Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Day 24 - Orewa to Takapuna Beach Holiday Park (TA 583) - 37 km

There was an estuary crossing at the Okura River on today's route. It was meant to be hip deep at low tide which probably meant about waist deep on me. There was a walk around which of course was long and involved roads and Alex and Harriet had decided to miss this section should f the coast altogether and push push on down East Coast Road to Browns Bay and rejoin the trail there. I was initially going to do this too, but I woke up deciding I didn't want to pound the pavement for that long and would take the TA route all the way.

The 2 days without walking should have refreshed me, but my pack, which was relatively empty, felt like a tonne of bricks when I put it on and my legs felt heavy and unwilling. The day started off with a walk on the footpath around the estuary. I got to the point where the TA is meant to go left up a grassed walkway and someone had erected a cyclone fence with a sign 'Private Property' - I guess some more negotiations are required to allow us troublesome hikers to walk on the grass. After a bit of a detour I was back on trail again and a bit of a road slog until the turn off to Still Water. I'd just turned the corner when a 4-wheel drive stopped and a man (Dougal) asked me if I wanted a lift to the trail head. 'Yes please'. I had a long way to go today and was happy to skip some bitumen.

It was a lovely day and I was enjoying the Okura Coast Track - it was a pretty walk around the estuary and over the headland. I was taking my time as I knew I would hit the estuary crossing before low tide and would have to wait a bit. I got to the top of the headland with a viewpoint across the estuary - the tide was pretty well out but I could see the channel on the far side which still looked quite full. I made my way down and along the beach to the spit which was the crossing point - about two hours to low tide. I looked across the estuary and I could see two people - hikers, likely to be Barnaby and Laura who I had seen in Orewa.  It looked pretty shallow where they were but they appeared to be waiting so I guessed the channel was still too deep. I had a snack and moved some things to the top of my pack and started across the estuary to where they were. It was easy going over to the sandbar where they were and yep it was Barnaby and Laura. I waited a bit with them but patience isn't something I do very well. I headed out what would have been the last 50m: ankle deep, knee deep, thigh deep, groin deep, waist deep, boob deep. I had about 10m to go when it got too deep for me to stay grounded and I started to float - so close! Reluctantly I turned around, but not being the best swimmer thought caution was the way to go!

Waited for another 20 minutes and then some more. Barnaby wasn't keen to get his gear wet but mine was already wet. Started in again - ankle deep, knee deep, thigh deep, waist deep, boob deep, tippy toe top of boob deep - across! It was such a good feeling!  Walked up onto the bank and emptied out my pack - not to bad on the inside considering the two submersion sit just had. Wiped the bottom out with a towel, repacked, shoes on, back on my way.

It didn't take long for my clothes to dry but my tent bag must have been still ho,ding some water as there was a constant drip, drip, drip on my leg as I walked.

The rest of the day followed the coast through numerous little bays and towns that all involved a walk along the shoreline and then a climb (with obligatory stairs). It was lovely but loooong and by the end of the day, my very tired feet were very thankful to get to the campground.

The Takapuna Holday Park is a little frayed around the edges which I thought was interesting as Takapuna seemed to be quite an affluent area. It also seemed to fit with the 'closer you get to Auckland the less you get for your dollar' theory, but my site was flat and the bindiis were still green and the shower was hot.

I lay in my tent that night and looked at the lights of Auckland across the harbour. Only a short walk tomorrow and I'll be there.

Pigeon xx

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