Embarking on South Island walk solo
While many people will be hitting the beach on Boxing Day, Debra Ballard will start walking the length of the South Island solo.
The Hillsborough resident will fly to Invercargill and start walking the gruelling 1300 kilometres from Bluff to Ship Cove in Nelson.
Ballard will be trekking along the Te Araroa Trail to raise funds and awareness for Mobility Dogs New Zealand, a charity training assistance dogs for people with long term disabilities.
It costs about $55,000 to raise a mobility dog and the charity receives no Government funding, relying solely on public support.
Ballard, a Girl Guides leader, hopes to raise $5000 for the charity and has started a Givealittle page.
‘‘We had a boy with muscular dystrophy come in to Girl Guides with his mobility dog and seeing the bond between him and the dog was amazing,’’ she said.
Ballard’s journey is expected to take up to two and a half months and she aims to walk 20 to 30km a day.
She has been in the gym most days doing a combination of circuit and strength training and has spent the weekends tramping in the Waitakere Ranges and Rangitoto.
But it’s not environmental worried about.
‘‘Being alone is potentially going to be more of a challenge than the walking. It’s more the psychological challenge,’’ she said. the walk engineer the is
Ballard will only take the bare minimum of supplies with her to keep her pack light.
She has three pairs of trail shoes that she will rotate, one t shirt, one pair of shorts and waterproof gear.
Along the way she planned to stay in huts where possible, and with eating food you don’t normally with walking so long.’’
Despite walking the 1300km alone she was not concerned of getting lonely or bored.
‘‘Everyone I’ve met so far who’ve done long distance walking says all they do is sleep and eat.’’
Debra Ballard is ready to embark on a 1300km walk from Bluff to Ship Cove.