Today was the first full day of all beach and nothing but beach and I was a little concerned about how it would go. My plan was to get to Hukatere Lodge but if I didn't make it that far I would just camp in the trees again.
Last night I was restless again. I think I have my pillow and mattress inflated too much so I will try it differently tonight. My body felt ok when I woke up which surprised me. It took me an hour to get ready in the morning as I was taking it easy.
Once on my way it took a little while for my body to get back into it and I had to stop often to stretch. After about 30 minutes I was back in a routine. There were a couple of cars on the beach and I was offered a ride by some locals which I turned down. My intent at this stage is to do a pure hike where I walk every step of the way.
I was expecting to see all the tour buses around 10 but there was only one nearly empty one at 1020. Later at around 1100 there were three more so they must have made a 1000 start as opposed to the 0900 stay when I did it.
As the tide was out and this was a wider bit of beach there was nothing to look at. Thank goodness for driftwood without which there could not be the driftwood game. What is this game you ask. Well it is the height of entertainment on 90 Mile Beach. What you do is as soon as you see a dark shape in the distance is guess what it is. After 5 minutes you can usually tell if it is a car, a bus, a bird or driftwood. If you still can't make it out you can change your guess again. After another 5 minutes of intently starting it is usually clear what it is and then you start the "what does the driftwood look like" part of the game. My choices today included ostrich, cow on its back, car with people beside having picnic (I think that one was wishful thinking that I might be able to cage some food) . As you can see this is highly entertaining and wastes 10 to 30 minutes depending how big the driftwood is. I was amazed how far off I calls spot things. Several times I thought there we a couple of people ahead but they were just birds.
I did have one entertaining soap opera that had me laughing. A bird (like a seagull but Brown) saw something in the water and landed to catch it and ended up surfing in on the wave. When the wave reached the end the bird tried to pick up the fish but the fish got swept back out with the retreating wave. The bird flew back out to where the fish got dumped and was just about to grab it when another bird flew in to grab it. The first bird sorted out this intruder and finally picked up the fish only to drop it as it flew away and the second bird got the fish. Talk about edge of your seats thriller.
Just before lunch it felt like I had a massive stone in my right shoe and I recognised the feeling as a problem with the muscle or tendon in my foot. I started to think how bad this walk would be with a foot issue. I had been very lucky until then with no blisters and no continuous niggles. All the niggles seemed to go away after stretching. My foot got really bad and I was limping so I decided to stop and have lunch to rest it. After lunch I also changed out the shoe inner as I am carrying spares due to not having long to wear in my new orthotics. After lunch it was a struggle to get going again as every part of my body was making themselves known but this settled down again. My foot still hurt a lot but then after 15 minutes started to come right again to my huge relief. I stayed to get chafing on my thighs but liberal application of my marvellous anti-chafe cream got that under control.
The afternoon was long and the tide stayed coming in meaning no short cutting across the bays anymore. It also meant the return of the snot green foam again.
My excitement of the afternoon cane as I was taking a break sitting on a bank. The waves were coming in about 30 meters away and I kept glancing at them in between looking at my maps and eating Scroggin. I thought that much of a bugger would keep me safe. I saw a wave coming towards me and wasn't worried as it looked like it would stop well before me and I was up a bank even if it did come. Suddenly the wave was reinforced and came surging towards me at great speed and I had to scramble up the bank. Unfortunately I was not fast enough. I just managed to grab my poles as the wave came gushing over the bank. Both my shoes got soaked and as I turned around I saw my maps floating away. Luckily I am in the habit of doing my pouches up every time I get something out or I would have lost some important things. That shook me up a little just how fast that wave came. Unfortunately I was on a narrow bit of beach so for the next 30 minutes I kept a constant eye on the waves and went running up the bank at anything that looked slightly bigger than normal.
In the distance I saw the big hill that meant Hukatere was close. 30 minutes later I arrived and took the road of the beach. I came across two ladies who looked surprised when I appeared. They asked where I came from and were impressed when I told them. They then asked where I was going and oh so causally I said Bluff. No reaction from one as she was from UK but the Kiwi did a double take at that. Nice reaction that I guess I better get used to.
I walked past the lodge that seems closed given the massive sand slide over the road in several places. I continued along the 4wd tracks to the end. It was so nice to be going in a straight line and be off the beach. After 3 km I was thankful the steam I had been relying on was full so I could grab and purify some water and duck off into the trees to make camp.
The routine is getting faster. Dinner was pumpkin soup, followed by Back Country Cuisine Freeze Dry meal of Thai Green Curry Chicken. Unfortunately it was to spicy for me and I can usually handle a bit of spice. Luckily I had also prepared instant pudding which was really nice and banana chips to finish it off. I have the pre blister signs on the ball of my right foot up near the toes so I put some blister patches on.