For the first time since I arrived in New Zealand, we made substantial progress towards the TA: grocery shopping for our initial food supply.
The weather continues to be cool and windy out, which is very much leading me towards taking my puffy jacket with me at the start of the hike. Presumably, it will warm up (and get less windy) as Spring turns towards Summer, and I’ll be able to drop it off at the apartment when the TA brings us back through Auckland in several weeks. (Though, that means I’ll also have to sent it ahead to Wellington later, since I almost certainly will need it on the South Island.)
I already knew this would be the case from when I was here earlier this year, but, New Zealand has pretty much none of my standard hiking food. (Well, ok, I can get Snickers and Clif bars, but they’re expensive compared to the US versions, harder to find, and smaller as well.)
The other difficulty is that most food here is labeled in kJ, rather than kcal. (1 kcal = 4.184 kJ; 1000 kJ = 239 kcal). This makes it harder to determine just how much food I need, since it’s harder to compare the calorie counts I remember buying on previous trails, with what’s available here. I’ll probably have this figured out in a couple of weeks after I’ve gotten a few resupplies done, though.
Still, after a bit of wandering the aisles, I found food that should work, and I’ll just have to start branching out to different stuff as I become more familiar with what’s actually available in different food stores and smaller towns as I progress. The only intentional change I’m making to my food plan is I’m replacing tuna packets with nuts, to cut down on the extra trash the tuna packets generate. (In terms of actual food content, the tuna packets are quite wasteful compared to the rest of my food.)
The one thing that I can’t get here in New Zealand is Propel electrolyte mix. Of course, there are local brands, but the packages are comically large for their content, and basically unfeasible to carry in the quantity I want. I’m glad I knew this from my visit earlier in the year; I brought all the electrolyte and drink mix I’ll need for the entire trail with me from the US.
This first food supply has five days of food, which will get us from Cape Reinga, the northern terminus, to Kaitaia, about 115 km south on the trail. It wound up being a little cheaper than I expected.
We took a bus back to the apartment from the food store. While stopped at traffic lights between the stops for the food store and our apartment, several police cars, one unmarked police car, at least two ambulances, and a fire truck, came through the intersections with their lights on, heading in different directions. It didn’t seem like they were all going to the same incident, but really, who can tell?
Back at the apartment, I mostly relaxed, and started to get ready for departing; in less than a day and a half, we’ll be on a bus headed to the trail.