Ocean Beach to Clifton, Wednesday 14 Feb 2018
A beach walk at the height of warm February weather was too much of a temptation for two van-loads of trampers. Many were lightly kitted in sandals and sneakers and those of us wearing boots thought maybe we had made a mistake. I mean, who goes for a beach walk wearing boots?On our 8 km leg to Rangaiika beach and Flat Rock, we passed two seals who thought they had the beach to themselves and looked a little peeved at our intrusion. The seals, and a farmer with his dog on a quad bike, were the only other living beings we came across on this coast (or, in fact, for just about the whole walk).
Morning smoko on the beach preceded the next leg of heading inland to circumnavigate Cape Kidnappers. The tide barred us from taking the coastal route around the point.Three of our number headed back the way we had come, to drive the vans to the pick-up at Clifton. Rosemary, normally one of the more adventurous in the club, announced that she too would turn back because she had ‘done it before’. It wasn’t until we were 10 minutes into the inland walk that I understood the glint in her eye when she made that statement. We found ourselves single-file in a canyon, waist deep in muddy water wide enough for large thighs only. This was a highlight for me.
At a certain point along this canyon, we needed to climb out on the very steep slippery, slidy northern face. This sorted the group into two. Those wearing boots and those with sandals. All on all fours, desperately clutching tufts of grass and small trees to gain purchase. That was my second highlight.
The ride down the other side was largely on our bottoms. Hillary tore a hole in her pants but it didn’t matter because she took them off anyway to have a swim in the ocean. Most of us did the same.Our walk to the DoC house north of the Gannet colony took a track that turned out to perhaps be a little longer than necessary. That didn’t matter. We needed the exercise to warm up for the race against the tide along the beach to Clifton. This was a route march. We were three hours after low tide and forced into the soft gravel.
One or two were a little nervous that we might get caught against the cliffs with no escape from the tide. The slowest in the group were less than two hours for this 9 km hike. Not bad, I thought.
This was a beach stroll filled with adventure. Marvellous!
Trampers: Reporter Bruce Hodgson
Photos: Marie and Hilary