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Hiking the Heaphy Track

 

The next day, we crossed numerous swing bridges. After our experience on the Wangapeka, it was a real joy to have so many bridges! While much of this walk is in the bush, the scenery is quite varied over the course of the trip, and the walk down to the beach was very pretty.

We arrived at the Heaphy Hut just in time to have a long leisurely lunch and then a quick swim in the river. The tides are very strong along the coast, so swimming on the coast is not recommended. The river would be our last chance to swim and the final leg was all along the coast.

 

Susan and John jumped right in, but didn't linger long. I took a bit longer to get warm enough to plunge into the frigid waters, and likewise did not linger.

 

Having heard a less than ideal forecast for the next day, we decided to press on with plans to use our tents again at one of the shelters. It's a pity. This unfortunate part was we were now well and truly into sandfly territory. The hut would have provided some relief. But we all thought it would be better to do some of the coastal section in nice weather, rather than all of it in the rain.

So after a long break, we packed up our gear, and headed south. The track follows the coast for quite a while, sometimes affording beach walking, but othertimes going around rocky outcrops. Walking on the beach was nice, but I'm glad we didn't have too much of it, as it is actually hard to walk on.

 

We did have some spectacular views and of course the scenery was again very different from previous days. We came upon one of the rangers cutting back some overgrown weeds on the trail (weeds are defined as non-native plants). He recommended a shelter much further down the track that we'd planned to walk. He thought it had a much nicer setting. We figured we'd see how we felt when we reached the first hut.

I was certainly ready to stop. Despite the long lunch, my feet were ready to get out of the shoes. Comfortable as they were in the shop and the first few days of tramping, my feet were now happy to part ways with them at the end of each day. I think even John and Susan were happy to get out of their boots too.

 

Anyway, after a couple of hours we came to the first shelter. We checked the map and it seemed the second shelter was a couple of hours further and almost at the end of the track. So we decided to stop for the day. There was a nice sheltered camping area behind the shelter, and access to the beach a bit further down the track.

 

I don't remember what the name of the shelter actually was, but we renamed it Sandfly City. It was awful. We got our tents up quickly, and then found a place with a bit of a breeze to cook our dinner. We thought the breeze might help with the sandflies. We slathered ourselves in DEET. The sandflies licked it off. It was still a bit warm to put on our long pants and long sleeves, so after dinner we went for a walk. OK, I know this sounds odd, but sandflies don't bother you if you are either fully covered or moving. Also walking wasn't bad, without a pack or boots!