Day 28 Feet Obsession
Wednesday 6 November
Mangawhai Heads to Pakiri Campground
Start 9am (Late start to post bounce box)
Elevation 85 flights (fitbit is lying again, only went over one small hill, the rest was flat)
Weather: Sunny, then light cloud.
Today was a good day. My life at the moment revolves around my feet and I apologise for boring you about them once again. I had been wondering what I think about most of the day, and decided to be mindful about it for the day. The winner is - my feet.
I spend a bit of time thinking about eating, but not as much as I should. A disproportionate amount of time is spent debating with myself about whether to take my shoes and leggings off to cross the river estuaries. Almost always, I simply walk through with my shoes and fully clothed despite the inordinate amount of time spent thinking about it. A little time is given to where I will spend the night. The vast majority of time, and consistent thought is about my feet. Mostly they just plain hurt. Either blisters, or the soles are aching. Depending on what hurts most takes priority in my limited brain space.
The decision to walk through the streams is usually based on the fact that taking a short rest (i.e taking off my shoes), is just not worth it. It results in my feet hurting even more for about 10 minutes before they warm up again once I start walking. So as you can see I remain obsessed with my feet. I had expected that after 4 weeks they would have settled. I remain hopeful that will come soon. There is a photo at the end of this obsession. If at all squeamish, please don't scroll down. My little toes are taking the biggest beating, continuing to get blisters on blisters. Ten blisters on my right foot in total, and four on the other. The good news is the new shoes seem to be making a difference with only one very tiny new blister on my heal today, and I simply need to wait for the feet to heal. Eternal optimism is all I have.
Today started with an 11km road walk, followed by a 15km beach walk. there was a tiny hill part way along the beach, otherwise it was completely flat. I hardly saw anyone at all, and no other TA hikers. The slight cloud cover made it a pleasant temperature to walk in. The sand was firm for most of the way, with the last hour on soft sand as the tide was high. All along the water line were thousands upon thousands of small pieces of clear jelly like matter. It was like broken up jelly fish. I couldn't walk on it because it was so slippery. When I did tread on it, it stuck to the bottom of my shoes and then the sand stuck to it, making my shoes very heavy. Very strange indeed, however it did give my mind something else to think of for a while.
There was some property development at the beginning of the beach, however for the vast majority of it there was nothing. It is a stunning white sandy beach and it was wonderful to see it so unspoiled. There were parts of the sand dunes fenced off to protect nesting birds. I love it that nature has priority.
I took a couple of decent breaks today to simply sit and watch the waves and birds. Part of what I loved about today is I didn't set a time I should be at the campsite. This is the first time I have done this. There was no-one ahead of me or behind me (that I knew of), so I wasn't influenced by how fast or slow someone else was going. I walked whatever pace I wanted to, rested when I wanted, and didn't make deals with myself about how far I had to go before checking the map or my watch. I just was. Maybe that is the point. Navigation is also a breeze on the beach - pretty hard to get lost.
There is a river / estuary crossing just before the campground. I got there at high tide which made it a just over waist deep crossing for me. It was rather refreshing, however minimal current so with my big girl pants on (and shoes), I bravely ploughed on through without hesitation. The trail notes said it could be up to mid thigh high. It must have been a particularly high tide :).
I have chosen to sleep in a cabin over tenting. The option of a bed will always win. For the first time so far, after doing my evening chores (washing clothes, shower etc) I had the energy to go out and take photos. I must be getting fitter and the feet not quite so sore. I have just had a peppermint Magnum icecream for dessert, and now it is time for an early night. It is so strange for me to have regular bedtime of 8.30pm.