The smell of walking the Te Araroa trail still lingers on our clothes worn even after we have stopped walking a couple of days ago.  Even after they have been machine washed.  A couple of times.  Some would grimace.  We don’t.  We grin.  It keeps the memories alive.  The landscape.  The food.  The connections made.  The hitch hiking rides.  The animal life encountered.  The homestays.  The lost toe nails.  The times we didn’t enjoy the moment. The scabs from itchy bites.  The messages of support and well wishes.

They are all part and parcel of a journey of our North Island.  From end to end.  We’ve loved it.  How could we not?  We have said farewells to the Te Araroa family with sadness as others continue across the waters to the South Island.  But, we are excited about saying “Kia Ora” to our families and mates whom will be at the end of the gangway when we arrive back home into Christchurch.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed to our journey.  As we have mentioned before, it’s the people connected with in the flesh and the conversation had in the person that remain long after the boots come off.  Priceless experiences you can’t capture in a photo.

Since we departed for Canada, we have scripted over 295 daily blog posts.  It too has been a gratifying ritual that we hope you have enjoyed as much as we have in posting them.  This is the last one as we now transition back into suburbia habitat for a short breath of fresh air.

For a short while naturally.

It’s been a hoot.