Party time

This post takes place between March 24th and April 8th.

Met up with hikers Spencer, Sheida, Bart, Jen and Alex in the tiny village Methven, that owes its existence thanks to the ski resort Big hill. If it is not ski season, Methven is a sleepy hollow.

Anyway, Spencers 30th birthday party coming up and DJ Powerhouse helped threw the dance floor down at the local pub. Good night with a lot of fun helped the pendulum swing back up from the dip. Hiked with the party crew for a couple of weeks. Spending my 30th birthday in Wanaka with them and 10 other hikers, awesome night. Even the chef at the burger joint we went to for dinner joined up and showed us Wanaka. 

We had a hard time getting out of Wanaka. Planned to do Roys peak one day and then continue on to the trail, but we got stuck on the lakefront playing volleyball and consuming the remains of my birthday gin. Not especially hiker hyped after that. So we went back to town for another night of dancing.

These weeks on trail gave us a couple of beautiful views of the Southern alps and other gorgeous mountains / glacier valleys.

 

Hiker imitating sign

Hiker imitating sign

The Dip

This post takes place between March 17th and March 24th

So far, my hike has been like a big romance with New Zealand, except maybe for the Tararuas. But every romance in history has a dip, just look at all the romcoms. My romance with NZ is no exception. After taking a break from hiking for 3 weeks in total, my aim was to go back on trail and crush the miles down to Bluff. I wasn't feeling 100% when I got back on trail but I thought I'd be able to crush it anyway. The first stretch was from Boyle village to Arthur's pass, 90 km. Took me 2,5 days, pretty crushy. Especially considering my fever, starting second night, and severe foot pain caused by my shoes. Got bruises on my outer right ankle bone. Got to the road and hitched into Arthur's pass with a small truck. Probably 25° in the truck, I had my rain jacket on and a dog in my lap. Still felt pretty cool. Got out of the truck and instantly started shivering. Got to the first hostel, put my hiking poles towards the table outside their office, realized they had no vacancy and continued to the next, where I fortunately got a bed. 

Stayed for 3 nights, couriered my bounce box to Greymouth (closest post office) to get my trail runners again. Hitching back from Greymouth I just reached Klondyke corner campsite, around 10 km from the trailhead. Left my poles at the first hostel and somebody decided that they were theirs. Got a pair for free from the DOC office in Arthur's pass that someone left. Very convenient for me, but the poles were not good. Bent them every day until I got new ones...

Klondyke campsite was infected with mice. Woke up at least every half hour by the sound of mice against my tent. Slept with my head torch wrapped around my hand to be able to light it immediately and scare away the mice. After a couple of hours i failed waking up in time and found the mouse inside my tent. It ate itself thru my ground sheet and my food bag to feed on my oats. That mouse is no more..

After another couple of days, hiking alone in not so amusing terrain I ended up at Lake Coleridge. A lot of private land around the lake and the only place allowed to camp were on a set up camp siteby one of the land owners. Spent the night on a bed of coarse gravel.

The next morning I realized I wasn't alone at the camp site, a couple of hikers had arrived after i got to bed. After Lake Coleridge there’s a natural interruption in the trail, the Rakaia river. Not usually fordable, so you’ll have to get around it in some way. 

I teamed up with the other hikers from the camp ground and we decided to hitch half way around the Rakaia river into the little village of Methven for resupply and a birthday party…

 

On the road again

Hiking Richmond and Nelson was amazing, but there are so many beautiful things to see in NZ, so instead of continuing on TA to walk on roads we went on a road trip, hired a car. Quite a change in traveling for me. First time to drive on the wrong side of the road. I managed to keep to the wrong side almost all the way!

On the road trip that lasted me for more than two weeks i saw:

Christchurch, where we started with good burgers and local craft beer.

Mount cook and Tasman glacier, big!

Tasman glacier, big

Tasman glacier, big

A lot of ice around mount cook

A lot of ice around mount cook

Queenstown, amazing ice cream and yoga by the beach

Glow worms in Te Anau

Dunedin, nothing much to see on a Tuesday haha

Glenorchy and Kinloch, yummy breakfast at the cafe

Pancakes, bananas, bacon, maple syrup, mascarpone cheese. More is more

Pancakes, bananas, bacon, maple syrup, mascarpone cheese. More is more

Keas and beauty on the Routeburn track

Kea flashing on the Routeburn track  

Kea flashing on the Routeburn track  

Waterfall on Routeburn track  

Waterfall on Routeburn track  

Milford sound, almost kayaking. Cancelled just as we got into the kayaks.

Milford sound, from boat

Milford sound, from boat

Cheese and wine and festival in Arrowtown / Gibbston Valley

Say cheese 

Say cheese 

Unsuccessful sunrise ascent of Ithmus peak in Wanaka (covered in clouds, slept in, ate brunch. So worth it)

After this massively overwhelming amount of activities I tried to go back to the trail from Christchurch. Aiming for mile crushing the last 800km or so..

Nelson Lakes NP in underpants and sunshine

straight after Richmond, we smashed on into Nelson lakes National park, February 19th to 23th. 

Richmond ranges ended in St Arnaud, a small touristy town between Richmond ranges and Nelson lakes NP. We arrived at lunch, burger and beer went down with no resistance. Rest, laundry and a pizza later, we set out for the magnificent Nelson lakes NP. Everybody says it's so beautiful, so the question was if it should prove to be as amazing as we've been told. Spoiler alert, yes..

Sunny with some clouds and no wind for four and a half day. Pretty epic! Richmond ranges was steep and exhausting. The two biggest climbs we did was Traverse saddle (1768m) and Waiau pass (almost 1900m). Worth it!

Going down Traverse saddle, staring at rock  and tussock

Going down Traverse saddle, staring at rock

and tussock

On the way to Waiau pass, we walked by the blue lake and Lake Constance. Blue lake contains (amongst) the clearest water in the world. Horizontal vision 70-80 meters. As clear as it can get!

Blue lake, pretty blue

Blue lake, pretty blue

Lake Constance was allowed to swim in so we set out to do that, twice. First boulder hopping down probably 500 meters to the shore, just to find that the track an hour later went down to the lakeside without needing to boulder hop. Might as well take another dip before climbing 800 vertical meters up to the pass.

Something braking the surface of Lake Constance  

Something braking the surface of Lake Constance  

Beauty is all around

Beauty is all around

After the pass we strodeled down to a river valley and decided to hike under the stars for a while. Beautiful stars in NZ! Milky Way is apparently very visible here. 

