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Continental Divide Trail 2011 close to 3000 miles through new mexico, colorado, wyoming and montana. May 1 start date.

Cape Reinga

NEW ZEALAND | Sunday, 10 February 2008 | Views [643]

I left Drumgor, my third farm stay, early on a monday morning. My host dropped me off at the trailhead (or should I say track-head) around lunchtime. We walked up some impressive sand dunes and watched as others went sand-boarding down the steep hills. I couldn't help but remember when I tried to slide down the dunes on my thermarest in Egypt a few years ago. It didn't work. To get to the track-head we drove along the 90-mile beach for a few miles. It used to be the main highway until they paved a rode a few years ago. Most people still use the beach to get up to the cape. Cape Reinga is just about as north as you can get in New Zealand and it marks the spot where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet up. The Cape Reinga walkway is a 3-day tramp up and down cliffs and across beaches. For most of my tramping I plan on storing quite a bit of my stuff at a hostel so I don't have to carry everything but for this tramp I went ahead and carried it all. I figured with the heavy packs I have to carry in Yellowstone I'd be fine. I considered it training for the PCT. Bad idea. With New Zealand's intense sun and the steep climbs and descents, it made the tramp a challenge.

The first night I camped at the end of Twilight Beach at a backcountry campsite. I met a couple from the UK/Germany who was also camping there. We walked around the cliffs and watched the sunset. Some of the sand looked like metal shards. There were mussels on the rocks that the locals eat raw. I decided against it. I had been warned that the mosquitoes would be the worst in the world by about 6.30 so I was ready to jump in my bivy but I never saw any. The following day I walked along wilderness beaches and up over cliffs until I reached Cape Reinga, with all the day-visitors on tour busses. The sea is violent there where the oceans meet. I hear that when the two oceans are on extreme high and low tides there is a visible difference in water level. That night I stayed on a gorgeous beach campground with large waves. I met a few other travelers who gave me advice for other tramps. My final day of walking I had about 20 K, which didn't sound like much but with my heavy pack and the cliffs, it was a work-out. The last 8 Ks were on a beach with shells as sand and blue crashing waves. It was knee-bending work and I didn't think I'd ever make it to the end of the beach. After several hours I found the campground only to find out that there were no busses that stopped there anymore. I found two other trampers (from Stirling, Scotland) who had a ride coming for them from an adventure company. I wasn't too excited about having to pay heaps of money for a short ride off the cape, but I figured I had no choice. I just barely fit into the small car with my backpack on my lap. They took us to their headquarters, which is basically a farm with one place to stay. I kept thinking I was being roped into some expensive adventure tour but it turned out being the best experience I've had so far.

Cape Reinga Adventures is run by a crazy kiwi man(missing teeth, barefoot, sun-tanned, fearless) and a young kiwi couple. They take clients fishing, kayaking, sand-boarding, and swimming. Immediately they gave me a room to stay in, a warm shower, and dinner (fish they had caught that day). Bushman Pete said he'd like to take me to meet some locals. So we drove down the road around sunset and I noticed some white sand dunes in the distance. Looked like snow-capped mountains. I mentioned how beautiful they were and Bushman Pete said he'd take me there. We parked the car, hopped in a motorboat and slammed up and down across the waves to an island of white sand. The sun was just setting as we walked quickly through an expanse of white sand and teatrees--I swear they were truffula trees from the Lorax. The wind picked up and swirled the sand as we marhced toward a sand hill. We walked maybe a mile and climbed up the sandhill to see the ocean, hills, and the white sand truffula tree wilderness in the twilight. There were sand sculptures at the top created by the wind. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen. We skiied down the sandhill and walked back to the boat. Bushman Pete told me about some of the hidden places around there. It seemed a magical place. He offered me a job taking care of logistics and going on all of the trips. I was very tempted but seem to have a strong desire to go South so I declined. Perhaps I'll make my way back up there once I've gone south.

the last stretch of beach I walked. knee-bending work

the last stretch of beach I walked. knee-bending work

Tags: Adventures

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