Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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A group of 32 people showed up at Waitakaruru to walk part of the brand new Miranda to Thames section of the Hauraki Rail Trail, which will be officially opened at Labour weekend this year. We set out about 10:15am to follow the stopbanks along the Waitakaruru Stream, then back to SH25 to cross a canal, then carry on out to the southern foreshore of the Firth of Thames. A band of light drizzle passed over, causing some of us to get out our umbrellas. The sun came out again by the time we stopped for our first break after 3.8km just after 11am.
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We then carried on another 3km and stopped for our lunch break at midday, just as a second band of very light rain set in. There was no shelter along the whole track, and we had to sit beside the track in grass under our brollies beside an electric fence. One of us had accidentally touched the fence with his wet umbrella, and he felt a jolt, bang and flash of white light in his head. Fortunately he wasn't injured and was able to carry on as normal.
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The rain cleared as we continued on, and we had another stop at 1pm for our devotions. John spoke about acts of worship. Worshipping God is not only the singing, praying and learning from the sermon in church; it is the use of the many gifts and blessings He has given us, which he wants us to use for His glory. Christian fellowship is one of these gifts; chatting with one another before and after the church service is just as much part of the worship as the service itself. Our tramping along with other outdoor activities is an act of worship as we enjoy the beauty of God's creation, as well as taking the medicine of physical exercise. Our work is an act of worship and service, whether it is paid or voluntary, and regardless of the type of work. Taking a break from work each week is also an act of worship. Eating is worship as we enjoy the sweet and savoury tastes of our food, and is often done with the worship of chatting. The popular pastime of feeding the birds is also worship - God made birds such as sparrows, chickens, ducks and seagulls is such a way that they will eat bread and other human food so that we can enjoy the fascination of watching them come down for bread and scraps thrown out to them. God has given us our interests hobbies and sports for us to use and develop to fill up our spare time to His glory. Getting out and about and discovering new things is also glorifying God. Some of these new things I had discovered in the last couple of years include making artworks and collages and ornaments, and picking out tunes by ear on a piano. God has given our brains an ability to bring back happy memories including keeping a diary and taking photos, and also associating songs and music played at the time of an event with the event itself - the Village People song In The Navy and Lay Your Love On Me by Racey was on the charts at the time of the first-ever ABTC tramp at Broken Hills in 1979. Having a cheerful and friendly manner is a very important way of worship and can be a seed for extending God's kingdom.

The weather remained mainly dry as we carried along the foreshore of the Firth of Thames, which is a large forest of ladygroves instead of a beach and open water. We turned inland to follow the Piako River, and came out the the end of Buchanan Rd at about 2:30pm.Two cars had been left to take drivers back to Waitakaruru to collect their cars, and the rest of us filled in the waiting time by walking along the road almost as far as SH25. Some of us went on to the Miranda hot springs for a welcome soak followed by the famous fishandchipsery at Kaiaua.
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COST: Travel from The Bracken $17
DISTANCE: 13.6km