9.30pm Takapuna camp site.
Ooohhhh. I’m stuffed Gangham style! Had a Korean all u can eat banquet and I took it too literally and have filled every spare pore available in my body with extreme efficiency. It was fantastic value at $25 and you could select and cook your own meats including steak, chicken, lamb pork, bacon, fish, squid. There is your very own grill at the table where you cook the raw meat yourself and then there were heaps of other dishes, including veggies salads, dips, sushi to choose from. it was super!
I may be now paying the price after having only dried pasta meals the last 3 nights and my body has gone into overloaded mode. I even felt guilty about eating do much I insisted on paying $30!
Having now fully arrived in the big smoke that is Auckland I am being bombarded with food and other retail offering and I am like a kid in a sweetshop (although didn’t see a sweetshop come to think of it). This is in complete contrast to my diminished food supply bag which by the time I arrived here in camp consisted of 1/2 bag coffee granules, tablespoon of milk powder, eight crackers and one isotonic drink powder sachet. I put it down to my perfect planning. Here in Takapuna there is food from all corners of the globe but I think I got it spot on with Mr Gangham.
Even more contrasting is the difference between waking up on a deserted beach to being surrounded by what must be one of the biggest cities (area wise) in the world. I’d got up at 6am as normal, even though now thinking to wait until tide low enough to do the river crossing. had a little walk (as you do!) and made a few brews, went through the trail notes and made a plan of where I could be and when, thinking I may be able to go faster than previous estimates).
We decided to leave for the river a bit earlier at around 10am (low tide more like 11.30/12 but thought we’d chance it). I was ahead and thought we’d cracked and was beginning to laugh at the “waist high at low tide” only reference when saw the real river running at the far side! Being a gallant gentleman I am I waded in to test the water at what looked like a good point only to find it up to my neck (had left rucksack on side! I went further towards mouth of the river and tried again, this time up to chest, by time I’d come out of the water and gone back to pick up my rucksack Karla had already got across with hers further downstream!
In the end it was probably only waist high and quite good fun having to lift the sacks above our heads to get then over dry. The downside was I then got the inevitable chaffing with my damp shorts!
The rest of the days marches were hugging the coastline to make the most of the lower tide rather than heading inland. There were loads of bays, beaches, rocky headlands to get through (torbay, browns bay, Rothersey bay, Mautrangi Bay to name just a few). It was pretty tricky in places with boulder hopping but pretty picturesque the whole way. we stopped in Browns bay for lunch. Poor Karla had to wait over 20mins for me as I was waiting for a toasted sandwich at a bakery and they were pretty disorganised to say the least, forgot peoples drinks, wedges, shakes and my toasty (only had one toaster too). Despite the delay we timed the tides just right as the last one to Castor Bay was up to ankles but I stayed dry. We ploughed on to Takapuna looking like aliens to some beachgoers (one lady asked if could take our photo as we looked so out of place) I “lent” my trekking poles to another lady as I’d seen her impersonating me. Boy could she and her daughter Jo chat and it was quite funny seeing Karla trying to extricate herself without becoming facebook buddies with them.
We finally arrived at Takapuna Camp site after a 20km day and sadly Karla and I parted company again, Karla to catch a bus to her friends and me to my little corner of this camp. Must be near a city as they issue keys for the amenity block. After putting up the tent (getting pretty good at this now!) and having a shower (which doubles up as my laundry as I wash and rinse my clothes at same time) I ventured into the metropolis of Takapuna. Lots of bars, restaurants, people and cars which feels strange to be around. Found an internet cafe so enquired and went back after my Korean stomach expander to do mammoth updates which will continue tomorrow as I’m only planning a light touch walk about 8km down to Devonport.