Day 32 (Fri 11 Dec): Rest day
More like feast day – went out for coffee in the morning; ate out for lunch and dinner. Weight gain has commenced. Was obliged to go for a walk in the afternoon to assist the digestive process.
Day 33 (Sat 12 Dec): Long Bay to Orewa
Started 9.40am, finished 3pm, 19k -ish
Pain in the head status: Pretty good, headache on waking but gone after breakfast. I wonder if it could be caffeine-related; although I usually only have one coffee a day, apparently that may be enough to result in dependency. A conundrum for another time – I suppose walking the Te Araroa could be the opportune time to withdraw from toxins, drugs and addictions, but right now, for me, abdicating from my morning coffee would be a cruelty. I’m putting it on the post-TA to do list – or to try list (I disagree with Yoda, sometimes try is all you can do).
Word of the day: Roister, to enjoy oneself or celebrate in a noisy or boisterous way.
We tried out going northbound (NOBO) today, instead of southbound (SOBO) like most people do. This was because of the tidal Weiti River crossing at Okura Bay, which is best crossed around low tide, which was mid-morning. It would have been an unconscionably early start to reach the river by mid-morning if we had walked from Orewa.
So it was a deja-vu morning, as the Parental Taxi Service (PTS) once again dropped us off at Long Bay, this time to go up the coast. We walked along the coast from Long Bay to Pohutakawa Bay, famous for being a male nudist beach. We did see a nudle (nudist couple) tanning their bottoms in the sun, but they may not have stayed long as it soon became overcast and even cool. As we reached Weiti River, another pair of SOBO TA walkers (Shane and Sharlene) emerged from the water, and were able to reassure us that the crossing was only waist-deep. It was, although I stood on tip-toes at the nadir, as it was almost chest-deep on me. We then squelched across the wide river mouth, startling oystercatchers and godwits; pigeons were unperturbed.
Meandering through the Okura Bay track, we reached Stillwater and stopped for lunch, even though it didn’t feel like we’d exerted ourselves enough to earn it, but the next section was back on the roads, some of it reportedly hair-raising. Shane appeared again (long story – but he was picking up the car he’d left at Stillwater) and confirmed that walking the next bit of road was a hideous and potentially life-threatening experience. He kindly offered to drive us through it, and drop us off at the top of Silverdale, and we gratefully accepted. On seeing the road, I was very glad to have skipped it – blind corners and no protection for walkers at all. Thanks, Shane, you’re a star.
At Silverdale, we stumbled across their Pioneer Village, and since we now had some spare time, having been driven for 8k or so, we poked around there for a while, checking out the displays on the local geology, history and collections of random items. Then we dropped down to the Orewa river and estuary for a pleasant ramble along the Te Ara Tahuna cycle/walkway and a brisk trot along Orewa Beach, once we realised the PTS was on its way and we had a deadline to meet. We celebrated the end of walking in Auckland (we’ll come back and do the section from Puhoi to Orewa next year) with ice-creams (scoops of passionfruit and hazelnut latte, mm).
Back at the parental home, the noise from the roistering local Christmas Parade reminded me that everyone has unique ways of celebrating. For example, we will be celebrating Christmas this year by going for a long walk and sitting in a remote place eating dehydrated food, contemplating the memory of today’s ice-cream. Others will celebrate Christmas by eating so much they can’t move. It takes all sorts.