Geoff Chapple, the man behind the creation of the Te Araroa Trail, doesn’t consider himself much of a singer.
But that hasn’t stopped him from recording his song about Te Araroa Trail, the continuous 3000 km network of walking tracks that covers the length of New Zealand from tip of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island.
The song starts with four lines from Rex Fairburn‘s poem ‘To A Friend in the Wilderness”.
I could be happy
In blue and fortunate weather
Roaming the country
That lies between you and the sun.
These are the same words that had been cast onto a bronze plaque at the beginning of the very first Te Araroa linking track from Kerikeri to Waitangi.
Blue Trail – Te Araroa is a slow rambling song that is a reflection of Chapple’s long walk from Cape North to Bluff while he was charting and mapping the Te Aroroa trail.
Accompanied by an acoustic guitar, a shuffling snare drum, and a chorus of well known New Zealand singers chanting the names of stopovers along the trail, Chapple’s reedy voice draws you into an almost trance like state of contentment.
It reminds us that when it comes to exploring the wilderness it is the journey that is the destination.
And what a journey it would be to walk the whole of the Te Araroa trail. Passing through pristine wilderness, historical and spiritual locations, through small towns and big cities, over mountaintops and along empty beaches, it requires huge commitment and stamina.
Intrepid hikers have calculated that it would take up to three months to complete the journey from top to bottom.
But not everyone has the time or the energy to walk the entire trail. Thankfully, the trail is formed from a patchwork of regional pathways that allow shorter treks that will please both leisure and serious walkers.
If so, check out these resources to get you started.
Read it: Te Araroa The New Zealand Trail by Geoff Chapple. A fascinating read about one man’s dream and the steps he took to make the dream a reality.
Watch it: If you want to get an idea of what’s involved check out one of the many highlights of the trail videos, such as this one by Nicky & Cookie, that can be found online.
Map it: The official Te Araroa Trail website offers detailed information and maps
Sing it: Download Geoff Chapple’s Blue Trail song at amplifier.co.nz.