hike blog

TA Day 71, Ship Cove to Madsen Camp, 17 km

Standing on a cannon from the time of Captain Cook before starting the Queen Charlotte Track in the South Island.
Standing on a cannon from the time of Captain Cook before starting the Queen Charlotte Track in the South Island.

I needed to get up before 5:00 am to catch the ferry, but what a treat for Raf to take me. Seas are advertised as ‘calm’ – just one meter swells. I run into the Czechs standing next to an American comparing shoe wear. I’m feeling stiff and secure in my new La Sportivas.

The ferry is enormous and I head right up to level six, wet in this gloomy morning. A sign alerts me to the rich bird life of Cook Strait – Sooty Shearwater that travel 64,000 km each year, three kinds of albatross that lock their giant wings in place and glide on the trade winds, plus gull, gannet, petrel, prion, tern, shag and penguin.

Oysters are farmed on log wooden piers in the Whangaroa Bay near Kaeo.
hike blog

TA Day 9 – zero day, Kaeo

I’ve been invited to stay the night at one of the most extraordinary homes I’ve ever been to, in the countryside near Kerikeri, out on a peninsula looking towards the islands. I have a huge, soft bed all to myself, the window open to the crashing waves and a full-on, thru-hiker sized  pasta dinner. Incredibly generous Cam and Vicki take in a few strays and let us clean up and rest.

And now I have pink eye. Irene has been sick this entire week unable to shake a sore throat, and maybe I caught something from her. Or, it could have been the battering sand, wind, and never being quite clean. Likely a signal to chill out now after over 200k tramping.

What do you think, is a rest – or ‘zero’ – day warranted? I have been driving pretty hard, mostly to be able to share the limited time with Irene who flies home Tuesday. Don’t worry. That cool hiker friend will make another appearance in the story when I make it to Hamilton next month.

Oysters are farmed on log wooden piers in the Whangaroa Bay.
Oysters are farmed on log wooden piers in the Whangaroa Bay.
Kāeo is the Maori word for freshwater mussel and is a small township near Kerikeri in the Far North.
Kāeo is the Maori word for freshwater mussel and is a small township near Kerikeri in the Far North.

When I was a little girl my parents divorced. It confused the hell out of me. I never quite felt certain I was loved and belonged, mostly because the two were so wrapped up in the unfolding drama. I remember one particular Thanksgiving shuttled off to my dad’s and then driving to friend’s in Maine with his latest girlfriend.