Beach Camp 97.8 to Kaitaia 115.8km
I was laying on my mattress with both legs pushing out on the side of the tent. 50km/h gusts of wind buffeted my tent as it lay in what I thought was a sheltered gully. Turned out to be more of a wind tunnel. But it did not last and sleep was plentiful.
The morning bought several snails to my tent. They were not easy to flick off. Not sure why snails would be on a beach for. Aren’t snails killed when exposed to salt? Anyone else know they were there?
By 6.30am I hiked the 3km to the town of Ahipara for a coffee and breakfast at the cafe. It was the only place open at 8am on a Sunday.
The next section of trail is closed due to Kauri dieback. Kauri trees are endemic to this part of the north island and a fungal disease is killing them. The Phytophthora fungal spores attack the tree and kill it. There is no cure and likely never will be. Hikers are one of the many carriers of the fungus. Tents pegs, shoes etc transport the disease from place to place. So no hiking through an area famous for its deep muddy trails. Instead, its an easy 3 hour road walking to Kaitaia.
Roadwalking is part of hiking the Te Araroa trail. I seem to be the only hiker on trail this year that intends to hike every footstep, including the roads. Most people are hitch hiking the road sections. Each to their own. Most locals and other hikers think I’m crazy. I’ve been called crazy a lot in recent years, I’m used to it.
A $30 dorm bed at Beachcombers hostel was the cheapest place in town. A shower and a trip to the Pac n Save to resupply and I was ready for bed. I was staying the the same dorm room as a guy who also hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2015. We even started on the same day, so many years ago, but we don’t recall meeting each other. His name is Armstrong.
Tomorrow is another road walk to the start of the next section of trail but things are not looking good. A storm is moving up from Antarctica. Snow, high winds and temperatures well below freezing are predicted for many parts of New Zealand, particularly the mountains of the south island. Should I stay another night in a warm bed or go play outside? These were the thoughts running through my head.