That day we also met Renee, a German hiker with a somewhat exaggerated safety thinking.

Arriving 10 minutes after dark to blue lake hut, he asked what happened to us, since no man would want to hike in the dark. "Zat iz not zafe".

We started late as usual and caught up to him after Waiau pass. He then tried to advice Samuel to take "ze zafer route up ze river bed". It was 1,5 meters high..

The day after our night hike he caught up to us after a 3 hour lunch containing yoga, napping and talking to the first swede i met on trail, he said to us: "how could you cross ze rivers in ze dark?! Zat iz not zafe!". I actually didn't understand him at first because when he got upset, his German accent got way worse and made it almost impossible to understand. Had to ask again.. The rivers were max ankle height and not swift at all. Saw an eel as well. Pretty happy we did that. Summary, safety in the backcountry is essential, but we all have our own limits. Renee became "Zafe" to us. Good trail name.

We also did our biggest day here, 39 km. Hurting feet and sore bodies. Samuel tucked himself into his sleeping bag and forgot to turn off his head torch. He was on the brink of crying so I turned it off for him before I went to bed. He slept with it on his head.

Worse hiking conditions do exist, 39k day

Worse hiking conditions do exist, 39k day

Tabel Asman, Richmond ranges and the good ol' fellas

This post starts February 6th and ends February 18th. 

The north island ended in Wellington. And I got company from Sweden for the start of the South Island. We were going to get some hut tickets for Samuel so that we could use the amazing hut system in the NZ backcountry. The guy selling us tickets at DOC asked us if we were good friends and wanted to keep being good friends. We answered yes. He said, "then seriously consider if you really want to try taking on the Richmond ranges if you want to stay good friends". I said that we'd probably be fine since we had done some off trail traversing together in Sweden and I had previously tried the big north island mountains. He ensured me this was different, without even been to Sweden or the Ruahines. We eventually got the hut tickets and Samuel got a little worried. Is it that hard? I didn't think it should be as hard as he described it, but probably steep and exhausting.

Our South Island experience however, started in Abel Tasman (sometimes referred to as Tabel Asman, which is some hilarious spoonerism) national park after a threefold midnight hitch from Picton to Nelson. The ferry arrives in Picton on the South Island and we were supposed to be picked up in Nelson the following morning. Spent the night at a field hockey field (please English, start calling it land hockey as we do in Sweden). Not did we figure that the sprinklers would go off at 4 o'clock in the morning, almost devastating Samuel's tent. Lucky for us, it only lasted about ten minutes before the sprinklers changed. Not that much sleep first night in the South Island.

Field hockey field sunrise

Field hockey field sunrise

Kayaking was beautiful and we saw some NZ fur seals basking on the cliffs. Cute as. One of the kayak guys was an original kiwi and probably said "ye ye ye" more times in one day than most kiwis do in an entire life time. Sounded like a car starter engine - ye ye ye ye wroom.

Happy kayakers  

Happy kayakers  

Even though Samuel is a drummer, he constantly wanted to increase paddling pace, making us exhausted at the end of the day. I might have been included in that when hyping our pace in the beginning. We were faster than all the other kayakers for the first five minutes, then we got drained...

Basking seal

Basking seal

Some low key canyoning

Some low key canyoning

Getting back to Nelson, all hostels were full so we got a cab to a camp ground close to the trail head. Yup a cab, cause of course we were late and would've missed the office open hours if we walked there. Turned out to be cheaper than a hostel even including the cab ride.

Walking in the Richmond ranges was steep, similar to Kawekas/Ruahines. A bit wider though, more layers of mountains. We got 50/50 sun/cloud. Nice for Samuel so he only got a little burned.

They did not feel dangerous and scary as the DOC guy explained them. They made you respectful and humble, but mountains usually have that effect on me anyway. Just wonderful surroundings and steep climbs. A couple of streams for skinny dipping as well. Got the most beautiful sunset (probably in my entire life) at the summit of Mount Rintoul. Surrounded by 270° of jagged mountains and a sky going from silver, to golden, to orange to pink to starry and dark. Insane. Other than that, no big events to describe so I think the pictures will have to speak for themselves.

Golden hour at Mt Rintoul... 

Golden hour at Mt Rintoul... 

Turning into the most... 

Turning into the most... 

Beautiful sunset.. 

Beautiful sunset.. 

I've ever experienced, probably  

I've ever experienced, probably  

Coda

Richmond ranges took us five days to finish and we had a blast. I think me and Samuel are closer friends after the Richmonds than before, proving the DOC guy wrong. So wrong I sent DOC Wellington an email saying that we were fine, that I appreciated his concern when trying to talk us out of it but that we didn't regret Richmonds for a second and that we are bester friends now.

Sums it all up pretty well.

Good ol' fellas

Good ol' fellas

Changes

This post has no chronologic order amongst other posts. Just reflections over time.  

Hiking is a constant change. You go through forests, mountains, farmlands, suburbs, bogs, cities, plains and more. You walk on dirt, gravel, tarmac, skree, tussocks and sand. In rivers, rain, mist, gales, swamps, mud and dog poo.

You meet loads upon loads of amazing people, some will follow you for a while and some will just be greeted with a smile of common understanding or mutual interest. The people you meet will want to share a coffee to further share stories. They will think you're crazy for walking the whole country, say that they are amazed by the effort, complain about the mud on the trail or share poo stories.

Like the one where I one morning went into the forest to do my business and got accompanied by a morepork owl. He stared at me and I replied by doing the same, for another five minutes or so. Just curiosly inspecting each other, he looked kind of surprised when I covered up the hole. Way too much effort according to him.

Some of the people will rejoin your tracks, after a short time or a long. Happy reunions or indifferent.

People or places that pass your path will sometimes leave memories you carry for the rest of your life and some will just fade away instantly.

Your body will adapt to the efforts you put it through. If you hike up hill your calfs will burn, but they will also grow and carry you higher the next time. If you walk in thin soles shoes, your feet will get tough and you will no longer have a problem to walk barefooted.

Your brain will go through happy times and sad. It will be calm as it never been before but sometimes focused to 100% to avoid the wrong step taking you 100 vertical meters down in seconds. You will be rested and full up, you will be exhausted and as ravenously hungry as you've never been in town, because you can just grab a burger at the corner. You'll wake up to a rainy morning only to find the clouds fading away into blue skies. You will walk in the moment and be one with nature, just to kick a rock and get thrown out in real life. You'll think of the annoying gear you want to change when a fantail catches a sandfly a meter in front of you and get mesmerized.

