Chaffing, blooming chaffing! What the hell is going on? I’ve been on the trail for 17 days and only now I get full on chaffing! I have a theory going that ailments are working vertically up my body, it started with my feet (blisters and swelling) to my knee (strained after fall) and now my thighs, so im a bit worried about the next anatomical casualty!
Anyway I’m going to focus on the positive as this is what it is all about and i am rejoicing in the fact that I have the Poor Knights Islands in view which means Pataua is not that far away (relatively speaking) and I am looking forward to catching up with all the Neighbours. It is truly beautiful here, Oakura camp is a good 2-3km off the trail but when I was informed that Helena Bay had no camp ground or amenities but Oakura did so I took the detour (makes me feel better about missing the Raetea Forest which is still niggling me).
Officially I have completed a mammoth 35km today but can only claim 24km of these under my own steam. This is because I took the “officially sanctioned” water taxi over to the Waikere inlet to start the Russel forest section. This was all pretty exciting as I received door to door delivery as the sole passenger. My lady chauffeur was nice and chatty and said they’d had double the number of Te araroa walkers compared to last year. there was probably and equal number of Germans, Americans, Canadians and english then fewer French, Spanish, and even fewer kiwis! She pointed out the Pacific Blue Oyster beds in the bay which was ideal conditions for them as they were exposed by the tides twice a day which is what they love. It only took about 1/2 an hour to reach the inlet and once I was suited and booted I was on the trail before 10am.
This was all a bit daunting as I was on my own for the first time since Day 2. Katrin is staying another day in Paihia, partly because her back aches a bit, partly she wants to go to the Wiatangi Treaty House, and maybe (I’m just making this up) she is hoping Brian will come charging over the hillsides with a red rose between his teeth. More likely it’s because Katrin wants to share costs doing the kayak/water taxi option. (Double kayak $85 and water taxi to pick them up $100.
Todays walking was actually very pleasant especially the stream walking in the native bush where you really do get the sense you have landed in paradise and are the only soul to have explored the pristine verdant surroundings. The stream section was a generous 4km and although slow going its gives time to savour the whole experience.
However all good things come to an end and ultimately the forest petered out into “road margin” for the next 3 or so hours. It wasn’t so bad as my most precious parts of my body at the moment, my feet, were coping admirably. I did do one stupid thing which was to try and get some water out of a stream running parallel to the road as I was worried I was getting low. I climbed over the fence and scramble down the steep bank to where a tree had fallen in the water and I was hoping to straddle the tree and the bank to scoop out the water. Well, the bank gave way and I almost did the splits but luckily the only tear was in my shorts which got caught in a branch ( and in the end I didn’t need the water I’d collected!)
Back to the chaffing which I know you are most concerned about. My only explanation is that when I did the stream walk I got wet and this may have enhanced the “rubbingability” of my shorts . hope so as if so it shouldn’t really happen again (at least not when I’m dry). I managed to change my shorts at the “road margin” with only the one car getting an unsavoury sight of my pants (thankfully was wearing some today!).
I’ve quite enjoyed being on my own as it was a change and i am the master of my own destiny. I tried to keep to an hour on and 15 min max breaks but was pretty flexible e.g pushed on to a shelter to have lunch. In conclusion a mixture of company and solo days is an ideal combination.
The Camp here at Oakura is almost full with lots of kiwi families and lots of boats. I had to wait 15mins to get a shower as kids were hogging them despite sign saying conserve water, max 3 minutes only! I was also charged for power site even though didn’t need it ($21), not heard of Te Araroa trail so didn’t get anywhere with a discount either.
8.30pm in tent
I was politely brushed out of the takeaway at 7.30pm (closed at 7pm!)
Couple of things while I remember
1. Sign on toilet
If its yellow let it mellow
If its brown flush it down
2. Dusty at the beachside camp asked me why I was doing the trail and I told him about dad and raising money for Cancer Research, he said they had been raising funds for breast cancer and reached $300k and the scientists supported by the funding had identified the gene which is responsible. Apparent breast cancer is more prevalent in taller women (women with dwarfism never get breast cancer) and there is a link between these traits. Whilst not come up with how can manipulate this they have something to go on.
3. Rob Wakelin at TE Araroa Trust had emailed back to say my blog is now linked on the TA site and noted that i’d had a particularly rough start
4. Peter Griffiths had also replied and was happy to inscribe the knife with Te Araroa 2014. He also mentioned that he was being interviewed again, this time about the trail.