The night before the rainy forecast for our first re-start tramp after the Covid lockdown I was a little curious despite the number of pre-registrations (for contact tracing) if everyone would rock up! But rock-up they did! An extremely calm, clear start to the day at Little Shoal Bay. Most of the group not having done this tramp before. Even those that had, we mixed things up and ran it reverse of what we often do. Partly so we'd see different views than we often do, partly because the number of track closures and partly because after a couple of months for most of us not being able to hit the tracks the way we normally would and having lost a bit of tramping fitness.
We headed uphill to the tracks across Le Roys Bush and as we popped out of the bush, we spotted a Swan Plant with impressive large Monarch Butterfly caterpillars! We headed towards Kauri Glen and the beautiful mainly ricker Kauri, but some really large Kauri tree'ed tracks that were open there, and the lovely new tree canopy lookout. Some tracks are currently closed, but you can go there and back to the new canopy lookout at the time of writing this.
From the rain overnight, everything is dewy and gorgeous. Little droplets of water dripping off the tips of everything, like little diamonds especially off the tips of the Rimu branches as the morning sun gently made it's way through the massive canopy above us.
We pop out the other side, to beeline for the Chelsea and Kauri Point tracks. This is where it started to get interesting, as there were a few extra track closures on top of what we were aware of. This required more thinking about where all the tracks pop out on road ends and culdesacs, so we could connect back into the bush as quickly as possible. Making our way through the bush, the sun glistening on the damp tree bark and droplets on the lush looking ground cover mosses.
Across the road and into the tracks above Kendall Bay. We'd organised to cut across the top of the bay, and then drop down into the bay to be kind to our muscles and to make a large loop tramp. Emerging into the open area and the view over the harbour and Kendall Bay never disappoints. Today was no different, gorgeous sea vistas and clouds lit with a slight mauve haze. Extremely pretty.
And down those infamous steep steps in Kendall Bay. At the bottom of that flight of steps, you have the option to go straight out to Kendall Bay or up another flight of even steeper steps up to Kauri Point. We chose the later. Feeling very virtuous at top, and more lovely views of town and that big spark plug thingy, The Skytower.
Pitstop at Kendall Bay to scoff down lunch with the tide ebbing in at almost full tide at our toes. Absolutely perfectly, tranquil place for lunch.
Chelsea tracks calling, we took off up the hill, with a few stunning lookouts towards town. Even this far away you can hear the gentle hum of cars on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. That didn't bother us in the slightest, we were in the zone! Immersing in our forest bathing. (Check out what forest bathing is, and it's proven calming effects).
Caffeine addicts had us making a brief stop at the Chelsea Cafe, only to find the barista was at lunch. Would the lack of caffeine slow down our long legged ones?! No seemingly not, we taunted them with the lure of the Himemoa Street cafes!
Back through yet another Kauri Dieback boot station into Le Roys Bush! We lost count of how many we went through, but we were good and did the right thing at each station. And yay!!! A track that was closed the previous week, had been partially re-opened, so we walked through this freshly boardwalked track, before reaching the junction, where they're still working, forcing us to head up onto the road for the last bit of the tramp, all downhill back to the cars. We didn't care it was a roadbash for the last bit. We had such an awesome tramping adventure again today, as always.
5 hours 40 minutes of tramping, not counting lunch, so a solid effort for our first day back with the club!!!! Well done and we're looking forward to seeing more of you out on the tracks now things are slowly nearing some normality.