You just have to accept the fact that things will always change. When the fact is accepted, at least I experience that change is more often better than bad. That feels good.  

Sunset, a lot of changes going on. Light, colors, temperature, mood, humidity and senses amongst others.  

Sunset, a lot of changes going on. Light, colors, temperature, mood, humidity and senses amongst others.  

Tararuas, Maori for rain, mud and mist..?

Aotearoa is the Māori name for NZ and means "the long white cloud". I think Tararua is Maori for shitty weather. Nuff said bout that, mud diving in the Tararuas occurred between Jan 25th and feb 2nd. 

So after chilling in Palmy for a couple of days we decided to get back on the TA and walk out of the city. It ended up being a day and a half on the road again. We walked into the rain and the mist. We didn't leave the rain and the mist until we emerged west of the Tararuas into Waikanae. The original plan was to do all the main range, while TA only goes through a little bit of the above tree line part. But weather once again forced us down..

Mud and mist all the time is not my favorite. I can handle boulder hopping, sand, skree and and rivers/streams. But mud just sucks all life lust out of you. Even the tracks around the mud pools were muddy. And all along the smell of a forest in decay filled the nostrils.

I did not enjoy the Tararuas as I did with the previous mountain ranges. The weather and the mud was the main reason for that. I guess the hiking is beautiful when the mountains aren't covered in clouds and my description of these mountain are colored as the clouds, grey..

Tararuas were so misty that my beard got soaked by the mist. No rain that day. Guess it wasn't really needed.. 

Mudollage 1

Mudollage 1

Mudollage 2

Mudollage 2

The rugged ridgeline of Roaring Ruahines

We hiked the Ruahines between Jan 13th and 21st. Got out on the TA again Jan 24th. 

Have you ever heard of the infamous roaring forties? It's the latitudes between 40 and 50 in the Southern Hemisphere, known for their fierce winds and weather. So, New Zealand lies just across the roaring forties and there's nothing but mountains in the way of the winds coming in from the Tasman sea. Guess what happens when the winds hit the mountains? Yeah, the winds are forced straight up and increasing in strength. Where they're strongest? Oh yeah, in the saddles between the peaks. Thus, the saddles are most prone to erosion and becomes the thinnest connecting parts of the ridgeline, which you need to walk if you're in the Ruahines. Because there is no other way to get from north to south except for the ridgeline. Everything else is to steep and impossible to traverse. Need less to say that the thin ridgelines was kind of humbling in the storm force gales we encountered every day of our attempt to traverse these mountains.

Beautiful, but take a look at the tussocks pressed horizontal by the wind

Beautiful, but take a look at the tussocks pressed horizontal by the wind

The winds forced us to hunker down in huts for three and a half day in total, and at day seven we got 3°, rain and clouds on the peaks we were going to traverse off trail, increasing winds. Also I only had one day of food left. We decided to turn back to a big and beautifully located hut called sunrise hut. The weather forecast told us that the next morning were supposed to be fine so we decided to wake up to see the sunrise. After all, sunrise hut should've earned its name right?

This is what we got:

Totally  

Totally  

Amazing

Amazing

Sunrise

Sunrise

We also met a super cool couple from Palmerston North who invited us to their home the following day. We felt done with the Ruahines at this point so the offer to stay was accepted with gratitude and relief. Anthony and Fiona were sorting out their logistics for a northbound alternative to the TA, pretty much what we did. Super cool! They were also founders of the Ruahine Whio Protectors so they knew the Ruahines well. Trapping for possum, stout and other rodents eating whio eggs. Whio is a native NZ duck that only exists in a few hundred individuals near white water streams.

Whio and Whin - trailnames

Whio and Whin - trailnames

We stayed four days at Anthony and Fiona's, Super relaxing. They liked inviting hikers to their home so to prove our stay we carved in some initials in their porch table!

Carverskillz  

Carverskillz  

Despite USOG, BTT, BD and VM

This post takes place between January 5th and January 11th. 

After the diverse mordor experience we hitched in to Taupo for resupply and a zero day. Felt nice to cook some proper food and play with Biggie, the hostel bulldog. During my New Zealand stay I've truly improved my egg cooking skills. We usually scramble a dozen eggs, fry an onion and some fresh lettuce for breakfast. Grade some matured cheddar over the eggs and you have a killer breakfast. Almost always we also split 750 grams of plain yogurt and mix in some fresh fruit. Need less to say, I'm enjoying town breakfast!

Biggie! 

Biggie! 

We hitched to Kiko Road next day - the start of our Kaimawana/Kaweka hike. A bit over 100 km through river valleys, over tree line, in gorges and among beautiful trees in the forests.

Got a ride all the way to the trail head, it's surely relieving for the feet to not hike road sections. Roads hurt...

First day were supposed to be an easy half day through some native forest sections and a couple of km above tree line. Aiming for Cascade hut, we headed out around 16:00 with an estimated four hour hike in front of us. Usually this would probably be a four hour hike but since last September provided the mountains with the heaviest snowstorms in years, a huge number of trees were blown down over the trails. The hike ended at 22:30, last 45 minutes in pitch black steep downhill with blowdowns everywhere. Hard to find the trail around in the dense bush. Hence BD, blowdowns.

Next day we turned off trail down into a river valley to save ourselves from a couple of hundred vertical meters. Going off trail thru the river valley the legs got scraped by all the under story overgrowth, hence USOG. We also met a hunter couple who gave us some fresh venison filet. Carried it to tenderize for two days. Best trail dinner of my life...

Proper trail dinner

Proper trail dinner

After camping in the river valley we headed up in hills ruled by tussocks, really big tussocks. So big that they peaked in under my skirt and tickled the Crown Jewels. Hence BTT, ball tickling tussocks.

Tussocks are beautiful, and they'll reach inside your skirt... 

Tussocks are beautiful, and they'll reach inside your skirt... 

Last days we ventured from the river valleys up into high country, around 1724m. Up and down and up and down and up and yeah you get it. Accumulating a shitload of vertical meters. Hence VM.

Despite some pretty hard days the Kawekas proved to be the prettiest mountains so far. Although pretty close to civilization they felt very remote. We met only the hunter couple in three days. Beautiful weather on the peaks, but battered by gales at times. Totally enjoyable!

No caption gives this justice  

No caption gives this justice  

Moredor

This officially my first post of NZ experiences in 2017, stretching until January 5th.

