Karaka Stream (km82)-Herekino track trailhead (km109)
Mileage: 16.8mi/27km plus additional 2km running back to hostel.
I slept the best I ever have amongst some trees with the faint sound of the surf as white noise. It is even more peaceful sleeping here, knowing there are no animals that can harm you. I woke to birdsong early. I was pleased to find absolutely no condensation on my tent. The previous 2 nights were dripping wet. Sight selection plays a huge role in this. It’s best to camp amongst pine trees. Grassy areas near water are the worst, even if they are inviting. I skipped my breakfast routine and instead walked the 5 km to the Holiday Park. The water in the stream I camped near was good for washing off sand but not for drinking. Starting off at 6:30 am, I was able to walk in the shade of the dunes all the way to the holiday park. Once there, I ducked in to get water and make coffee. Huck and Steady were there packing up. They were looking more beat-up than me in terms of sunburn. We all agreed we would be happy to be done with the beach soon. Only 13km more. It was rough walking the last 3km, since the tide was coming up all the way to the edges of the dunes. What happened to the wide beach? The full moon was really exerting its pull.
I had also developed another blister, this one on my right pinky toe. I don’t recall ever getting blisters in this spot and now I have them on both feet. Fittingly, at KM 100, the beach was over.
Now for town errands. I titled this post “in an out” to describe the effects of the tide on the beach and also my goal for town today. I walked first to the hostel and took a shower for $5 while I charged electronics. I was surprised to see Kess walk in. She had hitched a ride off the beach because her feet were hurting so badly. Then I also ran into a German guy who got off at the same bus stop as me 3 days ago. He is riding a bicycle from north to south. Its funny how in this small country, you run into the same people over and over again. I even told him that we would probably see each other again when we parted the first time.
Wanting to at least hike to the next trailhead, I said goodbyes to everyone and walked another few kilometers into the main part of town. I bought some resupplies and a nice lunch of salmon and salad.
There was no free wifi anywhere, so I was unable to properly do any blog posts or chat with relatives. The hostel was nice but the rest of Ahipara didn’t have a lot going for it. I was anxious to move on. Just before leaving, I checked for something in my pack and realized I had left my solar charger along with the rest of my electronics at the hostel. I couldn’t believe it. I was so mad with myself for being so careless. I convinced the girls at the restaurant to watch my pack and ran all the way back to retrieve my stuff. It was sitting right where I left it at least but I tacked on another few kilometers to my day for my carelessness. I felt really sluggish heading out of town and sad too, leaving behind all the fun people I have met. I am pushing on because the weather may be turning rainy on Sunday. There is a river-walk section 3 days from now that needs to be walked in good weather, hence my rush. I walked the 8km road section to the trailhead and called it a day. The road was narrow and busy with people heading home from work, so it kind of sucked. But I managed to find a nice flat spot in the grass nearby. I was still very full from eating junk food in town and didn’t want to cook so I had 1 whole locally grown avocado, cheese sticks, and Peri peri flavor Pringles for dinner. I still have no idea what Peri peri flavor is but it’s a bit spicy. Talk about a hiker trash dinner. At least tomorrow I will have a great head start on the forest trail in the morning. Get ready for some mud and climbing!