It was out the door and straight up, virtually.
Breakfast of muesli and powdered milk was absorbed into the body quickly with all the huffing and puffing. One had to have their mental toughness game on as this was going to be a five-hour slog doing the Bream Head ridgeline.
We passed the remains of a WWII naval radar station on our way to the summit. Rust and concrete amongst the tropical jungle undergrowth.
Once up, the 360° panoramic view of the earths curvature was just spectacular. To the north, you could see the past from where we had come; to the south, our future of where we were going. It was the now though that had our presence.
Marsden Point Gas Refinery was a beast of productivity, cylindrical domes housing oil and chimneys with flames burning off vapours. Tankers berthed and parked up looked like sticks in water; other recreational boat craft left their own trail of asteroid wake from the heavens.
The screeching out of unison from above were Kaka birds. We countered 13 which was just a positive sight to see given they were on the brink of extinction not too long ago.
Tree roots made it tough going in some parts and steepness made easier with man-made steps. The eight hundred odd on the decent signalled our end to what was physically exerting. Even the young commented on the trails test of character.
Once down, the sea of blue and green from up high were clear and pristine. We followed the road for some to an ice cream stop where we enjoyed a scoop of orange chocolate chip that soothed the mental aches. An open home next door provided an opportunity to refill liquid bottles and when the owners arrived home, we were given a lift of the last of the kilometres to the water’s edge.
There, a phone call to a local and for a small koha, we were water ferried across the harbour entrance to Marsden Point where more beach walking a further 8-9 kms had us finally turn inland and head for a supermarket to replenish supplies. Another local couple offered us a lift to the campground some five kms into Ruakaka for which we accepted.
Here we met up with Meg who we had walked Ninety Mile Beach with. She had been held up in Kerikeri attending to a knee injury so it was arranged to meet at Ruakaka to walk together some more. As we sat outside our cabin eating fish and chips and supping on an ale (how convenient to be next door to the supermarket), we reflected with Mike and Jeremy on a day of what was.
Other TA trekkers arrived – it was Aaron, Matt and Vivien; and then Ashley and Elley. Grins and laughter and the sharing of trail tales exuded as daylight transitioned into night.
The last climb of the day was when one got into the sleeping bag
A much deserved horizontal after all the vertical.