As we walked back out onto the beach off the ramp, a glance to the right in silence with a nod to the skies and under the breath, safe journey today Lasse was spoken.

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We met another trekker staying at the camp from Auckland, James.  His encounter of 90 Mile Beach was similar with getting a lift after the 30 km stretch.  Again, just physically hard.  Then there were a number of instances whilst walking along the high tide mark where an incoming wave reached above his waist nearly dragging him out to sea.  He came close to flipping the button on his personal location beacon he was that fearful.

When caught short like James was, there isn’t a foot hold to grab onto.  Once fully coned sand dunes, some of them are now cliffs due to sea erosion.  Alive clumps of grasses lay on the beach where they have tumbled from and tree roots stick out from the face.  Fence posts and wire hang like tight ropes along large parts of the coastline to.  If you think the oceans aren’t rising, come walk this part of the country and check it out for yourself.

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It was a further 14 kms of beach walking before arriving at Ahipara.  A clear sky and open sea with a slight on shore wind had gliding sea gulls patrolling from above.  Traffic was busier as houses became more detailed.  The landscape rose up too.  We were too fast for the tide sometimes chasing our feet even though our walking was more of a plod.  Coming off the ramp, there was a group hug of achievement.

Just before that though, another glance down the beach in silence.

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Ashley, Meg and John headed for the camping ground with arrangements made to catch up with our trekking family tomorrow.  For us we had touched base with someone we first met ten years ago, in Ahipara when we cycled the length of New Zealand in the opposite direction – Kerry Rolleston.  Her invitation to stay was sincerely accepted and greatly appreciated.

Removing the socks revealed bottoms of feet that weren’t pretty.  The raw flesh under the rotting was so sore, a re-think of strategy going forward was on the cards.

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For Sale – back pack with full trekking gear (tent with ripped seam; two cooking stoves; sleeping mats and bags; metal pots and water filter; with sundries), boots and poles.  Used but in happy condition to a motivated idiot not knowing what the hell they get themselves into.  Owners going overseas to lie on a tropical beach as soon as sold.  All offers considered!

But the evening conversation had with Kerry over a lovely home cooked meal allowed minds to wander in thought and forget the aches below the table.  Ten summers of swapping toasting and roasting stories all ending up with the hatching of perhaps re-walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage walk in Spain.

We know of two people who would be keen (Sharon Meredith and Mark Hogan).  And now three (Kerry Rolleston).

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Games on … 2018.

And for the record, it wasn’t wine talk!

The strategy for where to from here regarding the TA, two more nights of wine bottles to be corked.

Something will eventuate we are sure!