On Tuesday evening I decided that I was going to take a drive out to the west coast beaches. I read online about the best beaches to go to and found out that Karekare, Piha, and Anawhata (‘wh’ is pronounced ‘fff” here….Maori) are all relatively close to each other. And there is a place called Cascade Falls that is a short little walk through the bush to some pretty waterfalls.
Then I got to organizing which is not something I do often. Tom is the organized one, I’m more the throw-some-shit-in-a-bag-and-anything-we-forget-we-can-buy type. Which probably explains why Tom’s savings account is substantially larger than mine…
I packed a backpack with a towel, flip-flops (for easy barefoot beach walking), and my hiking boots (in case Cascade Falls was super muddy). Any time I head out of the house, even if I’ve just eaten, my belly suddenly goes, “Where we eatin’ out at?”. So I hard-boiled some eggs and packed them in a container along with some muesli bars, two apples, and a bag full of cashews.
I even made a mental note to stop off at the store and buy some mints in case I had to talk to anyone after eating those previously mentioned hard-boiled eggs.
I was set.
The forty-five minute drive out there was pretty easy. I just put on my “Cooking with Oldies” playlist and listened to Louie and Ella and Etta and Otis the whole way. Half of the drive was on windy cliff-side roads running up and down the hills and people kept passing me. I wasn’t driving super-slow but on windy narrow roads I definitely drive the speed limit.
Choose life, I like to say.
Towards the end of the drive there was a rustic looking sign with Karekare painted on it and an arrow pointing down a super windy dirt road.
It was the windy dirt road of terror.
The road was not a one-way, but it was so very narrow that two cars going in opposite directions could barely pass each other on it, sometimes not at all. And it was very windy so visibility was really limited. And at the first turn a little Mercedes two-door came flying at me at what I thought was a very reckless speed and the rest of the way I was gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles, sure that I was going to get into a head-on collision with another fancy sports car heading up the hill.
As I’m sure you can guess, it didn’t happen.
But it COULD have!
The beach was beautiful. Kind of cold since it’s winter here. And not a whole lot of people, probably because it’s winter here.
I know these aren’t ocean pictures, but actually the most impressive thing about the beach were the surrounding hills and cliffs. My camera phone does not do it justice.
I know these aren’t ocean pictures, but actually the most impressive thing about the beach were the surrounding hills and cliffs. My camera phone does not do it justice. The movie, The Piano, with Harvey Keitel and Holly Hunter was filmed here.
This stream….let me tell you about this stream.
I had to cross it.
This is a picture of the stream after I crossed it the first time. It was no big deal. I checked first with an elderly couple who were walking with their dog and they told me, “Yes, if you want to get to the actual beach, you’ll need to go through the water.”
So I took my shoes off and crossed, probably right about where I took this picture. It was super cold but it only came up to about my ankles so it wasn’t too bad.
On the way back I decided to walk further down and cross back over closer to the car. So I stepped in and started walking across and that frigid water started getting higher and higher. I kept telling myself, it’s okay, just go. But when it got to just below my knees I decided to turn back around and find a shallower area. But when I turned back around and took a step my feet squished down into some really soft and icky-feeling mud and my whole body said NO. So I turned in another direction, and then another direction, unable to make up my mind as to which way to go. I am so glad no one was around to see me sloshing about in that stream, heading in one direction and then turning around to go another way, and then turning again. I was probably in the water stumbling about for at least a good two minutes or so.
Finally I thought, “Just get across, how deep can it really get?”
The answer? Waist deep.
When the water started creeping up over my butt I clumsily stuffed my sneakers into the big front pocket of my hoodie, and taking care not to drop anything, I pulled it up over my head, bunched it up, and continued wading across holding it on top of my head.
All in all, it probably took me about five minutes to get across.
I know what you’re thinking….that little trickle of water? I honestly have no idea how it got so deep.
Good thing I wasn’t a pioneer on the Oregon Trail. I probably would have drowned in the first river we had to cross.
I was sopping wet and it was only about 50-something degrees outside and I didn’t have any extra clothes with me.
I did not make it to Piha or Anawhata Beach or Cascade Falls. My thoughtful packing was not thoughtful enough.
But I did get to run around barefoot on an absolutely deserted beach trying to draw pictures in the sand with my feet while listening to the waves crashing on those giant cliffs.
This was my attempt at making a footprint heart. It was actually my fourth attempt. And my best one.
All in all, I’d say the trip was a success.