Where do I begin? It was forecast to be a sunny, windy day in my part of the world, so the plan was to get out and enjoy this wonderful place. I sent a couple of early morning texts to say “Hi!” and I have to admit there is an element of naughtiness in this, as most people aren’t early risers like myself. I sort of enjoy the fact they get a "ping" on their mobiles at a crazy hour of the morning. (Oops, sorry!!) Anyway, it makes me smile and the sun is not even up yet.
Cuzzie loaded and I climb in. Now, the second thing to make me laugh is me re-listening in my head to a conversation I had yesterday with a friend in Auckland. She had asked me if it was cold and I said "No, not really". Then I stopped for a minute and rattled off to her how many layers I was actually wearing!! Honestly, yes it has got colder and I am wearing layer upon layer these days!! No longer is it just a pair of shorts, I’m not even happy with a pair of leggings!! This is, in fact, what I have on this morning (trying to kid myself that the temperature hasn’t changed): 3/4 running tights, two pairs of woollen leggings, running shoes with woollen socks, a long-sleeved thermal, a T-shirt, my hoodie and then, my thick sharks and a zipper jacket with a hood. Also on my head, a scarf and my woollen hat!! Honestly, it’s not cold!! Who am I trying to kid?
Along the road, Cuzzie and I rattle along. As we sight the mountain ranges today, there is something new! My third smile for the morning is caused by something white and glistening. Snow, perhaps way off in the distance, but a good covering even so. The first I have seen in these parts. The wind is blowing, the sun is shining and I am feeling great about today, trying to convince the naysayer in me that heading off for a hike and trail run is going to be fun! The game begins by trying to convince myself to nail this track. Once I arrive at Wainui and park up Cuzzie, I grab my back-pack, jam a little water and energy food in it and head off. If I can’t paddle to and past Separation Point, then it has been suggested that, maybe I should hike this track!! Away I go. The real game begins when I see a DOC sign giving the distances and timings. It’s always fun to try and do it a little faster! The track winds up for about three kilometres and at the top, there are some spectacular views of Wainui Bay. It’s a stunning day. Up, over, round and down the track goes.
Then I arrive at a wonderful place, Whariwharangi Hut. I pause, look and begin to remove layer upon layer of clothing and jam it into my backpack. Believe it or not, but I’m actually perspiring! Then I head out and up, and up, and up to Separation Point, before clambering down a very rocky track to the lighthouse. There are shags nesting, seals sunning themselves, and a crazy zoned-off area with a recording of gannets and life-sized fake ones. It’s apparently a project to try and encourage gannets to nest in this location. I’m still unsure as to whether I actually like the addition to this location but, gannets are cool birds, so a colony of them may be the way forward. I stop for a little while, look around, sit gazing out to the ocean, towards Farewell Spit far in the distance, and tear up a little because holy heck, I so want to paddle around it, past it and further on.
I sit and share this stuff with the sun, the wind and the ocean, promising to stop and say “Hi!” when I do, eventually, paddle past. Some of you may laugh at me, but that’s okay! Back up the hill I clamber, into a small glade of old Karaka trees and huge boulders that must have been there for centuries. I continue clambering and then sit, look and absorb a very special place with a lot of soul. Then it was up, up and up a bit more. I was on a mission. As usual, l wasn’t wearing hiking boots but had my trainers on and was run-walking this track. Oops, forgot to mention that, at the start, as I climbed and got into my rhythm I started to smile. I had found not only my happy place, but also a new challenge while the paddling isn’t happening. This challenge is showing another side of me. I want to see how quickly I can get back to Cuzzie. Run, Red, run. I stopped at the top to shake the sand from my shoes, take a picture of Wainui Bay, scull some water and then run downhill for three kilometres. I absolutely loved it! Twenty kilometres completed. I’m happy.
Now, I’m being brave!! Several times, I had asked myself what my challenge is while waiting? As I hoofed it up the hill from the Point, it suddenly came to me. Let's see how many days I can hike-run there and back in a row!! Perhaps it’s insane, but what the hell? I really like Separation Point and it seems to me that, for my own peace of mind, I need to visit it each day for a while. Tomorrow, while you will all probably be still asleep, I’ll be in my happy place. Motivated, determined, driven. Yes, I am all of these! Anyone around the country who is reading this is most welcome to join in and try to nail twenty kilometres each day until I start paddling again! See how you go.
My smiles today:
All the fishing boats at their moorings. It must be bad weather on the West Coast, as they never usually take a day off!
The new challenge! Are you up for it?
Letting go of old, negative thoughts; brain clutter being washed out to sea!
My thoughts today:
Sunshine, the great outdoors, nature and the ocean are all a balm for my soul.
As for me, I’m off to have dinner at the farmhouse (venison, yum!).
Goodnight from Red. Ma Te Wa.