We made it 685 kilometers and we just had to pull the pin.

My second youngest brother, Rex has a syndrome. Because of this, everything is much harder for him – balancing, physical strength, being adaptable, and dealing with stress. We did a lot to help him out – he had a very light pack, we set up and packed up for him, he had someone helping him along nearly all the time, and the only thing he really had to do was walk, but after all that he was still struggling.

When he struggles he has volcanic meltdowns, which we struggled with a lot.

We decided we had to stop because the situation wasn’t improving and we’d run out of things to try. After all, it was meant to be a fun adventure, not torture by struggling brother. Plus, if we had to keep putting up with him I’m not sure who would have killed him first, me or dad.

We were all devastated.

Dad was spewing because he didn’t get to see the bull at kilometer 710 (I believe I’ve mentioned how obsessed he is with bovines!). He also just asked me to make it clear that HE didn’t quit and that he was quite happy to send Rex to an orphanage but he just couldn’t find one in time (and mum wouldn’t let him)!

I was really looking forward to canoeing the Whanganui River, seeing Mount Taranaki, getting to Wellington, Hiking the mountains of the South Island and of course, making it all the way to Bluff.

And all of our trail friends! We meet some great people there.

Thomas, a french thru-hiker, was showing us a riddle, throwing ball up in the air “This is good, this is not good.” None of us could work it out so he told us to think about it while we walked. He didn’t arrive at camp until late that night when we were all in bed and we left before he got up. And that day we stopped so we’ll never know what the answer was (if you or Clemont are reading this, please, please tell us the answer in the comments!).

so we decided to catch a bus back to Auckland so we could think about it. We spent three days in Auckland. It wasn’t very fun. We all felt very down and spent ages trying to work out a solution. We couldn’t come up with one so decided to go back to Australia.

We were on the twelfth floor and it was a long way down when you looked down. There was also a heated pool in the basement that we went swimming in.

We had dad’s birthday there. It wasn’t a very good birthday as you could imagine. We were still meant to be on the trail and we had a flight to catch at 10 pm.

But we ate well I made him a fruit cake with whipped cream and wraps with homemade flatbreads for lunch.

Asha and I picking the sultanas and dates out of our trail mix to make a fruit cake.

It’s hard to have to stop, especially as everyone seemed to know us. Word spreads on the trail and everyone knew about ‘the ‘big family hiking’. It feels like we had a reputation to uphold.

Even though we are back in Australia I refuse to give up. I’m almost 16 which means only two years until I am an adult and can return on my own. Although I doubt I will be on my own. My youngest brother, Forrest has invited himself along, despite the fact that he’ll only be 13. Holli and Asha have also decided to come. They don’t want to do a trail by themselves because then they’d get lost and wouldn’t have anyone telling them what to do. I’m not sure if I want to take them all but we’ll see.

Dad and I also made a deal and shook on it, we’ll do a long-distance trail together sometime in the future. Maybe in Europe or America.

Hear that, trail? We might have had to stop but you haven’t beaten me, I’ll be back.