The Tempest
New Zealand Listener|November 24 - 30 2018
The Tempest

Battling the elements can seem invigorating – until the elements dial things up.

Greg Dixon

It was about the time I found myself clinging to a fence post, eyes clamped shut and teeth gritted, that I finally remembered:tramping isn’t for sooks.

For most of the first morning on Wairarapa’s Tora Coastal Walk, I’d been rather enjoying myself. I’d been the last of our party of 10 to leave Whakapata Cottage, the pre-walk accommodation, hoping forlornly that, by leaving later, the swirling wind and misty rain might have cleared a little.

It hadn’t. But once I was out in it and pushing up splashy farm tracks and ducking under dripping knuka, I quickly rediscovered the forgotten thrill of tramping with the elements against you. Wind may blow and rain may pelt, but having a clear path, a place to get to and great views always makes for a good walk. Even my aching ankle and dicky ticker seemed to be whistling happy tunes.

However, a couple of hours later, as I ambled up and onto the narrow, exposed, fence-line walk that dominates the second half of the first day of the tramp, the elements evidently decided I wasn’t taking them seriously enough.

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November 24 - 30 2018