Sleep came easy last night. The full moon was setting in the west over the breaking waves of the beach. Camping on a sandy beach listening the constant hum of the breaking waves might sound more romantic than the reality. Sand everywhere, including places where sand should never be.
A total of 5 hikers were camped on the beach and set off at a leisurely pace. No rush today. Our plan was to hike between water sources resting every hour or so. The Te Araroa trail follows 90 mile beach for about 90 kilometers. Am I the only one who finds that strange! So all day hiking on a beach it was.
Walking all day on a beach is not as easy as one would imagine. Already my lips are sore and starting to crack. Lip balm can only do so much. But the worst thing is the constant flat terrain. Muscles and tendons are not stretched or used in a variety of ways which are causing all of us hikers to feel like we are 30 years older than we really are. It is tough. Each rest break includes a 5 minute stretch break. Hopefully in time these stretches will prevent injuries and make hiking easier on the body.
By 2pm we stopped at a campsite at Manganui Bluff. The cost is $10 per night but if there is nobody to collect the money you are kindly asked to deposit the money into their back account. Honesty is appreciated. We only stopped for lunch before moving on.
A quick check of the map revealed several streams with water that might make good campsites. An hour later when we arrived at the streams but they were dry. In fact a desert has more water than these streams. I suspect it has been unusually dry in this part of New Zealand.
My hiking buddy, Jazzus, was keen to keep on walking. It was hard to trust the maps, many of the water sources were not flowing. 30 minutes later I spotted a couple of tents pitched below some sand dunes. It was the Scottish trio that camped near us last night. And there was plenty of water. But it strangely did not flow to the ocean.
A meal of pasta and the sun setting over the ocean ended day two on the trail. The whole trail was on the beach. But I am starting to develop a small problem. I hope it doesn’t get worse, I’ll find out more in the morning.