A Queenstowner who doesn’t like walking has just started walking the South Island after limping the length of the North Island – all for a good cause.
AJ Hackett Bungy bus driver Karlyn Connolly quit his job last November to undertake his 3000-kilometre ‘Walk 4 Life’ to raise awareness of depression.
The burly 47-year-old had done little walking and never hiked before but looked on his mission as one big adventure.
In an email to Mountain Scene early last week, he says he covered the 1868km length of the North Island, from Cape Reinga, in 2,709,129 steps, mostly on the Te Araroa Trail.
However he’s walking fairly slowly after tearing a muscle under the arch of his left foot at the start of his journey – “I expect it won’t begin to heal until after I finish”.
He also kayaked for the first time ever, covering 177km along the Whanganui River in memory of his Queenstown friend, Keith ‘Chief’ Haare, who died a year ago and whose name he inscribed on his kayak.
“I navigated over 200 rapids and capsized 12 times, plus I accidentally set my kayak on fire in the river once.”
Connolly says he loved the North Island, “even though the Tararua Ranges tried to kill me – twice”.
After passing through Havelock, at the top of the South Island, he planned heading down the middle of the Mainland via the Richmond Ranges and Arthur’s Pass.
He expects to hit Bluff, at the bottom of the South Island, in early June.
“If possible I’ll do a lap of Stewart Island before I burn my shoes and never walk anywhere else again.”
Connolly stresses, however, that this challenge isn’t about him.
“It is to encourage people to talk to each other about mental health and depression.
“It is to let people know that if you are not okay it is okay to talk about it.”
He is posting information and photos on customvision.co.nz.
“I hope by showing people just some of what I am doing that someone is inspired to do even more.
“I’m just a pebble in a very big pond.”