• Kay

Day 32 I'm in a happy place.

Sunday 10 November

Start 7.30am

Finish 5.20pm

Distance 23km including 7km kayak

Total 539km

Steps 35,367

Elevation: Approx 200m

Weather: Windy, overcast and raining

Chris and I were kindly dropped off by Aimee to the kayak company and Kate met us there (she had stayed with her relatives). We were advised there was a strong wind that was likely to cause us some concerns as the river widened out into the estuary. Kate has only kayaked once before so we decided to double kayak, with Chris in a single.

Safety briefing done and a quick lesson for Kate and we were off. It was an incredibly pleasant paddle on an outgoing tide, with only a minimal impact from the wind. We spent the time discussing all sorts of things, mostly about the trail, what our luxury items are, thoughts on eating, the kindness of others and the next couple of days walking which includes a major river crossing that has to be done on low tide. We have decided to stick together so we can do the crossing together.

At the end of the kayak Kate and I set off and Chris stayed back to eat breakfast. We had the discussion about walking paces and the need to sometimes walk on our own. We are all introverts and completely get each other's need for space. After finally finding the right path Kate and I headed over Wenderholm Park hill. It is just north of Orwera so there are a number of people on the trail and it is well maintained with great views.

Kate and I got into a conversation with a woman on a run, Cindy. She offered us her place in Orwera to stay that night. Chris just at that moment caught us up and he was invited as well. Cindy offered to pick us up and again drop us off at the spot we finished today. Totally and completely unbelievable. I think I spent the next half hour just shaking my head in amazement at what people are willing to do for absolute strangers.

The three of us spent the rest of the day walking together, sharing our stories. Kate and Chris are both lovely people. I am incredibly lucky to have found two kindred spirits to walk with. We had a late lunch in a cafe in Orwera, and unbelievably came across Kathrine and Pete having a meal in the cafe next door! Pete is injured, having slipped on a steep, wet and grassy slope yesterday. The same slope I was being ultra careful on yesterday.

We stopped for the day at a place we hoped would be convenient for Cindy to pick up and drop us off from, and she came and collected us. We met her husband Steve who was equally lovely, particularly given his home was now full of random strangers staying the night. Steve and Cindy are both adventurers who hike and mountain climb across the world. They gave us dinner, great conversation, beds and showers. Thank you, thank you, thank you. The views from the house are amazing and the rainbow photo is from their deck.

Kate and Chris

I am lying in bed listening to the rain and I am so eternally grateful for the opportunity to be doing this walk and meeting all these incredible people. I never imagined it would be like this. I am in a happy place.

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