Distance travelled today: 24 km
Total TA distance covered: 586 km
Cruisey day today.
Pretty typical morning. On the trail by 7am and headed towards the Okura Estuary. I had the Okura river to cross this morning which could only be done on low tide or an hour either side. The approach along the coast was 4km and fairly easy. Only a couple of headlands to get over.
In a thick section of the track I came across a group of trail runners out for their Saturday morning training run. All looking very fit and geared up in their active wear and smelling of deodorants and perfume. If I came smell such things from a distance it only means one thing, my nose has become attuned with my own natural odour and I’m sure its not pretty. The trail was narrow and they had to pass close – sorry guys, deodorant free for 25days!! Pleasant.
Soon enough I was on the beach and past the historic Darce Cottage, then onto the Okura River. The tide was mostly out and I could walk virtually right across all of it to the last big channel. It wasn’t quite low tide yet. I had an hour to go but it should be crossable. It is meant to be hip deep. The bottom could not be seen in the murky water.
I moved across to the edge of the river to where I sighted navigational poles. If they do cross, trampers are meant cross between the 4th and 5th poles in from the river mouth. Counting them I thought I was in the right spot.
I stripped down to my boxers and made sure all my valuables and dry clothes were secured in dry bags and entered the water for a test run without my pack. A couple of feet in, so far so good. Up to my knees, thats ok. Thighs, getting deeper. Hips, belly button, maybe I should wait the extra hour. Stomach, arm pits and only half way across. I couldn’t do it just yet and was thinking I’d have to wait out the extra hour.
Then getting out of the water I spied a couple of extra marker poles that were not there before when I first looked. Silly me. I was too far down the river and hadn’t paid enough attention to the poles. I needed to walk another 200m out along the sand spit towards the ocean to reach the 4th and 5th poles.
Righto then. Test run two. Ankles, knees, thighs, so far all looking good. Waist, waist, waist. Awesome. It was not getting any deeper and I made it across. Now I had to repeat the crossing twice more, once to get back to my pack and twice to get it across nice and dry. Pack balanced on my head, I made my way back across unscathed.
Dried off and in dry clothes I made my way around Piripiri Point and 3km down through Long Bay Regional Park. This is a rocking park. Very busy given it’s short distance from the city and it looked like half the city was out for a Saturday BBQ, picnic or wedding. I coped some strange looks from the city folk as I walked through in my tramping gear, poles in hand.
Then once through the park it was in the actual burbs, passing through streets, between houses and down lane ways. The walk was pretty good and took in much of the cliff top walks with great views out over the water. This continued on for the rest of the day until Takapuna where I had a camp site booked. Very busy park.
Some of the walking was hilarious. Walking past suburbs and suburbs of Auckland’s equivalent South Yarra / Toorak equivalents (Melbourne’s posh suburbs for those not in the know). Mercs, BMW’s and Audi’s galore. Extravagant, cliff or waterfront properties all firmly secured between big fuck off gates with buzzers. I must have been quite the sight.
But I must say thanks to many of the properties who have allowed public access along the Te Araroa and the numerous walkways. You are virtually walking through some back yards and looking straight into kitchens, dinning and lounge rooms. And if some property owners choose to be on public display sun baking topless or in g-strings who am I to judge. Just keep telling yourself Mick – look but don’t stare! And definitely don’t wave and say thanks for allowing us to walk through. Or stop to take photos, keep moving through.