Boy on track to conquer great walks
Liam Marshall will have traversed 552 kilometres and conquered all of the country's greatest walks before his 13th birthday.
The Napier boy has been following his father Glenn's footsteps in completing eight of the Department of Conservation's nine great walks over the past four years.
The pair recently tramped the Abel Tasman Coast Track, the Heaphy, Routeburn and Milford Tracks in just three weeks.
Next weekend they will strap on their packs once more to tick off the one remaining track - the Tongariro Northern Circuit.
Marshall said Liam took to tramping during his first expedition into the bush.
Marshall carried his then three-year-old son on his shoulders but Liam kept wanting to get down so he could walk as well.
While Marshall had introduced him to tramping, it was Liam's choice to accompany his dad on the walks. Liam said he just loved "getting out" and enjoying the scenery and chatting about "whatever was in head".
It wasn't always easy though, Liam admitted. He once walked 32km in a day, climbed steep terrain, walked through torrential rain and even snow.
When the snow was falling on the Kepler Track Liam used one of his favourite TV characters - Homer Simpson - for inspiration, from an episode where Homer kept chanting "must keep going".
Liam said the walking also helped him keep fit for football.
He hopes one day to be a professional footballer like his idol Lionel Messi.
THE BIG NINE
Lake Waikaremoana, Tongariro Northern Circuit, Whanganui Journey, Abel Tasman Coast Track, Heaphy Track, Kepler Track, Milford Track, Routeburn Track, and Rakiura Track.
The Dominion Post