So, continuing from Whakapapa around Mt Ruapeho, which also was used as scenery of Mordor with its black and jagged rocks, gave us the opportunity to experience seven wonders and an equal amount of weather conditions in half as many days. Now do that math..
Anyway, first day gave us drizzling rain and mist amongst bogs, lichen, conifer trees and rolling hills. I would imagine that this is roughly how Scotland looks like. Amazing day. 

Lichens eating pole. Quite damp place

Lichens eating pole. Quite damp place


Slept in a crammed hut that night, met some northbounding TA hikers from Texas, also doing the round the mountain track. 
Second day started as a misty and wet one, but around noon the mist lifted like when you take the lid of a pot of boiling water and the mountain we walked around appeared in all its glory. We walked this day in an gorgeous landscape that reminded me of Sweden, with snowmelt waterfalls and steep black cliffy ravines. Met a yoga teacher at our lunch stop and had yoga for dessert. Tasted sweet for a stiff hiker body. Skinny dipped in a meltwater waterfall, maximizing the shrinkage. 

Mt Ruapeho

Mt Ruapeho

Third day we entered the desert. And deserts are supposed to be hot and dry, right? The Rangipo desert is usually dry, but not so hot. On this day not so dry either. We entered a rain storm, probably my first one ever, definitely in a desert.. Cool and humbling experience. Half my pack was soaked since the pack cover was blown aside, even though it was strapped thoroughly onto my pack. At one point I needed to stop behind a rock because the wind belted rain in my face so hard that it was impossible to see or breath. Taking a couple of blind steps at the time through that spot was the only way forward. Ended in Rangipo hut, after a staggering 9km, with the Texans and a good warm fire used to to dry out gear and regain the recognition of extremities. 
The Orch army scenes outside of the gates of Mordor is recorded in Rangipo desert, quite fitting place for those recordings on a non stormy day.
Next morning all the clouds were gone and we experienced an amazing sunset. This was actually closer to a 'desert day', surprisingly dry after yesterday's rainstorm but still pretty cool, estimated 11-13°. 

Sunrise desert

Sunrise desert

Barren landscape with the black and white beauty Ruapeho to the left and the spread out sand'n'skree landscape to the right, only interrupted by some stunted shrubs and eventually the Kaimanawa ranges in the far distance. Shear beauty. 
I ended my desert experience with a cool dip close to the Ohinepango springs. Estimated below 10°, shock may be visible on picture below..

Refreshspring

Refreshspring

Cast it into the fire!

Following post kind of explains itself as it's taking place on new years eve and new years day of 2016/2017. A lot to write about this so i need to split my Tongariro visit in a couple of posts, more to come.

The last day of 2016 we entered "Lord of the rings" country - Tongariro National park, where Mt Ruapeho and Mt Ngauruhoe is located. Ngauruhoe acted as Mt doom in the "Lord of the rings" movies. Our aim was to do almost the entire Round the mountain track counter clockwise and Tongariro alpine crossing, part of the great walk in Tongariro. Roughly 90 km in total. 
The alpine crossing is usually done by 1500-3000 people a day, which is a bit much if you're a hiker used to have the mountains for yourself. Lucky for us, other people like to spend New Years in town, celebrating with family and friends and not in a tent on a trail close to a mountain in firework shadow. A shadow only if the mountain itself is not erupting since it's an active volcano, but then it would probably be the last fireworks of your life. But man such Fireworks. Anyway, we met a couple of hundred people going down from the cool area on top where all the funky stuff are, from now on called the funky plateau. Once we got above the saddle to see the beauty, we shared it with two American girls who only went to emerald lake and then returned.

Emerald lake  

Emerald lake  

That was pretty awesome to be honest. We rounded up 2016 in the somewhat unique way of being the last humans of this year to summit Mt Tongariro, 1974 meters above sea level.

Magnus Monroe at the top of Mt Tongariro  

Magnus Monroe at the top of Mt Tongariro  

The alpine crossing was absolutely spectacular and unique in its volcanic nature. As the clouds rolled in and winds increased, we decided to get of the funky plateau to find shelter below. We me a couple of crazy Russians (who were going to sleep on the funky plateau but bailed later), a beautiful sunset and some rangers who probably wondered if we were sane to be up there that late.

Mordor sunset

Mordor sunset

I celebrated New Years by eating a cheese and salami tortilla in my sleeping bag, forgot the chips though. Bummer. 
First day of 2017 didn't start in an awesome way since we slept little, got rained on and was kind of cold. When we reached the small and sleepy village of Whakapapa we decided to wait out the rain with a hotel breakfast. After all, it's only one first breakfast of every year...

Wh in Maori is pronounced F, making Whakapapa a funny name for everybody with some imagination. 

After all, it's only one first selfie of every year

After all, it's only one first selfie of every year

Five hitch day

New years eve is greeted with two posts! This is the first one, explaining how we got to Middle earth hell.

After a bad nights sleep in the outskirts of Tauranga we started a long hitch towards Tongariro and Mt Ruapeho. In half a day we managed to get five hitches, totally different people with one thing in common, kindness. 
The founder
of a company called circuband. Cool thing, check it out. He was going to Vegas after New Years to promote his gadget! Took us out of Tauranga to a gas station where we met
The Hip hopper
Who thought we were stupid to walk through NZ. He preferred laying on the couch or rap when he was free. He still bought us breakfast and drove us 40 minutes away from his original destination (Hamilton where he should pick up some friends, but he said that they would need to wait for him to get to Tauranga anyway so why don't take a tiki tour?), past Hobbiton ending up by the corrugated iron dog in Tirau. Really strange thing. 

Wtf? 

Wtf? 

The artist
Came by 20 minutes later. She were writing songs on her left handed guitar that I held in the back seat of her Toyota starlet from the 80's. she was so compassionate and one of the most understanding hitches I've got so far. She took us to a McDonald's in Tokorao where we paused our hitching for an ice cream. 
The Judge
From South Africa picked us up from Tokorao. She moved to NZ because she wanted to stay in the same country as her children. She wasn't silent for a minute before she dropped us of on a gas station outside of Taupo, just before the
The nameless Buddhist
And his Latina girlfriend drove by, they were heading for The northern terminus of Tongariro alpine crossing, where we should start our upcoming hike. After that, they should attend a ten day meditation class. Sounded scary! 

 

Krazy Kaimai

The Kaimai adventure started on boxing day, continuing on to December 30th.

