Distance travelled today: 28 km
Total TA distance covered: 477 km
Surprises all day and welcome to summer!
With 28km to cover today mostly on road and beach, I was expecting today to be another long day. Distance wise it was long but time wise, I surprised myself, and was in Pakiri my end point for the day at 3pm! Nice. And my feet and legs feel ok.
Also to my surprise I’m starting to become a morning person, unheard of at home where I relish any opportunity to sleep in. On the trail, typically I’m away by 7am. My theory being to get as many kilometres in during to cool mornings and avoid the baking afternoon sun if possible.
Today was no diffetent and I left the Coastal Cow just before 7am. To start the day I had a 5km road bash between Mangawhai Heads and Mangawhai on the busy main road as the locals headed to work, dropped kids off to school and travelled to do what ever else people do during the morning rush. I was at Mangawhai by 8 and made for a cafe to get my daily fix of natures good bean. The perfect kickstarter for the day. Another 7km road bash to the beach followed.
Arriving at the carpark just before 10am I met a french couple Owen and Selena who were getting ready to commence their walk for the day. They had the fortune last of meeting a couple of locals last night, finding a place to stay and getting a ride to the beach to avoid the road walk.
We had a quick chat about the tides today and the possibility of having to wait for the high tide to lower later in the day for a river crossing half way down the beach that is meant to be thigh deep on low tide. There were three river crossings to contend with today, the first only a 1km down the beach.
This first crossing was easily negotiated. The tide was still coming in and there were plenty of sandbars to get between the channels of water flowing out to sea.
By 10:30am I was at Te Arai Point, 3km down the beach, and much to my surprise had covered 16km and more than half todays distance already. Great. I knew that after climbing up and over Te Arai point there was a 12km beach section remaining for the day to Pakiri. This meant I had all day to meander and ramble along the beach in no particular hurry. Te Arai Point looks to be a popular surfing spot and I had a good 15 minute break here, refuelling and rehydrating as I watched the local surfers perform their magic in the rough surf.
On the other side of the point I continued on, taking frequent breaks to strech my legs and feet. Half way along I came upon the big river crossing for the day. It was around 12:45 and the tide was high but on approachng the mouth I found it to be no higher than shin deep and easily crossible. Maybe this is an indication of how dry this summer is expected to be. On the other side I headed for the dunes for lunch and a chance to dry my feet.
The rest of the day was a long, slow beach walk for 12km. My feet were holding out well but along the way I was thinking I really must purchase a tennis ball in my next resupply to roll under my feet at the end of the day. Seriously about 50 steps on, the universe provided. I am now the proud owner of a well used, sand encrusted tennis ball courtesy of the sea.
Another surprise for the day on arriving at the holiday park in Pakiri. I was setting up and met Ian from British Columbia, Canada. Ian was wearing a t-shirt with Chetwynd Initial Attack printed on the front and I immediately said, “Hey, I was at a fire in Chetwynd last year.” He said “Fire 221? You were part of the Aussie contingent?” Me: “That right we were there for 5 weeks.” Ian: “Wow it’s a small world. I was the storeman there for a couple of weeks. You guys did great and we would have you back anytime. That fire ended up with 6 foot of snow shortly after you guys left and was dead. Great job.”
So I’m sure tonight will be spent talking shop and talking trail with Ian. Owen & Selena and Vicky also arrived at camp and I’m expecting Sven and Catherine who were also aiming for Pakiri tonight. I think after putting in a couple of big kilometre days I’m probably a day in front of the group I was walking with. I haven’t seen anyone from that crew for two days. No sign of Logan today either but I think he was after a short 15km day today.
Progress is good and I think Auckland is only another 4 or 5 days away. Think I’ll have a two day break there.
The biggest and best surprise arrived at the end of the day. Well I’ve said how great kiwi’s are right? Just in case, I will repeat it. Kiwi’s are absolutely amazing!! Kevin, a follower of this blog, from Leigh just down the road from Pakiri, knew I was going to be in town and arrived at my tent with beers in hand! We had a great chat over a couple. Thanks mate. Very much appreciated. All the best for your own Te Araroa adventure in the future. Get out there and do it.