Ahipara to Kaitaia
It’s a mere 15km between the two towns, and there are those that grumble about a recognized walkway using roads at all. In my view, however, walking along roads gives one an interesting insight into the values and attitudes of a community. But barely had the road walking begun when I was called upon to honour the finest European camino traditions by stopping at the first, and only, cafe.
The best way to describe the walk is by listing the observed flotsam and jetsam – normally nautical terms, but for my purposes they differentiate the items intentionally jettisoned and those likely to have floated off a passing vehicle. Needless to say that in a country that no longer has deposits on beverage containers, there were an astounding number beside the road (even more than rural France). At least the overall level of litter was significantly less than Italy, where you even find unwanted kitchen appliances and furniture at the roadside.
So here is a list of my observations: jeans, multiple t-shirts, running shorts, a belt, bath towel, tea towel, one men’s sports sandal, one women’s shoe, one jandal, sweatshirts and even a “stripy bag” to put my new found wardrobe in should I have been so inclined. Also a putty knife, a new serrated knife – which I picked up and put on top of a mailbox further down the road. That may make for interesting conversation “Honey, why did you leave a knife on top of the mailbox?” “That’s funny- I was going to ask you the same question”.
There were numerous mummified (and some not quite so mummified) o’possums, a beautiful but very recently deceased Kingfisher, and a quail. Many washers, some bolts, but curiously not one nut (apart from the guy compiling this list), two cotter pins from farm implements, which based on my long ago farming experience is rather alarming! There were one and one quarter kid’s dolls – the complete one likely jettisoned by a mean kid brother😀. Two cell phone cases without phones, a pencil which I kept as I had lost my pen, and a coin for ???? (Washing machine, airport trolley, casino??). In the first two km I found 70 cents, so I was hopeful of finding enough for an ice cream upon arrival in Kaitaia, but it was not to be.
The cleanest roadside verges were those near the various maraes. Commercial businesses could learn something here and make their adjacent roadside more appealing to customers.
Day VI is a rest day, and as Kaitaia loosely translates as ‘plenty of food’ I will be indulging before the next five days of dehydrated tramping nourishment!