After leaving Laurie and his wife, we tramped through Karangahake gorge, a place where the first white men of New Zealand logged Kauri trees. They were quite engineering and innovative and all the signs told us about the old loggers were really emphasizing that, and not the fact that they destroyed the forests and almost extinct one of the biggest trees on earth. But it sure made a cool trail.

Old railway trail = Trailway?

Old railway trail = Trailway?

The Kaimai was definitely the steepest so far, a lot of ups and downs, mainly landscape wise though. We were in a good mood otherwise. The third morning, Jonah decided to leave our tramily (trail family) to go arrange with his pack raft and prepare to meet up with a girl he was really in to. I think that was the best for him since he wasn't really in to hiking the last days. His mind was drifting away. That left the two hikers Magnus and Sarah to finish the Kaimais and the rest of the bad ass thruhiker trail of the north island. 
Said and done. Jonah got off just before the going got really tough. We did one 28 km day in 10 hours, but I was completely exhausted afterwords. Probably the hardest hiking day in my life togther with the 90 mile beach 40 km day.

Steep cliffs next to the trail

Steep cliffs next to the trail

But we got rewarded with some great views and a campsite with a 4/5 skinny dipping pool. And man did it feel good to rinse off after this day full of overgrown, muddy and steep as tracks. 
After this adventurous day, the Kaimais smoothened out a bit and the bush tramping wasn't as exciting. The weather was cloudy and cold. Even when hiking I needed to put on my long sleeved shirt. Probably below 10°. 
We tried to watch the Wairere falls but failed due to the hard winds blowing the water straight back up in our faces. Saw nothing and got soaked. Not the best way to experience a water fall from above, but definitely a new experience. A waterfail? The Kaimais treated us well over all and my calfs grew a size due to all the vertical meters. After the Kaimais we got a hitch into Tauranga. I got new shoes, so well needed! I went to a macpac and bought new socks and to Steves to get a tea sieve for my coffee - great success! We also hung out at McDonald's all day to try and get our chores done. Next goal, Round the mountain track in Mordor!

Laurie

Following post is a Boxing day short story of the kiwi kindness we constantly stumble across.

So after chilling a couple of days in Whitianga on the Coromandel peninsula we headed of for Kaimai ranges, staring in Karangahake gorge. Hitching there from Whitianga is quite a distance so we didn't expect to get there immediately. Got quite quick two first hitches with an Italian guy who hated society and a landowning entrepreneur who loved society. Bigger difference is hard to Imagine. We got dropped of in Whangamata, got an ice cream and a steak and cheese pie at the corner store. After a while an older Subaru stopped by and out hopped Laurie together his wife. They were going to get some snacks at the corner store and then go get a pack of smokes in a town near Karangahake. Cigarettes are super expensive in NZ so you need to choose where to buy them apparently. Laurie asked us if we wanted a ride because we looked like hitchers. Laurie was 37, combined a Mohawk with the fastest glasses I've seen and listened to 90's hip hop in his 2005 Subaru. To save the seats from getting dirty he put leopard pattern fleece blankets in the back. Drove like a mad man and was also blessed with the widest kiwi accent so far, understood half of what he said. Instead of just going for a pack of cigarettes and drop us if in Karangahake, he thought we deserved a sightseeing in the area since he was native to this place. And who are we to say no.. We started at a cool beach with a stream exiting the sea, at some times when the dunes of the beach was low enough. Right now it was a brackish and heated pool. A lot of orcas usually patrol the beaches for seals and sting rays. After that we went for a beautiful waterfall and took a dip. On the way up this amateur photographer from Australia named Jen wanted to take a couple of photos with humans together with the waterfall, so I volunteered as a model. 

Waterfall model

Waterfall model


After drying out a bit we continued through a small old mining town but decided that the old mine wasn't worth the effort. Laurie suddenly felt the urge for cliff jumping and asked us if we wanted to join. We joined in and went for the cliff jumps, probably around 8 meters into the warm river, sweet as. Instead of continuing on to the intended start, Laurie recommended us to take a route through Karangahake gorge instead of up a small road to get us into the mountains faster. Said and done, this became the end of sightseeing with Laurie and his wife. Hope they got their pack of smokes!

Happy Hunua and a Coromandel Christmas

 Since I'm a bit behind blogging, I feel the need to place the posts in time. This post covers December 18th until December 26th. Right now I'm in Napier after the Kawekas. Slowly catching up..

Hunua ranges is a small mountain range south of Auckland. It's fairly rugged with a lot of native bush. We spent three days there, doing roughly 60 km. The days have been slow ever since, probably because we've created our own route and no longer feel the urge to crush miles, achieve glory and generate likes. Doing so is apparently a big part of the American thru hiker community. I somewhat get it because you need to keep on pushing yourself to do the miles if you shall have a chance of finishing the American trails. The season is short and the trails are long. Te Araroa is not as long and the recommended season lasts from October to April. Even if I get it, I really don't support it. I'm in it for the experience rather than the glory. And the experience of going slow and doing yoga three times a day is truly a calming and beautiful way to soak in the country. 

Hiker trash yogis  

Hiker trash yogis  

First hiking day ended in a shelter after 18 km, at 16:15 after passing a cool Kauri grove and a lot of tourists. An hour of yoga and then dinner. I went to bed at 20:00, needed sleep. Second day was not a sunny day. It started pouring around 10 o'clock and didn't stop until sunset. Muddy trails and a lot of technical vertical meters made us exhausted and we stopped for lunch at piggotts Hut. At a couple of high spots before the hut you could actually see through the clouds down on the lakes made by dams in the area. Piggotts hut was perfect to wait out the rain under the porch roof. Long lunch, a lot of yoga and some tent stake rhythm exercises later, we decided to stay the night at the porch, since the hut smelled mold. The porch perfectly fitted the three of us for 'cowboy camping'.

The evening gave us a beautiful sunset and a double rainbow after the heavy rain. After all a good day, even if the hiking wasn't especially rewarding. We also saw the Kokako, a rare (3000 individuals alive) and native NZ bird. That was kind of cool!

Sunset in the Hunuas  

Sunset in the Hunuas  

I actually don't remember the hiking in Hunua on the third day as anything special at all. The absolute highlight on this hot and sunny day was the afternoon stream dip! I think we stayed an hour just enjoying the flowing fresh water in combination with lee and sun!

We camped around a shit smelling shelter for the night, with a couple of km to the exit road. The nose gets used to bad smell when you're hiking hard in the heat.. So the bad smell around the shelter was quickly absorbed by your own smell..

