October 22nd, 2017
The next campsite, Hukatere Lodge/Utea Park, was 30km away. We looked at beach scenery all day. All 30 km… the exact same. The first 20 km went by fast as we talked the whole time and played 20 questions. There’s was also a bit of distraction on the beach, thank goodness. Many people were fishing and we saw a man catch a stingray. As he was letting it go free he was being extremely careful not to get poked. We also met an American guy sporting ultralight gear. We chatted a bit and he told us that he had done two long distance thru-hikes in the United States and he was now taking on Te Araroa. He seemed somewhat vainglorious but that didn’t deter us from asking a bunch of questions about himself and his previous adventures, as we followed him. His pace became faster but we kept up for a bit until we realized that he was trying to ditch us. Haha!
We had two bigger breaks that day, where we sat on the sand and relaxed our muscles. The last 10km were hard and slow. Our hips, calves and feet were aching but what hurts most is my (Sara) right knee. The whole thing was swollen. We were starting to feel homesick as well. It was an emotional day to say the least.
When we finally arrived at camp, I (Kisa) went for a swim with Yvonne, while Sara rested her knee. The water was freezing. Once back at camp, we sat in a circle with the other hikers and stretched our sore muscles. The owner of the camp came over. She had encouraging words and told us that she was proud of us. How nice! She also told us stories about herself and the campground. Afterwards, we set up our tent then headed for the hot shower we’d been looking forward to. It was more of a trickle but we were still happy.
A family reunion was taking place at the campsite as well. They had cooked fish, clams and mussels. A real feast. They invited us over and offered us dinner but we politely declined. We sat with Ben and Yvonne and ate our own food. We watched the family bless their dinner and say a prayer. They were a fun bunch and we truly enjoyed our evening.
Another 30 km tomorrow. Hopefully my (Sara) knee can handle it. Crossing fingers for service tomorrow too, it would be nice to call home.
- Best thing today: An evening shared with lovely people.
- Worst thing today: Last 10km
– Kisa + Sara