A Free Saturday

A rarity these days, I had a weekend off of work, and no plans! Our friend from Invercargill was passing through and after some German Pancake!! Yum!brainstorming, we decided to head out to the beaches of the west coast. Since it’s too chilly to swim, we decided a modest hike was a great idea. But first let me backtrack. It’s been a while since I’ve written, and in all that time, I have had a smile on my face. Why? Because I have a cast iron pan! Andrew's PaellaYessiree! From salmon to paella, experimenting and playing with my new pan has been a blast!  And on this Saturday morning, I made pancakes. Well, what is so exciting about pancakes? Well, when you have a cast iron pan, you can make German or Dutch Baby Pancakes.  A cross between a souffle and an omelette, it is eggs-actly what we needed to start the day right.

So, where were we? A hike? Yes, after breakfast, we headed towards the Oratia Farmers Market to pick up mid-day sustenance in the form of yummy fresh bread, a delicious Gouda, local mandarins and radishes to carry with us. Alright, I’m done talking about food.

…for now.

Andrew and Maori CarvingI love these signs! A sure sign of a sure view!So we drove on over to the end of an odd road near Piha beach where we parked the car. I have a book that tells me about the Mercer Bay Loop Walk. It’s supposed to turn around out over by Karekare beach, my favorite beach! And along the waters edge, high up on the cliffs, the views were supposed to be great. At only an hour and half with a loop and therefore changing scenery, how could we go wrong?

The path started out fairly easy, and headed towards a stunning lookout. The look out was a dead end so we turned around to head back to an unlabeled fork to head inland a bit. After some time on this path, we came upon another fork. One fork was labeled, Karekare Beach, 1 hour. Well, if it takes an hour to get to the beach from here, then the loop has to take more than an hour and a half? Yes? Oh well, we’re young and fit! Onward!

Mercer Bay Karekare Beach

After a couple of hours we finally neared Karekare beach. About this time, it becomes apparent that we have no idea what the loop part of that walk meant. We did not see anything resembling a loop and we knew we’d have to backtrack to get back to the car. (Even after an after-the-fact Google, still not sure how that one was supposed to work.) Andrew wanted to do the return trip solo so Simon and I could check out the Karekare beach but we could get to some cool drinks sooner. Or drinks at all, since we all forgot to bring water. Rookie move. After a decent amount of protesting, it was settled, Andrew would walk back and bring the car to the beach carpark.

After Simon and I took off our shoes and waded through some fairly chilly water (I suspect this stream may have been part of Andrews motivation to turn around when he did), we dug our toes in the hot sand and wandered about the black sand beach. Simon took a pretty good spin down a dune, and we just enjoyed the outside on a spectacular day!

The view!

Andrew made spectacular time back to the car and was at the beach in no time! Only one slight problem, when he sampling the half of a loaf of bread we left in the trunk, he left his car keys and phone inside. Whoops.

After a decent amount of prying and poking and reaching, we called AA. Like AAA in the states, one phone call and they promised to bail us out in under an hour and a half! Now that was a worthwhile investment. And, like all good planning, we had our mandarins, radishes, half a loaf of bread (the half not locked in the trunk) and cheese to fill the time.

Until next time

Back on the road, we swung by Piha beach before heading back home to grill some lamb burgers. What a wonderful and yummy day! I’m so grateful to have friends and family who love to just hit the trail, beach or BBQ! Here’s to making Saturdays un-ordinary!

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