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  • Writer's pictureDermot O'Brien

Day 26. Nov 30. Orewa to Browns Bay. 35km.

Set off through Orewa, wandering past the school drop off rush. Suburban walking for what seemed like hours through to Silverdale and then on backroads to Stillwater. Filled the time listening to hits from my teen years in the 70’s, singing along to disco beats and to the Stylistics in falsetto. I wasn’t locked up, which was good . Today was an estuary crossing at Dacre Point, typically waist deep at low tide. But it was high tide. Had to wade around the headland, all the while dark clouds building. Then came the heavy rain and lightning. Felt like everything was being thrown at me by and I had my first shouting moment. Mist TA’ers have a shouting moment sooner or later as frustration or tiredness or hunger gets the better of you and you swear at the universe or God or whatever you believe in. I was thigh deep in the sea in the pouring rain with thunder and lightning overhead. I tried to cross at the shallower sand spit but got to chest deep before I backed out. Made my way back along the sandbar and found a track. Then a very long detour along rush hour rural roads before reaching Browns Bay around 6pm. Had done 35km over 10 hrs, still in damp clothes after my crossing attempt and without accommodation. Cold. Had originally planned to stay further north but had cancelled when I knew I had to detour south around the estuary. After an hour trying with no vacancies anywhere, I decided to scope out a place to free camp in the park by the beach. But at 7pm, I made contact with a trail angel who came and collected me. After a hot shower to warm up, I spent a lovely evening with Nicole and her wonderful family talking about lots of meaningful things relating to adversity and spiritually. Had a snug sleep in a garden cabin with the rain pelting outside.

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