April, 2014 We woke up at 5:30am this morning. That’s right, 5:30am. The last time…
We landed at Totaranui and piled off the boat. A German guy valiantly took our giant backpacks to shore for us, and then decided to go for a sprint down the beach and throw his hands triumphantly in the air. It was strange, but provided us with something to laugh at. Here we were, Totaranui, and we were here to start our walk. It, as luck would have it, began with an incredulous uphill. Oh. My. God. If the whole walk is going to be like this, my feet will probably fall off by the end. We finally began going downhill, and found ourselves at Goats bay. We were hiking on the beach! It was so cool! However, I didn’t see any goats. Not one.
After a blur of more uphills, downhills, and beautiful scenery, we came to the tidal crossing. We recalled what Skipper Brett said about the tide moving almost 5m in six hours, and like the brilliant hikers we were, decided to cross at low tide. The expanse of sand was not unlike a graveyard, with millions of broken clam and mussel shells scattered as far as the eye could see. We dodged crabs as they scurried from one hole to the next.
On, on, and on and on we hiked. My obvious lack of physical fitness began to show, and I trailed behind Ebba and Erin as they seemingly flew up the hills. I would stop, catch my breath, say, “stop being such a wimp, Beth,” and hike to catch up. It was exhausting. The path took us to an epic waterfall, and we were all stoked we chose this path. Waterfalls are bomb.
We finally made it to Bark’s Bay! We met Ranger Mark, who checked our booking number. He was cheerful and pleasant, and when he left, we decided Erin would be a perfect Ranger. Ranger Erin, we would call her! We cooked an entire bag of pasta, used an entire jar of sauce, and probably sliced half a kg of cheese. After we polished off the pasta, Erin cooked some cheesy bread which we added cheese to. Then we had some chocolate and climbed into the tent, satiated AF. As we stepped in our tent, it started to rain! Perfect timing. We lay in bed, all zipped up in our cozy sleeping bags, listening to the rain and chatting about the day. I asked Erin the time. 7:21pm. Lights out.
I woke up 12 hours later!! Oh man. I slipped out of the tent, sure to not wake the girls, and sat by the beach Ito amp myself up for the day. With a few MASSIVE blisters forming on my little piggies, I dreaded what the day had to offer. I prayed to nature and asked for a lovely day of relatively flat hiking, with pretty scenery and no rain- too much to ask? I didn’t think so. As we were cooking WAY too much oatmeal, the enthusiastic German guy from the boat (and the triumphant fist pump on the beach) walked into the campsite. We chatted for a bit, and he said he would see us on the trail. As he sprinted out of earshot, we all laughed. There is no way he would see us on the trail— we had no intention of sprinting.
Another blur of ups and downs, a little spatter of rain, and beautiful, breathtaking views. We walked by only really good smelling people. One man was holding an umbrella over the girl who walked in front of him— so chivalrous— and he smelled amazing. We couldn’t decide whether it was the passing hikers who smelled so good, or if it was us who smelled so damn bad. We agreed it must be them.
The end of the trail came into view and I almost wept at the sight of it. My feet sure did— then I realized that was just a blister that had popped and filled my sock with pus.