Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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Karekare has always been a popular location for the end-of-year tramp and BBQ, and this year was no exception with 14 people on the walk to Mercer Bay followed by Pararaha with navigational exercises, and over 35 people descending on Pohutukawa Glade for the BBQ with the dessert and formal part at the Walker Beach Mansion.

One car load of 5 people left The Bracken at 8am to meet up with the rest of the group at the end of Log Race Rd near Piha for the first of two tramps - the Mercer Bay Loop. An easy walk brought us to a clifftop lookout where we could see the Tasman Sea below, and look south to the broad expanse of sand dunes south of Karekare.
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As we continued along the clifftops through bush we came to a lookout where we could see Piha.
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We finished back at the carpark, then drove to Karekare for our second tramp. Climbing the Zion Ridge Track we were able to look back to the Karekare valley and beach as we approached the junction with the Zion Hill Track.
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We had a short elevenses stop a little way along the Zion Hill Track before dropping down to the start of the Pararaha Valley.
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Foot washing was compulsory as we crossed the Pararaha Stream to have our lunch at the Les Ward Shelter.
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Another group was using the shelter for lunch, so we had to use the seating on the outside. Some of us chose to curl up in the grass.
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Laurie read Psalm 139, a favourite Bible passage of his. This tells us how God knows each one of us thoroughly, inside and out. He knows our thoughts and actions, past, present and future. The Psalm ends with the prayer asking God to search our hearts to see if these is any wickedness, and lead us in the everlasting way. Without any further comment Laurie concluded the devotions with a karakia.
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We went back out to the coast and onto the sand dunes.
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We walked along the dunes northwards to come to the old tunnel that once carried a railway taking kauri logs from Piha and Karekare to Whatipu to be shipped to Onehunga and elsewhere.
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The first of two navigational activities that Laurie had planned was an exercise where we had to measure a distance of 130 metres along the old railway formation at the other end of the tunnel. Some of us paced it out, others used the length of their boots, and a couple used their walking poles.
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Peter then gave a brief talk on what to take in a survival kit, considered an essential item for all pack-carry weekends and longer tramps.
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We returned to the sand dunes for our second exercise. Using compasses we had to find marker signs that Laurie had planted in the sand, using given bearings and distances. There were prizes, and everyone ended up winning one of these. They were gold bars of the type that would be carried back in the tummy, and had been made by Mr Cadbury and his gang.
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Back through the tunnel we went, then on along the beach to Karekare, coming out about 4pm. People coming out for the BBQ only were already at the Karekare carpark when the Ute Cafe opened up for tea, coffee and bickies.
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At 5pm we moved to the Pohutukawa Glade where Laurie set up a hanging barbie from a pohutukawa tree branch. The weather was perfect for an outdoor picnic.
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We returned to the carpark and drove to the Walker Beach Mansion for our pot-luck dessert.
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Linda began the formal part of the evening by inviting Ali to share her tramping highlight, being the long climb up a stream and on to the top of the Ruahine Ranges in Easter 07. She then encouraged us to share things with one another - gifts, cards, phone calls, and so on - before giving a vote of thanks to everyone involved with the BBQ. After Barbara shared about forthcoming Club trips and Lynley telling us about the photo competition for 09, we had a game where we split up into groups of 2-3 people. Each group would take one of the letters of the word Christmas, and do something based on the letter. The C group led the first verse of Come All Ye Faithful getting everyone to stand momentarily whenever a word beginning with C was sung. The H group sang Silent Night but swapping the Silent with Holy in the first line to start the song with H. The R group came up with Jesus as the Righteous Redeemer. The I group described Christ and Christmas as Invaluable. The S group sang Star of Wonder. T stood for trees, not only the Christmas tree but also the trees of the fields. The Mís sang Maryís Boy Child. The A group sang Away In a Manger. The Sís mentioned For Unto Us from Handelís Messiah but that was not really singable, so sung part of a similar praise-and-worship song instead. Barbara concluded the formal time with a clipping from Challenge Weekly called Where Is He? asking what would you do or say if the Three Wise Men came to your house hunting for Jesus. Jesus should be in our hearts. Barbara presented an acronym on hearts - Heaven is a reality for those who know Jesus, we are to Encourage one another, we are Able to forgive others with Christís strength, we Really experience Godís love when as know Christ, and Truly worship Christ from our heart, and we must Spread the news of Christís redeeming love. Barbara finished with a saying that mentioned our greatest need being forgiveness so God sent a Saviour.  Some of us had brought along presents to share, and those who had done so were invited to select a present from the table.  The presents were a wide variety of $2-shop and other items, including a garden trowel, chocolate, condiments, a piggy bank, and a mystery CD of slideshows.

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We finished about 8:30pm, and travelled home as daylight disappeared and night fell.