Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hamilton, 800k

  It's been a while since we posted, but all is well on the trail! We arrived in Hamilton yesterday, which marks kilometer 800! It's been a busy last week- we passed through Auckland, there's been a fair amount of rain and lots of road walking.
   Since we left Waipu, we've been hiking on and off with another couple, Bekki and Hui. Brazil Nut knows Hui from the PCT in 2010, and it's been so much fun hiking with them.
   Last week we had a few great surprises while we were hiking.  We had a water crossing one evening, and the trail notes said we could only cross one hour either side of low tide.  We planned to camp before and cross in the morning.  It was late in the afternoon and as we got close to the crossing, we saw a cottage next to the trail and Bekki sitting and talking with someone.  She motioned for us to come over and told us the people at the cottage would give us a boat ride across, so we didn't have to wait until the next day to walk at low tide.  They made tea for us and we chatted for a little while before we left.  The tide was high but going out fast so we needed to go quickly.  Before he dropped us off, he told us a big storm was coming, and to be sure we found a place up high to camp that night.  We were so happy to get the ride across, it was a very wide crossing and even at low tide, we'd heard stories that it was still very deep.
   We camped that night with Bekki, and found a place that was up high and a little protected from the wind and we experienced the most severe down pour I've ever been in.  How we stayed as dry as we did I don't know, but I didn't sleep much because the rain hitting our tent was so loud all night.
  The following morning we had the best surprise.  We were less than a kilometre into our day and Diane and Graham (who we met our first night on the trail- they were doing the first 100k) walked around the corner to greet us! What a surprise!! They had tried to contact us, but as we're not carrying a computer or smart phone we didn't know.  They live in the area and had seen our SPOT check in and knew where we were and hiked up the trail to meet up with us!  We chatted over the next several kilometres and told them about the trail.  They're planning to hike it in the near future so it was really fun to catch up with them.  We're hoping to see them again in May before we fly out of Auckland.  But it made our day to see them and chat with them, it was such a nice surprise!

Brazil Nut and Diane near 90 mile beach, 3 days into the trail- swapping packs

   The next couple days we spent walking through Auckland. The unique thing about this trail is that it brings trampers through all parts of New Zealand, and the cities are no exception.  We walked through North Auckland, an area full of Europeans, which was full of lovely neighborhoods with very fancy homes.  We alternated between beach and road walking, before we came to the ferry, to take us the 3km across Auckland harbor.  It was interesting to pass through central and South Auckland, all with very different neighborhoods.  Central Auckland has a huge Asian population, and in part of South Auckland we walked through 'the ghetto'.  The ghetto here though, is not like any ghetto one is used to coming from U.S, and was quite nice in comparison.  A few steps later we emerged in Auckland's Botanical Gardens, where the trail passes through as well.  After several more kilometres on road, we were happy to be back to the bush that evening and away from the city.
   We had been told that there was a lot of road walking on the North Island, and it's no joke.  We've had lots of road the last few days and have more coming up this week.  The road walks are nice as we can put in good miles and its relatively easy walking, but after several hours our feet really start to hurt.  We've had good company though since we left and have been hiking with Bekki and Hui.  Besides meeting a few hikers briefly in town, they're the only people we've spent time hiking with.  We've loved the company and really enjoy hiking with them.  They've just left Hamilton this morning, so I hope they won't get too far ahead!
  Happy trails,
Jetpack and Brazil Nut

View from Mangawhai Heads walkway

Mangawhai Heads walkway

Brazil Nut, Te Ari beach

North of Auckland, walking along volcanic rocks

Taking a break to watch kite surfers in Takapuna


Hiking along a stopbamk

My feet after a day of hiking in wet shoes :(

A day off to recover from hiking in wet shoes

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