We'd got up early in an attempt to beat the sun and tide on Oreti Beach, and I made the mistake of turning on the TV.
I didn't mind the infomercial from Dr Ho - his painkilling machine may look kind of perverted, but the idea seemed sound. Or perhaps I was still suffering from yesterday's ordeal and any painkilling machine would have looked good.
What really ruined my day was the next infomercial featuring Neil Sedaka hawking cut price and schmaltzy 50s cheese masquerading as music. We packed our day's kit through half an hour of bad pop wisdoms featuring such gems as "Stay Away From Runaround Sue" who was probably the only interesting girl in town. The torture was repeatedly punctuated with Neil's clear favourite - his own "Oh! Carol".
Carol was to follow me for the rest of the morning. An earworm from hell.
Other than that, the trip from Invercargill to Riverton was a stunner.
We started with a 10k walk on the shared footpath/cycle track where we actually walked above the traffic. Past the river estuary and through Otatara with its bush reserve, Kereru road signs and actual Kereru. We had about eight fly over us as we plodded through town in a cool morning breeze. Well done the Otatara Pest Busters.
We crossed Oreti River Bridge above a couple of rowers training. A beautiful river, but the brown foam on its banks was a sad reminder of home's own frothy dairy drain - the Manawatu River.
We hit Oreti Beach in two hours then had a snack in the dunes while Gary took his trotter Caesar's Gamble, (from Julius Caesar out of Take a Gamble - we think), for a very deep and long paddle up and down the beach in front of us. When Gary stopped for a chat we learned Caesar's Gamble had a bit of a niggle and with a race next Tuesday Gary reckoned she needed some salt water therapy. Now that I think of it I should have put him on to Dr Ho.
Anyway...to further prove our Small World Theory we also found out he had a mare up in Otaki being serviced by a horse belonging to a good friend of my dads. (Gidday Peter and Josephine.)
But I digress. It was time to start on the 23ks to Riverton and our packs. The sea breeze was a welcome antidote to the now fierce sun, the beach was wide and had almost no camber. With the tide out and the sand hard, we were moving fast. If only I could dump Carol.
Two and a half hours later my chance came. We had to cross a shallow stream so took our boots off (we wouldn't do that in the Ruahines) and used the break to have lunch. Buns with cheese slices, hummus and chippies. Mmmmm.
Then some music. We're near civilisation and electricity, so decided to splash out by listening to some of our phone music. What a relief. Goodbye Carol and hello Jonathon Richmond.
The afternoon flew by as fast as the soundtrack. But as Riverton approached the tide did too. We were soon dodging small waves and walking in soft sand. Blisters, exhaustion and afternoon heat were beginning to take their toll. We missed the turnoff off from the beach and had to walk an extra painful few hundred metres back before stumbling into town.
Trail Angel Marion, was as good as her promise...actually she was better than her promise...she delivered the heavy packs she was looking after for us (see Day 1's blog) to the camping ground for us. Is that cheating?
Camp Longwood is a great TeA stop-off. It's on the edge of town and right on the trail. It's clean, has good hot water and is kind of funky - in a good way. The new owner Veronica, is keen to become more involved with the trail.
Final note: (jeez I can prattle on) A big thanks to Rose and Kevin from Palmy...the latest TeA Nice Guys. The towels were great.
The kindness of strangers.