Day 33 Thunderstorms and neck deep water
Monday 11 November
Elevation approx 100m
Weather: Thunderstorms and lots of rain
A late start as we had to be at Okura River at low tide at 1.27pm. Chirs, Kate and I walked together today, continuing to share great discussion and conversation. The first 10km or so was road walking, which included crossing and recrossing the road many times to avoid drivers not being able to see us on blind corners.
We took a leisurely break as we were making good time and needed to get to the river at low tide. Working against us was the rain last night (and today), and that it was a 0.9m low tide, which is on the high side. The trail notes describe the crossing as waist height at low tide on an average tide. We were about 0.5m above the average.
We stopped frequently to take photos of the approaching storm clouds, and arrived at the river mouth at exactly 1.30pm. We took videos of the incredibly long and loud thunder and lightening and joked that Kate's aluminium trekking poles made Chris and me safe from the lightening with our carbon fibre ones.
The crossing was wide and deep. Chirs kindly led the way. I note that none of us are exactly tall. With the water at waist height I moved my pack to my shoulders. At chest height I moved it to the top of my head. Thank fully it stopped getting deeper when it was at my armpits. All the time the thunder and lightening continued. It was exhillerating , and such a laugh and I was in my element. For anyone reading this with concern, there was minimal current, and as in my mind I am 6 foot tall and bullet proof so didn't fell in danger at any time.
Once out the other side I didn't bother putting on my raincoat as the heavens opened with heavy rain. I was completely wet anyway and needed a good rinse form the sand and salt water. It continued to rain on us for some time.
Mid afternoon we arrived at Chris's cousin's home where he and Kate are staying tonight. I continued on as Dave and Chontelle have come up to Auckland and they were picking me up from where ever I stopped. I got changed into dry clothes, and after farewells and an absolute genuine hope that my path crosses with Kate and Chris again, I carried on.
At about 6.30pm I just couldn't be bothered to walk up the next hill (it was only tiny but I was tired), so sat myself on a park bench next to the Mairangi Surf Club, and decided to wait.
I hadn't expected Dave and Chontelle for some time, thinking the Auckland traffic would be awful. So they both surprised me by sneaking up behind me as I sat looking at the sea in my own little world. It was so great to see them both after a month. Now having a couple of rest days to spend time with them.
The last couple of days I have really felt I have found my grove. I am in such a happy and contented place. Although my feet still ache a little, they are no longer my minute by minute obsession. The people, the scenery and the meditative nature of simply walking are all contributing to the magic.