Food was the biggest task to get done. I have repackaged nearly everything into Zip Lock Plastic Bags to sort into complete meals and reduce weight. For example Dehydrated meals packaging was 12 g difference between the maufacturer packaging and plastic bag. However I have kept one package to use to heat the food up and I will just reuse this.
I have taken menu ideas from other peoples blogs and personal experience. For dinners I have settled on 3 meal types + Backcountry Cuisine Dehydrated Meals. The base meals are; Pasta, Couscous and Potatoe flakes. To these I have added flavouring like onion flakes, garlic powder, surprise peas, bacon bits, curry paste. For the dehydrated meals I am starting with single serve meals for the first 2 weeks, then 1 1/2 meals and then 2 person meals. For breakfast I don't like solid meals so I will be having Complan and MilkPowder with hot water. I have used this for most of my tramping and know this will give me enough energy until lunch. Lunch will be tortilla with either peanut butter or cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and Salami. Closer to towns I will add hummus to this. For snacks I have OSM, Muslea Bars, Beef Jerkey and Scroggin of my own mix which includes; almonds, peanuts, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, dried cranberries, dried apricot (NZ type not turkish), dried apple and dried berry mix.
I have prepared enough breakfasts and dinners for the North Island. I have enough lunch and snacks for the first 8 days and then I will start buying as I go. These have been packaged up in bundles based on where I expect to mail resupply packages to myself. Also in these resupply packages are my maps.
I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable my pack was (ZPacks Arc Blast 60 l). The weight was sitting nicely on my hips and nothing on my shoulders. I experimented with my water bottles and have them sitting on my shoulder straps in a way that I can just lower my head to drink from them. They are Platypus Flexible Bottles so I just squeeze them to get water up to my mouth. My feet felt good in my new Innov8 Rocklite 295 shoes. Though I discovered there is a gap between the shoe and the shoe tongue which is letting in dirt so that will be sewed up.
I have been experimenting with a gas cylinder to try and figure out exactly how many meals I will get out of each one. Using My Titanium 900ml Pot, with 600ml water and no lid it is taking an average of 6.5g of gas and 3 min 28 seconds per boil. I managed to get 28 boils out of the cylinder so with 2 boils a day each cylinder will last me 14 days.
This morning I started my journey North. My first package was posted to Ahipara on the way to the airport. The flight from Dunedin to Auckland to Kaitaia went well.
In Kaitaia I asked someone about getting into town and was offered a ride. My good samaritan even let me drop of my kit at the motel before dropping me of at The Warehouse to buy a gas cylinder. (Trail Angel #1). Then it was a nutritious dinner of KFC before a final repacking of my pack. Tomorrow pickup is at 0900 by Sandrunner Tours who have given me a good discount for only going one way of the tour to Cape Reinga.
It will be good, and also scary, to drive up 90 mile beach in a couple of hours knowing that will take me 4 days to walk back down.
It still hasn't really sunk in that tomorrow I will finally be starting this journey which had been 11 months in the planning. I am nervous about how my body will hold up but looking forward to starting.