Interview with a Thru-Hiker: Bobby Hedderman
Last year Bobby Hedderman and his daughter Margaret thru-hiked Te Araroa, a 3,000 km long distance trail in New Zealand. The relatively new long distance trail presented many unexpected obstacles - such as landslides and mischievous birds - which you can read about at NewZealandOnFoot.com.
Bobby, who turned 67 years old on the trail, used foot wool during his trek to help prevent blisters. Check out this brief interview with a thru-hiker...
Jill: What did you like best about New Zealand?
Bobby: The one thing that stands all the way out in my memory is the kindness and generosity of the the Kiwis. The people we met along the way always went above and beyond the call to help us or make our journey more enjoyable. I'd never before experienced such warmth from complete strangers.
Bobby hiking up Waiau Pass on the South Island of New Zealand
Jill: How was tramping in New Zealand different than the hiking you’d done in America?
Bobby: I hadn't done any real backpacking or serious hiking before tackling the Te Araroa Trail so I really had nothing to compare it to. But I can say the experience exceeded my wildest expectations.
Jill: How many miles did you typically hike per day?
Bobby: There really wasn't a typical day. Because of the amazing variety of the terrain, our daily mileage varied between 9 and 30 kilometers.
Jill: Why did you use foot wool during your trek?
Bobby: I didn't need the foot wool at the beginning of the hike. But once my boots started breaking down, I began to get hot spots on my toes.
Jill: How did it help prevent blisters on your feet?
Bobby: When I noticed a hot spot forming, I'd stop and apply the foot wool to the area between the skin and sock. The wool seemed to grow into the sock material and remained in place. By the end of the trip I was wrapping my toes in a cocoon of wool at the beginning of each day. As a result of using the foot wool, I didn't experience even one blister bubbling up and ruining my day.
Bobby and Margaret completed Te Araroa in March of 2015 after 5 months on the trail.