Reaching Island Bay
Thursday 2nd February 2012
The time had come for me to join Ken on another highlight of his traverse. Ken had reached Wellington and was about to complete the North Island at Island Bay – the southern point of North Island’s Te Araroa Trail.
After spending some quality time with the Phillips (friends of ours that were visiting NZ from Canada) who had kindly put him up for the night, Ken made his way out to the airport to welcome me into the land of the long to do list. Yes, . . . there was a lot to do! My flight from Sydney arrived in Wellington at 2pm. We didn’t waste any time and managed to hop straight back on to the same bus Ken had just caught out to the airport. What were the chances of that ever happening?
We had booked ourselves into a studio unit in Wellington, Quest On The Terrace, which we first stayed at in 2008 so it was nice heading back to familiarity. Since October last year we had made use of this familiar base of ours many times, sending various packages to it, hoping that they would all be there when the day came. Fortunately, all the packages were waiting for us. Unfortunately this meant there was a lot to do! So we quickly assessed the contents of each package and then prepared for the 10km hike down to Island Bay. When we left the apartment I couldn’t help but feel like I was cheating. So far Ken had hiked 1610km just to reach Wellington but I wasn’t going to let this spoil things for me. I was PUMPED for my 10km hike south. LETS DO THIS! I thought to myself as we both hiked down the road – full of energy.
We chatted about various things on the way down to Island Bay. It was mainly secret men’s business which we covered, and it sure was great to be sharing the occasion with Kenyon. I was finally there hiking the trail with him.
We rounded Island Bay looking for the rock with the plaque on it which marked the official end point of the island. We could sense that the rock was close but we were not quite sure of its exact location. As we were walking along the road I peered over a picket fence and saw what could have been the spot. We made our way into the park area and crossed over to the spot. Ken reached over to the rock and there it was – the accomplishment! Ken had completed the North Island and was just over half way through his traverse. For myself I felt privileged to witness the moment. I know Ken well and knowing him tells me that he really did traverse the North Island without a hitch – so to speak.
After a few photos to capture the moment the wind started to pick up. We headed back to the city and had dinner at Great India. It was so nice being out of the wind and cold. Everyone inside took note as we walked in with all our hiking gear on and then peeled our packs off before sitting down. The backpacks took up half the chairs around the table, jackets and fleeces were everywhere. Wellington was almost big enough for the two of us!