You spend months researching, and imagining, but it still takes your breath away. Cape Reinga must be about the most iconic start to a walk possible. The sheer scale, isolation and wild beauty is breath-taking. Then overlay the spirituality – letting go of the old life, and remembering your loved ones. Powerful.
Then start walking south. The enormity of the vista, plus the chosen path to Bluff is laid bare. It’s almost overwhelming. Breathe. Step forward. Empty your mind. The sun peaks through the cloud, and you are smiling inanely, insanely. Life is great!
The days already blur a bit, but my memory of the four days tramp to Ahipara is imprinted forever. Massive beaches and sky. Strong and yet fragile sand dunes. Unending waves providing a constant soundtrack to your footsteps. Your unending footsteps.
Emptying your mind, or at least filling it with thoughts of here and now is the challenge. And not your body and it’s aches either. The sea, the sun, the patterns in the sand, the shells, the people. Partial tunes float in, guessing times to distant landmarks. The beach is a highway, a living, a playground to the Far North community. You walk past it all, wave and smile.
There is banter at night with fellow T.A-ers, from France, US, Aus, Scotland, Switzerland and even Nelson! All here for a challenge, as well as experiencing NZ. All now half questioning their wisdom. A closed campground on the last night compressed our journey of 101km into 4 days. The last 2 days were over 30km each – tough.
We settled into the Ahipara Holiday Park for a few rest and recovery days. A storm also made that decision easier. Blister recovery, blogs, laundry, photos and rest while rain pattered down outside our cabin.
We are underway, and what an impressive start.