DAY 274...Hills Mountains

Two degrees or less first thing this morning, but it wasn’t the cold I was worrying about; it was the light winds combined with a big swell. Firstly though, I was messaging everyone pre-sunrise with the normal unhappy weather issues. They must really dread these days! It wouldn’t matter whether or not a support person was with me. It’s just me and my stuck needle issue. Although I think I’m a tiny bit better because now, at least I take photos and note the weather each day (the good, the bad and the ugly!), so with photographic proof, I can remember what the past days have been like.

Sunrise over the huge ranges as I walked down to the beach, my mind was on the rumble and look of the ocean that was a foaming mass of water even though it was low tide. I was on the beach so early this morning, I even woke up the oyster-catchers! Having videoed the early morning ocean in front of me, I realised the forecast had been correct. If only I could just rest at that. However, it did sort of help to satisfy me, so back I went to tidy up the cottage and return some gear to Cuzzie so as not to have too much clutter inside. I had a late breakfast and another coffee, before managing to convince Cuzzie to start. She really hates these cold mornings. Having loaded up my backpack and convinced myself to get out and about in the sunshine, I was off to climb Knuckle Hill which has an amazing view from the top over the Westhaven Inlet (or so I’ve been told!).

Off I headed, along a wide track, past a couple of herds of wild goats (eight adults and two kids in total). I can always tell I’m getting close to them as I can smell them because they have a very distinct odour, but they were probably just as unsure of me. As it’s a hill track, the majority of this hour plus walk was uphill. In fact, at the crossroads, the signpost said that the last 850 metres would take 45mins! Heck, it wasn’t exactly Mt. Everest! But maybe they meant the return time!! Once on this section of track, however, it was fairly steep and wet and, although it sounds kind of contradictory, you had to follow a sort of dry riverbed of rocks up to the trig station. But, once you actually arrive at the summit, what a beautiful view! I sat for a little while, trying to share it with Jason via my mobile. I had to smile as, even way up here on top of the hill, it was windy and the ocean looked really unpleasant. For me today that was such a positive. It certainly wasn’t an ocean on which to paddle, that’s for sure! Thank you Mother Nature!

I spent a little more time at the top, just admiring the view and sculling a mouthful of water, then headed back down, clambering slowly over the rocks and being careful not to slip and fall over on the muddy, wet sections. Back down on the wider track, I managed to surprise the goats again. I also saw a huge wood pigeon and, all too soon, was back at the car park. Then it was off to the little wharf area for a quick paddle before it got too late. The wind was blowing up and over the cliffs onto the inlet but I quickly I scooted around the corner and paddled away from the wind. After an hour or so, I was back on dry land as it was getting colder and I was keen to get back to the cottage. As I drove along, I managed to locate other arms and creeks of this huge inlet, trying to decide which ones I want to paddle on over the next few days.

Back to cat-sit Hobo for a little while tonight, although he seems unimpressed. My day has been reasonably pleasant and enjoyable, well most of my day at least. One day, in the not too distant future, I hope to return to the North Island but it doesn’t seem like it will be any time this month!

My smiles today:
My warm, dry, but very muddy boots.
Farm-fresh eggs.
My obsessive urge to continue.
The beautiful views today.
Video phone calls.
My very supportive friends. Thank you!

My thoughts today:
Thank you to all those people who have entered my life. You have helped me become the person I am today.

Goodnight from Red. Ma Te Wa.

The view from Knuckle Hill.

The view from Knuckle Hill.

Wharf at Westhaven Inlet.

Wharf at Westhaven Inlet.