Te Whiti Riser

Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.

The best way I can describe the most incredible group of girls I've met in New Zealand. The gals of Body Love NZ. It was a happy coincidence that the founders Abbey & Courtney ran an Amazing Race around Wellington to help raise money for a friend of theirs doing amazing work with victims of human trafficking in South East Asia. I have always wanted to join (the actual) Amazing Race so I knew it was something I would enjoy. I roped James along, and we were away!

Fast forward to this year; I decided to go on their Spring Retreat. Best.Decision.Ever. Abbey & Courtney have an incredible knack for making people feel accepted and fostering a community of pure love and happiness. I am so grateful for the experience, because I have made friends for life. There is nothing like being surrounded by such uplifting, powerful, beautiful souls. 

Anywaaaaay, Krysta (one of the Body Love Girls) kindly organised a sunrise walk for us. (Thank you Krysta!!) It was a great opportunity to meet everyone else.

We all met at Te Whiti Park - 172 White Lines E, Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt 5010 (If you need to plot it into your GPS). 

Access Info: The bottom of the track starts at Te Whiti Park behind the gymnasium. The top of the track ends on the ECNZ firebreak, just north of the steep climb bypass to the Towai Peakwalking. 

The Ascent: We started walking up at approximately quarter past 6 to make it up for the sunrise. Best to take a head torch with you. Sturdy footwear is critical. There are lots of tricky gravel bits. The clay under the gravel does hold water, so it can be quite muddy if it has just rained. The walk is approximately 40 minutes long. It depends on how quickly or leisurely you charge up there. I had Whisky with me, and he was never going to stay at the back of the pack. We powered up the path with conviction. I'm pretty sure he was hauling my butt up there for some of it. It is a steady steep incline all the way up the track. Warning: there are some gnarly blind corners. Not as much of an issue that early in the morning. Since it is a mountain biking path, take extra care as there may be bikers coming down. The entire climb is 240m vertical. You will feel the incline on your legs, calves especially. Whisky was incredible as per usual, he knew when I really needed to stop, but also when I was just lazy. 

At the top: To be honest we weren't sure where the "top" was. We got to the "top" where the signal tower was (Not 100% what it was, just wild guessing) and we couldn't see the sunrise properly. So we ran back down the track to a clearing where we caught a better glimpse of it. The sky erupted into a blazing red-orange hue, which then faded into shades of purple/pink and white through the clouds. It was beautiful. A moment I was so happy to be able to share with the ladies. 

Emma, Whisky and I

The Descent: I've got bad everything, knees, elbows, ankles, you name it, therefore coming down this ridiculously steep bike trail probably wasn't the most clever idea. Emma and I hung back with Whisky. Whisky was pretty good about hanging back generally, but I knew I was going at a slower pace than he would like me to. Emma and I took it as an opportunity to chat but also have copious little slips to laugh about. We spent the entire way down laughing and walking quite carefully. You could probably boost down much quicker than we did. 

Duration: Ascent - about 40 minutes (with all the stops) - Descent about 55 minutes.
Difficulty: 3.5/5
Distance: Approximately 9 km for the entire track (We only did the Riser to the summit)
Fitness Level: Moderate (if you have joint issues the steepness will not be enjoyable, especially coming back down) There is a 4km trail run that is a bit flatter if you take the loop track down as opposed to just walking back down the bike path you come up.

Great company, puppies, food and incredible surroundings! Can't beat a breathtaking morning like this one.