Lion’s Den also had a great communal space with a full kitchen, a giant dining room table couches spread around for relaxing, an eclectic array of books, and lots of pamphlets on things to do in the area. There was a great veranda complete with a hammock, comfy arm chairs, and dining tables under the grape-hung trellis. There was even an outdoor shower, around the other side of the communal space from the veranda, and it was a treat. There were different colored glass bottles built into the concrete wall surrounding the shower, making a beautiful pattern as the light filtered through them.
Since I was enjoying the ambiance of the Lion’s Den so much, we decided to stay an extra night. This gave me a day to spend doing whatever I wanted to do. It turned out that what I wanted to do was torture myself trying to ride a rickety bike with somewhat flat tires up a windy gravel road on a hot day. Lion’s Den has bikes you can borrow for free, but they aren’t terribly well looked after. Perfect for a quick jaunt to town for groceries, less so for mountain biking. I started out eager, all full of pep and verve, but didn’t make it to my destination – a grove of kauri trees and a waterfall- in the end. After slogging my way up a massive hill, I decided it was better for the bike and my sanity to turn back and see if they had a tire pump at the Waterworks tourist attraction I had passed a km or so before. After I talked to one person, who directed me to find another, who then went to find his boss, I discovered that they did not in fact have a bike pump. I hadn’t really been holding my breath on that one, was just too desperate to pass up the chance. But they did have an air compressor which took care of the problem in no time after it had been set up. I was very grateful that all those people were willing to take a little time out of their day to help me.
After our two days in Coramandel, Dad and I headed up to the very northern tip of Coomandel, a place called Fletcher’s Bay. The drive maintained its stunning caliber, and the hikes we went on were even more spectacular. I remembered my camera for the 6 km hike, but forgot it the following day on the 20 km hike from Fletchers Bay to Stony Bay and back. Stony Bay had certainly earned its name. It was… stony. There was a massive Pohutakawa tree overlooking the beach. The trunk split right at the base and one of the limbs went out almost sideways. I just ran right up it without a second thought and had a snack overlooking the ocean.
I was quite pleased that I managed the 20 km hike with minimal soreness the following day. The first hike that we do (in 2 DAYS!!) is 18 km and, since we’re doing it without packs, I know I can handle it. It’s Day 2, when we put the packs on, that I’m a bit worried about. But we’ll take it one day at a time and everything will be juuust fine.