Everyone woke fairly early this morning including our host, Dave. After a good chat over breakfast and a cuppa we got underway just after 0700. The day's GPS track is here:
Dave took us down to the beach and showed us a clever way to avoid getting caught up with getting around the lagoon, which involved a short walk north before heading out to the beach. Local knowledge is helpful!!
We then set off for a 2 hour walk down the beach - the low tide was around 0500 so we were around mid-tide. It was a typical wild west coast beach with rain threatening us but, surprisingly, never really arriving (luckily for us!). There was a lot of debris, mainly large bits of driftwood, on most of the beach. If the tide had been any higher we would likely have found ourselves walking amongst it! We had to cross the Koitiata Stream about half way down. There were two big logs across it but they were being rocked by large waves which made the crossing rather interesting! B got her timing wrong for once and ended up with wet feet - F and I luckily managed it with dry feet!
We found the exit from the beach - someone had helped by putting a road cone on a pole beside the TA signage! Then it was off the beach and into what is left of the Santoft Forest - we stopped here for a 25min break as we were all feeling a little weary today! Much of the forest has been harvested and some turned into dairy farming so it was not a particularly exciting 10km walk.
After coming out of the "forest" it was further 10km of rural asphalt road to Bulls. We did have a number of logging trucks go past as there were logging operations going on beside the road. About 30 mins before reaching Sanson I rang my brother Grant to come from Fielding and pick us up, so he arrived about 5 minutes after we did! All three of us had struggled a bit for varying reasons today so it was nice to get to the day's end! Belinda had some problems with shoes so, as we were back in Feilding by around 1530, we borrowed the car and went on a rushed shoe buying mission in Feilding and then in Palmerston North. We finally found a pair of alternative Merrell shoes at Bivouac in PN - so B will try these out alongside her Hokas (we cannot source any more of these in NZ) to see if they will work OK for the South Island. We drove back to Fielding and spent a very relaxing evening, including a lovely roast lamb dinner (much appreciated thanks Joan!!), a nice shower and comfortable beds to sleep in - sheer luxury!!
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Belinda and Anthony (aka Tony) Hadfield made a decision, in their late 50's, to do something a "bit different" and walk New Zealand's 3000km Te Araroa Trail over summer 2015/16 - although updates will now tell you that this plan will take longer now!!. As the old saying goes - "don't leave home 'til you've seen the country"!!