The rocky section after Wenderholm that can only be crossed at low tide.
Auckland

TA Day 23, Wenderholm to Stillwater, 30 km

The rocky section after Wenderholm that can only be crossed at low tide.
The rocky section after Wenderholm that can only be crossed at low tide.

Cold, damp, sandflies – oh my! It rained through the night and I was warm nestled in the alicoop, but once up, the chill works into the bones.

This is a slower group I’m paired up with, but our path, too, is slowed as we approach the city, and this is due to two tide-dependent crossings, over rocks and a river. I’ve put on my rain gear and found a spot in the sun to heat up and dig into my Puhoi cheese. My biggest expense on this adventure is fuel in the form of calories. Still, my pants are loose and I no longer have a bottom.

I begin my walk today in rain gear. Aspirational words on the stairs come as do the raindrops. – “Koe me he maunga teiti, Ki te tuoho, Whaia te iti Kahurangi.” Reach your goal, Be persistent, Aim high! And high I go above the Pacific all alone again.

Stacked packs at the Puhoi Pub.
Auckland

TA Day 22, Puhoi to Wenderholm – 7 km + 1 km

Relaxing in my private terrace at the Puhoi Pub Hotel. I was the only guest and they let me hang around all day.
Relaxing in my private terrace at the Puhoi Pub Hotel. I was the only guest and they let me hang around all day.
Mussel fritters and a local cider for dinner in Puhoi.
Mussel fritters and a local cider for dinner in Puhoi.

The barkeep Sean has just asked if I met the ghost in room 7, he carries his head in his hands and has a bad case of flatulence. Whoever my ghost visitor was, he was friendly – and healing.

Since departure is not until 4:30, I took a room and it was the best decision. I took two, loooong hot baths, hung out on this huge covered veranda in a fluffy bathrobe, tried every local beer and cider and generally rested my body and spirit – not too mention finished my next audio narrative.

Sean also told me don’t rush, enjoy your stay and has allowed me to just be in this beautiful place. It works for them as there are no other guests in the hotel – except the ghost – but still, there’s an incredible generosity that has made me emotional to the point of tears. Even Judy the housekeeper who walked in on me early this morning when I had my isolating headphones on, said just stay and enjoy, that she would get to my room later.