He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature – Socrates
The morning meet up began at the sensible time of 8.30am outside the Takapuna library. The large yellow tramping bus was ready and waiting for all the eager trampers to gather and greet each other. As it was only my second tramp with the group, I was interested to meet people I had never met before and reunite with the previous tramp’s participants.
Excitedly, we all boarded the old American school bus styled tramping transport and settled in for the journey to Mangawhai. People were chatting happily reminiscing about past hikes and sharing wisdom and knowledge. The atmosphere was welcoming.
The bus stopped ultimately at our destination which was at the end of a long forest road quite close to the majestic Mangawhai Beach. The huge pine trees lined the road, and the forest floor was covered with pine needles which gave off a pleasant pine aroma which took me back to childhood days playing carefree in the woods.
Enthusiastically, we all put on the necessary wind breakers and secured our back packs which carried our valuable sustenance. Some people had walking poles which lead me to believe these individuals were the experienced ones. As we strolled out of the shelter of the thick trees and onto the wild, white, sandy beach the ocean’s powerful negative ions washed over us. As we inhaled in abundance the invisible molecules, I felt my serotonin levels increasing, stress levels melting and energy levels boosting.
The walk had commenced, and everyone fell into their own personal comfort zone pace. My legs went into auto pilot, and I enjoyed trying to accomplish my mission of talking with everyone. The beach stretched for miles ahead of us and we tramped along until we reached a small stream flowing across the golden sand and down to the stormy sea.
Methodically, we all tried our own way to cross the stream. Some with ease stomping through the shallows and some trying to find short cuts. This was the deciding factor of who ended up in the fast group and who ended up in the second to fast group. However, we all met up at the start of the track at Te Arai Point and reconvened for a recharge and some fantastic photo opportunities. Te Arai means “the shelter” and that was what we did briefly.
Next, we set off over Te Arai Point up and down grassy paths testing our fitness and endurance until we reached the other side where we descended onto the pearly white sands again. However, we were no longer alone. There were signs of other human life in the form of sand carters, a type of small go cart with sails, making good use of the strong wind. Some of us paused to watch and be amazed at the speeds they were travelling at.
Tiredly now, I walked along until I heard the welcome suggestion of a lunch break up in the sand dunes. Hungrily, I polished off my fried rice and mandarins and took note of what other types of food could be brought. People chatted happily sharing food advice and amusing anecdotes. By this time, I was onto my second litre of coconut water, and I felt recharged.
On the return trip back along the untamed beach we had the wind behind us, I took off like a sand cart and in no time, we were back at the stream. This time I just stomped through the shallows as the wise ones ahead of me had done and managed to get back to Te Arai. The remainder of the walk I talked with more people and learned so many interesting stories. Then, to my surprise, the road to where the bus was parked appeared. Amazingly, everyone was there exchanging their walking boots or shoes to comfortable jandals. We were all united again and headed off on the yellow bus, which had been patiently waiting for us, in the direction of the chocolate shop. Here everyone swarmed the shop and bought well deserved sustenance and I had the biggest and most delicious drink of hot chocolate that I had ever tasted.
One of our members, Victor, also took a video of the walk. This can be viewed here