I cannot catch a break with the weather. Today was meant to be the nicest day of the week so I reserved it for Cathedral Cove, while yesterday was meant to be cloudy and rainy but was instead beautiful..
Anyhow, I caught the bus to Hahei (it was 3hrs to walk on the side of the road, so I thought it prudent to catch the bus) and from there took the track across Hahei beach up to Cathedral Cove Car Park.
I should have known what it was going to be like just from that 30min stretch. It was muddy. Really, really, muddy. It obviously rained pretty hard last night as huge stretches of the path were simply slippery mud, with muddy grass leading to a steep drop on either side…
(this was one of the better sections of path!
I made it though, and I did it in less time than predicted so I was pretty happy.
After enjoying the views from the carpark look out I decided to head down the main trail. Only this section was so, so much worse.
It’s a steep decline and it was all mud, the really bad sections I have no photos of as I was simply too busy trying not to slip.
(it was windy and muddy so excuse the weird face I'm pulling!)
Worryingly several locals simply turned back saying it wasn’t worth it, but we a few other people lingered (because it was so muddy there was really only a 1 way track so if people were coming up you had to try and scoot out there way) and despite some people saying the trail was bad for a good 20 minutes, others promised it improved after not long.
Needless to say I pressed on – I hadn’t paid for a bus out here for nothing!
Sure enough the path did clear up pretty quickly and most of the walk was really very easy, there were no serious climbs or ascensions. The only problems came from the rain as everything was much more treacherous because of it.
I was just checking my watch (I’d done the walk in a lot less time than suggested despite the mud) when the guy in front of me went down. He lost his footing and full on slipped, grabbing a tree to try and slow his fall (it could have been a really nasty drop). But the tree wasn’t overly fond of being almost yanked out the ground so, long story short, I got hit, my ankle decided to do a jelly dance and now I have one seriously sprained ankle. Lucky me.
I carried on down to Cathedral Cove as I could see it, it was maybe 10m away, and as soon as I got onto the sand my ankle basically gave way. I did manage to hobble to some driftwood and I attempted to rest my ankle.
The problem then was I had no idea how long it was going to take me get back up the trail. I dreaded to think how I was going to handle the metres of muddy path with an ankle I couldn’t put wait on.
I didn’t stay as long as I wanted at Cathedral Cove, as although it was, obviously, beautiful and impressive, I definitely feel it’s just become too touristy.
I’ve never been on any path that was so busy – and it’s winter! I dread to think what it must be like in summer, it’ll just be a thoroughfare.
(this was one of the benches I mournfully walked past)
Anyway, to summarise, the walk back to the carpark was long, slow and painful. There were two benches along the path but I knew once I sat down to rest my ankle would just swell up and it’s hurt even more to carry on.
Obviously I got back to the hostel (as you’re reading this) and the fact I had up the 300m steep, muddy and treacherous ascension is enough of a miracle for me to proclaim God intervened. Even more of a miracle I made it back to the bus stop with some time to spare!
(this is a grimace of pain, not a smile)
Although I couldn’t help but compare myself to those women on ‘one born every minute’ on my way back to Hahei (it’s all downhill and going down hurts a lot more than going up on a sprained ankle). I started out being optimistic and saying it’d be fine, 20 minutes in I was begging for drugs, paracetemol, ibuprofen, you name it I was debating buying some!
I’m glad I did it, and although I didn’t get to see gemstone bay (I wasn’t about to do a detour with my ankle) that just gives me another excuse to come back! Most travellers I’ve met, the ones who seriously travel don’t just got for 3 weeks on a gap year, all kinda have this motto – you can’t possibly do everything, so if you miss out you’ll just have to come back. And I really like that idea, now I’m leaving NZ my list of things I want to see and do here keeps growing, so I’ll undoubtedly have to pop back at some point!
(can you tell which one is sprained?!)
Also, 4 new people have moved into my sixe bed dorm room. Not overly happy about having to share a room again! I’ve gotten used to having the room to myself! Tonight is being spent going through photos and pottering with my ankle elevated – fingers crossed it’ll magically heal over night?