Played around with my tarp to find some useful setups. The tarp has grown on me so far. I'm getting faster at pitching and usually there's good ground for staking it taut.

Fourth morning we descended into farmland and made it out to the road. On our way out we saw some sulphur crested parakeets (parrots from Australia) but they sounded more like 'vildvittror' from the Swedish fairytale 'Ronja rövardotter'. Link below. 

https://youtu.be/66l9LRUFXAg

We actually thought we would make to a small town called Miranda, for some shelter and bird spotting. But it was too much road walking and the sun burned hard on this day so we decided to try and hitch to the city of Thames instead. We apparently hit a bad hitching spot at first because we were standing in the sun for almost two hours before Joel, the kiwi I met on 90 mile beach, came along. That was quite convenient since he also was doing his own NZ route. We stopped the hitching for a moment and had a great chat, some guitar playing and a couple of oranges we got from a lady in a house on the other side of the road. We exchanged contact info with Joel for some future route sharing. Actually, he is the one who's sharing and we're just kindly accepting his help. But hopefully we'll be able to return the favor on the South Island if we stumble across some great trails there!

We changed our hitching place after chatting with Joel and all of a sudden, the Orca guy came along, giving us a ride to the nearest pub. He and his crew were done for Christmas holiday and wanted to celebrate with a beer. He bought us a couple of beers and we had a good chat, then he decided we were so nice that he wanted to take us to Thames, 45 minutes in the wrong direction for him. He was a diver, doing construction work below the surface. A long time ago, before he started diving professionally, he had been in close contact with orcas below the surface. A mother and a calf, looking at him and his friend almost within touching distance. He was so overwhelmed when he spoke about it. Obviously the most humbling experience of his life. Need not to tell that he was a very kind man.

After he dropped us of in Thames, we charged our devices and used McDonald's free wifi for an hour or so, and then resupplied at pak'n'save before we headed out to Coromandel ranges.

Coromandel started, as every mountain range, with a steep climb from sea level up to roughly 500 meters. We started late and decided to cowboy camp on the trail, a small ledge with gorgeous views.

Coromandel speaks for itself

Coromandel speaks for itself

Next morning we headed of early to get going before the rain, that never came. At least not until lunch. Hiking was calming in the Coromandel ranges. No hard winds, sun and clouds in a lagom mix. We headed on to Crosbies Hut where we stayed for lunch, and along came the rain. We thought we should wait out the rain in the hut and went for a 'nap'. Two and a half hours later I woke up and the rain was still highly present. Two more hikers had arrived and I didn't even notice. Of course we followed the newly undertaken slacker style and stayed the night after this humongous 13 km day.. But we did yoga, calisthenics and played guitar!

The pinnacles was third days' target. The aim was to reach the pinnacles via moss creek track. The trail junction sign said Fuck moss creek track. People wasn't to happy about it.. we decided to try anyway. At a side trip from moss creek track to see a cool ravine, Jonah stepped into a wasps nest at the same minute as Sarah fell into the river. Too much bad luck in one minute to continue moss creek track. We went back to the trail junction and straight to The pinnacles hut where I of course managed to tell the hut warden that we stayed in Crosbies hut without paying (hut passes wasn't valid) and ended up paying an extra $45. We all do our mistakes I guess..

Part of the pinnacles  

Part of the pinnacles  

We put up our tents, had a massive dinner and finished of the day by doing the pinnacles. Top 3 in beautiful places of 2016 (Yosemite and Rapadalen was the two others). We ascended in gale force winds but it really didn't matter in all the beauty.

After a good nights sleep we took a road less traveled down to the small town of Coroglen and hitched into Whitianga for celebrating Christmas! We stayed at 'At the beach hostel' for two nights, celebrated Christmas by taking a swim in the ocean and doing a grand Cajun style BBQ.

Coromerry Christmas  

Coromerry Christmas  

Denis and the bad ass thruhikers

 This post takes place between December 15th and 18th. 

After leaving Annie in the Queens wharf, we headed for Bucklands beach to meet up with Denis, a true trail angel that hosted Nuthatch when she arrived in Auckland. He has done a lot of traveling and hiking himself and he is super keen on helping other hikers. We stayed at Denis' house for three nights. First day we tried to run as many errands as possible, like getting DOC hut passes and resupplying for our upcoming hike. We also decided to cook to show our appreciation for letting us stay in their house. The next day we did a (short) part of the Hillary track in the Waitakere ranges west of Auckland. This was our first hike of the TA and we were filled with the hyped feeling of rebellion against this big association called the Te Araroa Trust. Our way to rebel against them was to hike our own trails from now on. But we sure felt punk! And a bit bad ass, choosing to conquer the most rugged mountains on the north island (with mostly public access, the eastern ranges are mostly Maori land and requires permit unfortunately). Or actually, you'll never conquer a mountain range, you'll just be lucky enough to pass it alive possibly filled with good memories.

Our aim was to start at Huia and end up around Piha beach. Roughly 30 km with day packs would be a fairly easy thing to do. And Denis drove us 45 minutes to Huia, a bit to kind!!

We started of going too far and spent half an hour getting back on track, with cows bluff charging us amongst other things. Waitakere was beautiful and rugged and we stopped like every 15 minutes to inhale the beauty.

Waitakere reveals its beauty.  

Waitakere reveals its beauty.  

We eventually reached Whatipu in the south west corner of Waitakere, 13 km done. Stopped there for lunch and yoga. And cave exploration, bird watching, black sand beaching and some more yoga and all of a sudden, the clock was pick up time. In other words, a splurge day. But Whatipu was awesome and we really enjoyed it. I guess that's what matters at the end of the day. Denis also picked us up and brought cold beer. Although he mentioned that we probably didn't deserve it as much as we were supposed to...

Black sand beaches of Waitakere  

Black sand beaches of Waitakere  

The third morning we left for the Hunua ranges, well fed and full of energy for our upcoming adventure of non road walking. Don't need to tell that Denis drove us there, an hour at 06:30 in the morning..

Happy, spoiled and well fed hikers, ready for some punk as adventures. 

Happy, spoiled and well fed hikers, ready for some punk as adventures. 

I still keep getting surprised and astounded by the kindness amongst the kiwis. It's hard to describe it, but it makes me feel so welcome and that gratifies me. I guess I'll try to pay it forward as much as I can while I'm here and also when I get home...

Te Aranoa

This is the second of a couple of new posts, read "Te Araroada" first for optimum flow!

