11/12 Pizza of our Dreams

Ruakaka Holiday Park to Meadow on the Langview Track

26 k

We leave the park in the morning, winding through the sand dunes. The grasses and flowers that bloom in the dunes are such a fascinating beautiful range of colors- the grasses greens, golds, reds; the flowers yellows, oranges, pinks. A textural masterpiece. I try to capture it in the camera, but it’s the movement through it that highlights and emphasizes the variety; to stare too long in one spot oversimplifies, removing a part that is less than the sum it contributes to.

Through the dunes, then some more beach time. Each beach has the quality of being a segment of the same long beach, just interrupted, the way the continents are drifting but distinct segments of Pangea. At the same time, each beach holds its own subtlely different color palette of both water and sand, uniqueness of shape, and island silhouettes in the distance.

We arrive in Waipu around lunch time, which is perfect because we’ve all been dreaming of pizza, because our map tells us there’s a pizza barn here, whatever that is. It is an actual old barn, huge and marvelous, darkly wooded and open on the inside, windows pouring in light to bounce off the varnish. The menu has elaborate combinations of toppings, and Prana and I order one to share topped with asparagus and smoked salmon and blue cheese and pesto. It is tied for the best pizza I have ever had. Every ingredient tastes fresh, and they are not simply sprinkling a garnish here, not even topping in the traditional sense, they are piling on the goods so each slice is a mini meal of its own.

Thus sated, the road walk begins again. It eventually leads up to cleared ridges with expansive views back out over the ocean. The breeze blows cool, a relief. I listen to podcasts, Dear Sugar featuring Cheryl Strayed, and am galvanized by a fantastic interview with George Saunders discussing the prices of our dreams.

Prana and Bro are waiting at our designated camp spot- right next to a hand painted sign that says no camping. Well. We leave a note for Parker and Ellie, and push along the ridge for another hour to the next camping area. We pass a walkway called the Brynderwyn, sounding like something from a Terry Brooks novel. If the Pizza Barn was pizza served in a barn, what the heck is the Brynderwyn? I wish there were twice as many days so I could explore everything that had an enchanting name or a potential waterfall. The wind has elevated from a relief to a vexation, so when we reach the flat meadow we follow the grassy hill down until we are somewhat screened by trees and gorse. The grass is thick and matted, easily sinking us knee deep with each step, and makes the most effective windblock, firmly meeting the edge of the rain fly. The grass is so spongy I could probably sleep without my air mattress. Everyone arrives and we cook dinner watching the sun set.

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