|Tuesday, Nov 1st
I struggled to sleep in the car as the darkness approached, the temperature dropped, and the cozy interior of the car. Not to mention I didn't have a proper sleeping bag. So I had a sweatshirt and a jacket for a blanket. Needless to say I made it through the night with about three hours of haphazard sleep. So as soon as day broke, I finished the rest of the journey to Takaka (only an hour away). Why travel to Takaka? Only in search for some more climbing! The Hangdog as the campground was called was the local assembly point for the area climbing. Unfortunately it was raining heavily during the morning. So I approached the campground and talked to the owner with devastating news: its raining so the crag won't dry for a few days and not many climbers around. Woof. First big challenge, go with the flow. So I asked what else was there to do...
Armed with fresh information and a new determination to make the day pleasurable, I headed up the coast up the golden bay area called the farewell spit. First a stop by... hold on.... a place called the Trash Palace and picked up a sleeping bag for 1 dollar. Score! Along the way I stopped in a small town, Collingwood, and asked a nice lady in a shop for more rainy day activity. She said, 'have lunch at the Paddle Crab Cafe and walk along the beach if you don't mind a bit of misty rain.' So thats exactly what I did. I had actual lunch with the best clam chowder with a panoramic view of the coast and ocean. The weather let up enough for me to walk along the coast without too much rain. In addition I was able to take some fantastic photos, picking up a whale bone, and seeing black swans in the distance. On the way back to the campsite, I stopped by the Mussel Inn where everyone in the region was telling me to go. So I did. Had a nice local brew with garlic bread. Fantastic. Did I mention they had a real fireplace going. Very soothing on a rainy day. I also had a intriguing conversation with another couple there. From Wellington they were, traveling around like most kiwis do, and offered more travel advice. 'Tongoriro Crossing in Nat Park you must go,' they said. With dinner waiting for them we said our goodbyes and I, finished with my snack drove back to the campground and enjoyed a quiet evening quickly overcame with sleep coaxed by the lullaby of the rain.