I arrived in Ngunguru a couple of minutes before 15:00 and found the Americans sitting in the alley next to the local corner shop, as proper hiker trash (trail term for hikers in town, smelly, dirty and constantly looking for free wifi / power outlets for charging devices. Often found in odd shady places). When writing this I'm at a McDonald's, eating my third ice cream in three hours, using their unlimited wifi and charging my power pack....

We met up with Ian the South African and his wife. The borrowed sea kayaks from a guy on the north shore of Ngunguru inlet, taking us to the south beach. From there we were supposed to walk along the coast down to Whangarei heads. We were four persons and two packs on two sea kayaks the first round. The winds were hard to manage since the rudder was mainly in the air due to Nuthatch sitting in the front weighing down the kayak.

Eventually made it over roughly 500 meters of windy inlet full of currents, soaking wet and laughing hard all the way. Jonah spotted a sting ray just below our kayak just before the South beach. Cool!

When Nuthatch and Ian went back to get my pack and leave the other kayak on the northern beach, we stumbled across James. He owned the property we were about to cross in order to continue on a gravel road towards Whangarei. He started arguing about us being on his property and was remarkably upset by the fact that we didn't get his $10 boat ride over the inlet. The trail notes didn't say anything about the monopoly he claimed on this river crossing. We didn't have cash so James drove his boat out to the kayak, chewed out the kayak owner and then dragged Nuthatch into his boat, almost capsizing the kayak. He made us pay the money for crossing his property. As soon as the money was paid, he flipped and became the nicest person offering us bananas and water. Really strange behavior and the first rotten kiwi egg I met so far. They are very rare. This left a bitter taste and the Americans were really surprised of this kind of monopoly costing hikers money. $10 is not much at all, but if there's fees like that almost every day, it sums up big in the end. We hiked another 10 km of gravel road until camp. Next morning we went the last 3 km of gravel road and then hit paved road again, this time for 35km straight. More paved road combined with the strange experience the day before made us get a hitch into Whangarei to sort out how much roads we were to endure on the north island, and what our other possibilities were.

We got a hitch with Jen, a thick skinned but super kind lady who bought us coffee and listened closely to our experiences along the trail.

After that we set out to find information about hiking on the north island, but in the bush instead of the roads...

It took us one day to gather information and another to sort some trails out.

We stayed at an amazing hostel in Whangarei, called "the cell block". Most friendly hostel owner I've met. If you ever want to stay on a hostel in Whangarei, stay there.

We basically looked for the biggest patches of unbroken forest and mapped trails there. I checked the amount of road walking on the north island and counted 780 km including gravel roads and bush tracks shorter than 15 km.

IMG_3037.JPG

We mapped trails in Waitakere, Hunua, Coromandel, Kaimai, Tongariro NP, Kaimanawa, Kaweka, Ruahine and Tararua ranges. All mountains with forest or above tree line trails. Not really covering the 780 km but far more exciting and rough.

After mapping we set out to check out glow worm caves in Whangarei. Awesome connecting cave systems to with sometimes waist deep water, army crawling narrow passages, stalactites, fresh water eels and of course glow worms.

After we were done with the caves, yoga and some barefoot bouldering, we met Annie. She was from the same town as Jonah and they apparently shared some friends. Annie should drive down to Auckland the next day and we could get a ride with her if we arranged her campervan back to back seat configuration. Said and done, we fixed her car after some arrangements and headed to Auckland, with a lot of coffee and candy in the car.

When almost at the location, Annie should do a U-turn and missed the pavement. Boom, flat tyre...

Luckily she had a spare tyre and we changed it for her while she called the closest tyre changer around. They came out to fill up the spare tyre and we went to change her flat tyre. In ten minutes she had a new tyre and we got free coffee vouchers for visiting the tyre changer so we went for some lunch and coffee together. After that she left us at the Queens wharf for us to get the ferry to Denis...

Te Araroada

First of all, long since blogging.  Not feeling super about that but other things also take time... More posts to come shortly, this post starts December 8th and ends December 10th. 

Alright, so after doing the super nice rain forests ending up in Kerikeri I was suppose to continue through Bay of islands and eventually end up in Whangarei. One day walk through replanted forest and roads took me to bay of islands where I stayed the night on the hostel and had a couple of beers with the people in our room called the 'chalet'. Super nice people and a relaxing night. Next day I headed out for whananaki and eventually a place called ngunguru. Didn't reach Whananaki the first night, so I took right off TA down to Oakura, to the stay at a campsite stated on the map. But when I arrived to the campsite it was obviously not a public campground anymore. So I asked the lady in a house next to the former campground, where the nearest unabandoned campsite was located. Instead of telling me she convinced me (not really hard to do) to come upstairs and have dinner with her and her husband, since they just were about to eat. I ended up getting I shower, a cold beer and a nice dinner including dessert with this super nice people, called Sel and Janine. We stayed up until midnight chatting about everything. Instead of pitching my tent as I intended, they let me sleep in the basement, which hopefully will be a B&B not to far away in time. After they made me breakfast I ended up on the TA again, 5 km down the road. Since Janine certainly didn't think the first stretch of road was walkable, she gave me a ride. Can't really find words for the hospitality of these people, so amazingly kind and generous. If the B&B opens up, everyone traveling northland should stay there! Wish them all the best!!!

After starting the roadwalk once again, I took a wrong turn and missed Helena Bay. Smashed 6 km and 200 m elevation in an hour before I realized my mistake. Fortunately I ended up in Helena Bay Hills Cafe and had a Lasagne together with an amazing view of Helena Bay. I also missed the shower that went by over my hour of sheltered lunch. I got offered a ride back by a couple who lived in Helena Bay. They took me to a turn off point on the gravel road after Helena Bay. Amazing view. Once again, the Kiwis (New Zealanders) are probably the kindest people I've met. Conclusion: wrong turns are not always a bad thing!

Helena Bay Hills Cafe

Helena Bay Hills Cafe

After getting in to the forest again, I hit The Morepork track that took me to whananaki. It was mainly a hard clay track in replanted forest. The increasing rain made the clay extremely slippery and the progress painfully slow. No good views and I ended up walking through a bull pasture, totally convinced the would eat me alive. But they were actually hiding from the rain in the far end of the pasture and I escaped alive!

Some more farmland and road walking before I ended up in Whananaki holiday park. Met a couple of cool guys originally from South Africa but NZ residents since 10 years. They offered me beer and some leftover homemade pizza. We listened to ABBA and Räserbajs, sweet combo. They mentioned that they met a couple of American hikers an hour ago, and I identified them as Nuthatch and Jonah, which I met before. The South Africans had offered the Americans a ride over the Ngunguru Inlet on sea Kayaks the next day at 15:00. Of course I wanted to catch up and smashed the remaining 25 km of trails and gravel roads in 6 hours following day...

