Barbora Padertova is on a mission.
She is walking the 1300km South Island leg of the Te Araroa trail, raising money for Heart Kids Canterbury and the Dirk family, of Methven, whose 13-year-old son, David is waiting for a heart transplant.
The walk is a personal challenge.
She started it alone over a month ago but has met many other walkers along the route.
“There are people doing the full trail but also those who just walk a certain section at a time. In the end you are almost never alone on the trail. So sometimes I walk alone, sometimes I have similar plans with other walkers and we walk together.”
Barbora, Bara to her friends, is from the Czech Republic and has been in New Zealand for three and a half years. She travels back and forth for the winter season and works on Mt Hutt Skifield.
Barbora and Becky Dirk, David’s mother, worked together at the skifield. Even though his heart is supported with a pacemaker, it is not strong enough to handle everyday situations, Barbora said.
She found out organ donation in New Zealand was not as easy as in other countries and she is keen for more people to talk about organ donations and raise awareness in general.
‘‘Imagine feeling so exhausted after spending 15 minutes shopping in a supermarket so you have to sleep for the rest of the day. Not fun, right.’’
She decided to set herself a challenge, to walk the South Island of New Zealand to raise money for Becky and her family and donate half to the Heart Kids Canterbury Charity.
‘‘This charity supports families in a similar situation like Becky’s and also helps them organise fast transport to Auckland in case of that desired phone call that there is a
suitable heart for their child.’’
She has so far raised more than $1800 on her Givealittle page.
‘‘When I came to New Zealand for the first time I learned about Te Araroa but I never had courage and time to do this trail.
‘‘This year I got both (at least to finish South Island). Also I wanted someone else can benefit from this.’’
Barbora started the trail at Ship Cove in Marlborough more than a month ago and will finish in Bluff.
Last week she was in the glorious back country of Mid Canterbury.
She has a trail app downloaded to her phone which gives information about what is ahead. She can also access the internet and is in contact with friends and family.
‘‘In the northern parts of South Island the sections are a bit longer and also physically very challenging.
‘‘The stretches are up to eight days (roughly 120-140 km) and almost every day you have to climb over some high mountains or go down deep valleys.
‘‘People usually think that going down is easier than going up, but believe me that your legs are going to be very sore and tired after descending 1500m down in elevation
in one day!’’
Planning each section involved taking account of the weather, Barbora said.
‘‘Sometimes you can get stuck in the mountains waiting out adverse weather to pass, so you can climb over a peak or you have to wait until the rivers are in normal flows again
so you don’t cross dangerous rivers,’’ she said.
The Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers are impassable and trail walkers have to organise transport around them.