We began our travels North today, beginning with a seven hour bus ride up to Kaitaia. People had told me the scenery in New Zealand was something else, but the comments pale in comparison of the real deal. As we sped up and down mountains, with the ocean to the East, it was safe to say I'd never fallen in love as fast as I did on that bus. The view was exuberant, and the people we met were just as life changing.
Ollie, a 27 year old from England - with a punny sense of humour and a smile that could pierce your soul - is the first TA hiker we've met on this journey. He hopped on the bus in Auckland at the same time as us and right away he could tell that our final destination was also Cape Reinga. We spoke about gear, trail plans, and life in general. He has lived in New Zealand for a year now, residing in Wellington, and he'd decided it was time to enjoy every the country had to offer.
Ally, a Taurus from Boston with a film camera and an incredible attitude, is the most down to earth Bruins fan that I have ever met - and that's coming from a Canadiens fan with nothing but Habs in her bloodstream. She is in New Zealand traveling, and is on her way to Ahipara to work at a surf shop. She became my first trail hero when she helped me adjust my pack to be more comfortable and easier to carry. Her nomadic lifestyle is in full swing, and I hope to see more of her adventures unfold as the months go by!
Ally joined Kayla and I at "Mainstreet Lodge", one of the most accommodating hostels I've ever been to. It's wonderful here as the lodge holds room for many different people traveling for many different reasons. There are communities built in it's walls and it has been a real privilege to see everything it has to offer.
With this night coming to an end, the start of the trail is just around the corner. A man named Oli graciously gives rides to TA walkers for a very reasonable price, so tomorrow he will give Kayla and I a drive to the Cape. And let me tell you;
I've been waiting so long to see that lighthouse.