Sunset in Whananaki holiday park  

Sunset in Whananaki holiday park  

Welcowm to the jungle

The 8th of dec I was sitting in Kerikeri - Northland east coast - sipping a cold pale ale on the last hours of my first 'zero day', meaning rest day in thruhiker language.  

After the painful 90 mile beach, I took half a day off, but felt like there was no problem to continue after that half day. Some foot massage and yoga and I was all set to go. After 2 hours of road walking out from Ahipara the trail takes you in to Herekino forest, followed by some road walking, Raetea forest, some road walking, omahuta/puketi forest and some farmland/road walking before reaching Kerikeri. In total 4,5 days. 

We all heard rumors about the muddy rain forests, but no rain in a week should make it fairly okay, right?

Dry rain forest floor, perhaps 50/50 dry/mud

Dry rain forest floor, perhaps 50/50 dry/mud

The first two forests, Herekino and Raetea, both proved to be muddier then I thought possible after a week without rain. But over all the mud was manageable and usually there was a way around it. But I would not want to be there in wet conditions. Even when dry, some parts were sloow, roughly 1,5km/h and then I really tried hard to haul ass and my pulse was about 140bpm after one minute of rest. A lot of elevation and tricky obstacles to tackle. Far worse than any OCR I would guess... But so much more beautiful and less harmful than the beach! Max pulse is totally better than painful feet.

Herekino showed me the most beautiful place for a break this far. A little stream with a lush green canopy and the sunshine just barely making it through. 

Herekino stream break

Herekino stream break

Raetea was cold at night, but it was nice and soul warming to share camp with a Belgian, a Taiwanese and an American that night. The American guy, Jonah, brought a guitar and played some sunset jazz/blues. Apparently this was his sixth thruhike, so he was pretty fast even though carrying a guitar. Kept up with him for 1,5 days and did the puketi forest partly together. Really nice guy with big ambitions. The puketi forest included some walking in the stream, incredible!

Skirty stream walker

Skirty stream walker

Of course we got heavy rain when in the stream. No problem since we were getting wet anyway, except for the fact that the stream is sometimes subject to flash floods in heavy rain. A bit worrying at first but the rain reduced and focus switched to the beauty of this place. 

Panoramic beauty

Panoramic beauty

After pushing a 37km day in rainforest and forest roads I was quite sore and eager to reach Kerikeri for my zero day.  

The last part before Kerikeri was mostly farmland walking. Nice with some open landscapes and approaching ocean. The trail takes you through some stiles with grazing sheep and cows. The sheeps are totally fine since they run away as you approach, even though you try to take the long way around them. But the cows are tricky. I was a bit anxious when entering the stile with cows. They were a bit too close when I entered but I thought "I take it easy and try to make my way around them, what's the worst possible outcome?"

It turned out that the cows felt threatened by my trekking poles that accidentally clashed together at one point so they ran of to regroup and started a "counter attack"  towards me. 50 running cows are intimidating I tell you that! So I started running away from them, then stopped and looked back. The cow had stopped, but when they saw I also stopped they started to run towards me again. I tried to stand my ground smashing my poles together and be loud, but no success. Surrender was the only option and I started sprinting towards the nearest gate and exited as fast as I could. The cowgressive creatures made me take a 2 km detour.

Next stile were full of young bulls laying in the entering corner. I took the way around, but they followed me along the fence looking like they would want to eat me. I've now gained a great respect for cows in a heards..

A lot of bullshit
A lot of bullshit

Last part into Kerikeri was routed along the Kerikeri river, past rainbow falls. Pretty ending to a cool, sweaty, muddy, fresh, beautiful and threatening stretch of trail. 

Rainbow falls, pretty tropical  

Rainbow falls, pretty tropical  

Long John Cameltoe

After starting Te Araroa, there's roughly three hours with hilly, beautiful landscape combined with small beaches until you get to 90 mile beach. Really enjoyable first hours. Then you hit it.. Unshaded, sandy, right next to the ocean and the sound of smashing waves for as long as the eye can see. At first it seems quite inviting. The rest of the first day wasn't bad at all, did 20 km in total.

90 mile beach  

90 mile beach  

Pitching a non free standing tent in the dunes can be pretty difficult, even with Y-stakes. The sand just doesn't support the stakes enough and there is no stones to use either. You need to find some vegetation to stake it properly.

Start of the second day felt alright, pretty sunrise and not that sore. But this day required me to go 40 km where of the last 15 km was in search of water. Eventually ended up at the 10th dried out stream, 15 kilometers from the last one with water. My feet really hurt and sun was about to set. So I just made my way upstream for about 200 meters and found a swamp. Either that or continue 9 km to a camping spot called Utea Park at Hukatere.

Beautiful water source and clean shoes..? 

Beautiful water source and clean shoes..? 

I decided to give the water a shot and went for Steripenning (purifying) 0,5 liters of water for 1 liter time (90 sec). And I'm still alive so I guess it worked out. The water was really okay actually, it didn't taste that bad at all. Tap water in NZ is sometimes worse, tastes like a swimming pool..

Next day I started at 11:20 and got to hukatere around 13:30, taking my time. Stopped there to camel up and protect myself from the sun. Had 4 liters of water in the same amount of hours. 

Continued after refilling and had a great nights sleep in the forest past the dunes, actually slept another hour after breakfast.  

Last day on the beach I met Jabba the hut. He was a pretty nice dude..  

Jabba the hut

Jabba the hut

The sun was really burning so I burned my calfs the second day, so after Utea Park I decided to go hike in my long johns and long sleeve that I usually sleep in. Such an amazing outfit. After 30 minutes I felt the thigh chafe starting to increase. The only way to solve thigh chafe is to put something between the thighs. In this case Allan I had was the long johns, but I needed to pull them up as high as possible to avoid the chafe. Derived from this, obviously a camel toe. So there I was, hiking the 90 mile beach in a pair of Long Johns with my package split up in two...

Señor Long John Cameltoe

Señor Long John Cameltoe

At last I arrived in Ahipara holiday park at the southern end of the beach and took half a day of, doing some light laundry, yoga beneath a tree in the breeze and just sorting my gear out, trying to brush of the sand. 

Yes, I changed before entering Ahipara..