Sunday, December 8, 2013

December 9th

   We are writing from Ahipara, 100k into the trail. Wow, the first 100k surprised us, it was beautiful, it beat us up and now we're recovering from it. We started last Tuesday in the pouring rain and howling wind, with very little visibility. The winds were whipping so hard that it was difficult to walk near Cape Reinga but we went down to the lighthouse and had a little view out to where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet.
   It was a short but difficult first day with a mix of beach walk, dunes and grass. The rain and wind kept up and we were covered with sand and rain by the time we arrived to our campsite for the night- a field above the beach with a gazebo, water and outhouse. A couple from Auckland who were hiking the first 100k were already there making dinner and we traded stories about the brutality of the first 12k. That night we had the most ferocious winds I've ever experienced with torrential downpour, thunder and lightning. I have no idea how our tent stayed up, but somehow it survived- we were completely dry- I'm VERY impressed with our tent!
    The next day after about 6k, we made it to 90 mile beach, the trail for the next three days. It was beautiful to be on the beach, but I never would have imagined that beach walking could be so difficult!! With the rain/wind/sand from the first two days our feet (mostly mine) began to blister and get very sore. We alternated between barefoot, sandals, socks or shoes to change it up a bit but I've still got two small blisters and we both have sore feet!
    The next day brought sun and blue skies, but in New Zealand there is very little ozone layer and the sun is extremely powerful, so it's been very difficult to stay protected. Even with long sleeves, hats and bandanas covering our faces, we're both very sun burned.  After the  first two days of rain we noticed our hands and faces were burned even with complete cloud cover.
       We stayed that night at Gabrielle's hostel right near the beach. Gabrielle moved here from Germany 14 years ago and has a beautiful property on 90 mile beach with a lodge, hostel and camping. We were so tired and sore that we took a day off to rest our tired legs and feet.  We enjoyed the day off and went to town with Gabrielle, met her neighbor who has an avocado farm (and got lots of avocado- even packed a few out with us!) and had our first New Zealand ice cream- yum!
      We packed up Saturday morning for another full day of beach walking which brought us to the end of 90 mile beach. We camped that night and are currently in a hostel resting again. We are both way more beat up than we thought we'd be, on the beach there's no change in terrain and as soon as sand gets in our shoes (especiall when its raining) our feet start to rub, so we've been recovering for a bit.
       The hostel we are in is a beautiful house on the beach in a small surfing town.   We've met some really great people and all the Kiwi's along the way are super friendly. We're loving the Kiwi words and expressions we're learning, our favorite is, “Cheers mate!” I think its the most common phrase we hear!
    We'll head back to the trail tomorrow morning, we have a short road walk out of town before we start our first bush walk. We'll be away from the beach for a bit and be walking through forest, hills and farmland.
 I've posted a few pictures below, but the wifi connection here is very weak and uploading pictures takes a long time, so just a few for now.
   Thanks for reading!
-JP and Nut

The beginning of the trail, headed down to the beach
A windy and rainy start at Cape Reinga lighthouse
The sun finally came out :)

With Gabrielle at The Hukatere Lodge

View from a campsite where we shared the area with wild horses

90 Mile beach

1 comment:

  1. You are amazing! So proud of you. I grew up in la on the beach. You get badly burned in overcast cause the ultra violet rays go through the clouds!