I had a better night sleep with my pillow and mattress not blown up as much. I woke at 0730 to lots of birds chirping away and another nice day thought there were a few clouds but they just made it much nicer temperature.
I kept on the road between the dunes and the forest for the first couple of hours before heading back out onto the beach.
Unfortunately only 30 minutes in there was a boggy steam across the road that I had to cross and I wasn't willing to go barefoot through it. I did try to make a bridge with pine branches but it was too wide and deep. Within 5 minutes of crossing it was obvious the bluster patches had come lose so I had to dry my foot and put on something else. I used my Kinesio Tape which is great as it is flexible so easy to apply with no wrinkles or bunching and it stays on really well.
There were a few streams which required getting wet get but I just went through them today as my feet were already wet. I was impressed at how fast my shoes drained and my socks dried.
I reached Waipapakauri at 1215 and decided it was to early to stop. After a quick calculation I realised I could make it into Ahipara today. I picked up the pace a bit with the thought of fish and chips for diner but my body quickly told me to not be stupid. My feet were starting to hurt a bit and were really sore after stopping each time. it felt like my blisters were getting bigger but there wasn't much I could do. In hindsight I should have stopped more often to get rid of the sand. The problem was by this stage the sand was engrained in my socks and would not come out no matter how much I shook them which turned the socks a little like sandpaper.
For the last 10 km you could see where Ahipara was and this seems to make the time go slower though I did have a good rhythm going and was moving at a steady pace. 3 km out I spotted what looked like people but wasn't gong to be fooled this time and assumed they were birds. However this time they actually were people. 2 couples taking their dogs for a walk. They guessed straight away what I was doing and congratulated me for getting this far. They gave me directions to the Holiday Park which thankfully was closer than the houses on the Hill o thought I had to walk to.
500m from the end of the beach I made a 100 km sign in the sand and took some photos.
Finally I reached the end of the beach
and then it was a walk up the road to my accommodation. By this time my feet were very sore so walking on hard road was not fun. It was a great feeling walking through the Ahipara Holiday Park gates knowing I had conquered 90 Mile Beach.
As I was a day earlier than planned I asked if I could swich my booking days and luckily it wasn't a problem. In my accommodation I emptied my pack and hit the shower before selling down for some well deserved chips and Ginger Beer. I relaxed for a while then walked (hobbled) down the road for fish and chips and a cheese burger.
On reflection I have really enjoyed this tramp. I know I was incredibly lucky to not have blisters or injuries and to have a light pack. I am sure this contributed to my enjoyment and I can imagine how painful the walk could be with a heavy pack and blisters. I loved the thought that this was the start of a long journey and how relaxed I was knowing I did not have to think about anyone else or about work. I loved stopping when I felt like it and not having to stick to a schedule. I loved randomly picking campsites. I loved the freedom to just stop wherever I was to have a pee though it did feel exposed the first few times. I gained a better appreciation for the life on the beach. The is a lot more happening than we normally notice. Overall I am really glad I decided to do Te Araroa and I am looking forward to the bush legs coming up.