few pieces of gear I needed – even some food and accommodation. Also I’d like to thank my supporters who have provided things like publicity and their best wishes.

Sponsors

Fozzils

Lightweight tableware (I think “groundware” is a more appropriate term when it comes to camping) is a trivial matter. The range of options is vast and the weight difference negligible. But it seems lightweight and ultra-lightweight trampers are always on the lookout for something that sheds a few extra grams from their pack weight.

Folding plates, bowls and cups came on the market to eliminate pack weight and space. And as something fun to do before dinner in clipping them together, I think. But how do they work, and how good are they?

Fozzils sent me a Solo Pack for my Te Araroa trip and I must say at first glance, they were easy and pretty damn nifty. Everything snapped together in a logical and speedy fashion. There are instructions but you’d be pretty daft to have to use them.

In the Solo Pack there is a bowl, plate, cup and spoon. I don’t know how useful the spoon will be, but the rest are durable and will be sure to get a work out.

So far after a couple of tests, so good. Thanks Fozzils.

Ponsonby Backpackers

When I arrive in NZ I will be spending a week in Auckland to organise food drops, buy last minute gear, and for a spot of sight-seeing – I’ve never been to Auckland before. Ponsonby Backpackers has been kind enough to provide lodging for me for a week, and act as my “home base”. I hear they have WiFi so during my week in Auckland you’re bound to read a lot of posts from me written at my home base.

Thanks Ponsonby Backpackers, in particular Chris.

Trangia

When I was coming back from Christchurch last year I had the fuel burner for my Trangia Mini confiscated by customs. I merely shook the excess fuel out of the burner rather than burning it off. As such there was still traces of fuel residue. A big no-no according to customs.

Tip: When travelling with an alcohol stove make sure you burn off any fuel prior to flying.

Rucsac Supplies, the Australian distributer for Trangia, have been kind enough to supply me with a replacement burner and fuel bottle for me trip. Many thanks to Mitchell and Rucsac Supplies.

Little Bird Organics

Little Bird Organics has a rather succinct philosophy: raw, organic, goodness. That’s what their products are. And these are things I like the sounds of. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a raw vegan. I like things cooked. But, when I think about it, a decent portion of my diet is indeed raw food.

When snacking I tend to resort to dried or fresh fruit and nuts. I enjoy muesli and oats. I love hommus and my mean white bean dip. I do occasionally resort to a big salad (Seinfeld reference – best show ever!) for dinner. Oh, and Raw Life! chocolate (a great South Australian brand) is to die for.

Little Bird Organics have offered me some of their grawnola (no, that’s how they spell it… cute) and macaroons to try out on my trip. Vegan fuel they call it. And I need all the fuel I can get.

Thanks Little Bird. Tweet tweet.

Sherpa

Thermal underwear are the most versatile piece of clothing I own. Because I am a bit of a dork, I wear the shorts / long-johns combination when tramping, sometimes with a long-sleeve thermal top for its wicking qualities; and I wear a long-john / long-sleeve top combo as my pyjamas. True 24 hour clothing, unless it’s too hot.

Sherpa, an Australian outdoor clothing company, who I have been loyal to for all my thermal needs for years, have kicked in a couple of pairs of their Ant Print stock for my Te Araroa trip. As well as a cap and beanie. I’m sure I will be the laughing stock of the tracks and huts of NZ, but very warm and comfortable laughing stock.

Thanks to the guys and girls at Sherpa.

Whittaker’s

Everybody loves chocolate. And it’s a fear many people have, that by going vegan they have to give up their favourite snack. This isn’t true.

Many of the dark chocolate options on the market are in fact dairy-free and vegan-friendly. Problem is, many of them taste crap and have a poor range of flavours.

I do like plain dark chocolate but I also like the fruit and nut varieties and Whittaker’s have thought outside the chocolate square (HA) and offer a range of dark chocolates similar to their dairy offerings.

Whittaker’s are my newest sponsor and I thank them for providing me with more vegan fuel to make the tramp possible. A few squares of chocolate at the end of the day, or melted into my porridge for breakfast makes me one happy tramper! Thanks Whittaker’s.

Scouts Outdoor Centre

Another company I have been quite loyal to over the years is the Scouts Outdoor Centre (SOC). Owned by Scouts SA, this store has one of the most comprehensive ranges of outdoor gear in South Australia. They even sell kayaks.

Jamie, their Commercial Manager, was very generous in giving me a helpful discount on a new sleeping bag (the One Planet Sac 3) and a few clothing items. Thanks Jamie.

Supporters

Adventure Travel Magazine
Vegetarian Life
VegNews
Vegan Backpacker
Good Magazine
Lisa Dempster
Vegaroo
Tasty Trek – Landey, Anders and DM are doing the Te Araroa in 2010
Steve Walk NZ – Steve is attempting a world record on the Te Araroa in 2010
ONE.LIFE – Shalane and Alex are doing the Te Araroa in 2010

Remember, if you’d like to help out in some way, or even just to say hi, email me at taonveg@gmail.com

Photo of the day – 32 days

September 21, 2010

I’m restarting my countdown. Instead of the 1st of November, World Vegan Day, I will be starting the Te Araroa on roughly the 23rd of October. That’s 32 days away.

My choice for a change of date: I want to get stuck in as soon as possible, and the 23rd is a good date. I’ll be landing in Auckland on the 15th of October and departing for Paihia on the 21st. That gives me 6 days to organise thing in Auckland, to take in a few of the sites and catch up with a few new friends.

Without further ado, the photo of the day.

A nice Saturday ride