That’s Waves, Wind, Waterfalls, and Wapids (rapids!).
I know that in last night’s blog I told you there wouldn’t be one tonight because we’d be camping at the end of the road where there were no services. Well, plans change! And we made a change because of the weather. In the middle of the night we awoke to winds just slamming into Jucy and the rain pounding down. This continued most of the day. I suggested we keep our hiking plans, but find a motel where we could dry off everything and maybe eat a meal in a restaurant. Jim agreed!
Our day started by heading south to see a seal colony. We knew that they would not mind the rain! We donned our rain coats and rain pants and took a windy, rainy walk along the cliffs above some rocks and saw a bunch of seals that were pretty inactive. The waves on the Tasman sea were rolling in and crashing over the rocks the seals were trying to hide in. It seemed like a very harsh environment.
We had planned to drive north to Kahurangi National Park, do some hiking and camp overnight there. Because of the ferocious winds we decided to try an inland hike and were not disappointed. The trail name was Charming Creek and it followed a raging river upstream on an old railroad bed. I thought there is nothing charming or creek-like about this river. It was a bully forcing its way downstream over boulders the size of houses! We walked up the trail for 45 minutes and it was non-stop Class 5 rapids all the way! Because of all the rain that was falling and had fallen there were numerous waterfalls plunging into the river on both sides. Two falls of note were on our side of the trail. The first one went right across the trail and we had to pull up our hoods and walk under this back massaging falls! Awesome! The second waterfall of note stopped our hike. The falls tumbled down a steep cliff and was supposed to drop beside a wooden bridge that traversed the gorge of the falls. Well, this falls was carrying so much water that it was pounding the bridge and huge winds were coming off the falls! There was no way we were going to try to cross that bridge! After taking some photos we turned around and enjoyed looking at the wild river as we hiked back to the car (and made one more trip through the smaller falls on the trail!). We need to look to see if this river is ever run in kayaks. To us, it looked unrunnable, but people are pushing the limits on what can and cannot be kayaked.
We did drive to Kahurangi NP, but not before stopping in the town of Karamea for lunch at the Last Resort. While waiting for our lunch I inquired about available accommodations. We booked a room for the night before heading our for a coastal walk in the park. This was another wild walk because the Tasman Sea continued to be worked up into a frenzy! Weather reports now tell us that the wind was regularly gusting to over 100kph, or 60 mph. Add to that torrential downpours and you have the makings for a very memorable hike! I did love looking at the crashing waves of the sea, but I could have done without the stinging rain on my face!
After almost an hour of hiking, we met a young guy hiking towards the car park. He asked where we were going and when he heard we were just out for a short hike and were heading back to town he asked if he could have a lift. Because we weren’t quite done with our hike, we agreed to meet him back by the info shelter near where Jucy was parked. When we all re-grouped and moved things around so he could get into the middle of the van we learned that his name was Kyle and he was from Chicago! And then we learned that he plans to hike the AT starting in March, just like us!! We dropped him off at a hikers hostel here in town and wished him well!
The rain continues to fall and the wind blows. We were going to spend 2-3 more days on the west coast (wet coast), but have decided to drive south a ways tomorrow, checking out the coastline, but then head back to the east coast, where the sun may be shining!
Here are some of the photos from today! Cheers!