When your horse develops, mysteriously, a sore back, however, it's not so easy to fix. In fact, it's not possible at all. So poor old Shine was on the end of a lead rope today, and I'm on just two feet for the rest of the trek. These things happen, with horses. And it was fun while it lasted.
The cyclists have no such problems, machines of metal and rubber being so much more straightforward than living things. Not that the cyclists are not living things themselves, of course: Colin here, who's 74, would probably admit to a few niggles here and there. And then he'd shrug them off and pedal away - his only concession to turning 80, he's decided, will be to buy himself an e-bike.
These guys are the runners. Notice anything? No water! They can't be bothered with clutter like bottles or bladders, and just have a slurp wherever they come across water, like at a farm or campsite. And if they don't? They just go thirsty. Doesn't seem to bother them, even though they've got 40km ahead of them today - that's near as dammit a marathon, you know.
And here go the two walkers, both somewhat stricken in years but impressively lean and fit. "Oh, but I only go fast uphill," protests Patricia, the older one. She sure does. I got left behind very quickly, waving them on when they stopped politely for me to catch up.
Since we're not horses, we were allowed to do the bit that DoC wouldn't let them across, so here is the start of the Coromandel Walkway, which I remember doing about five years ago, and which is full of lovely things. Views like this, for example:
What with visual distraction like this, and the pleasant company of a man from Minnesota who caught up with me (Fargo accents? They were all wildly exaggerated, I was disappointed to hear - though Karl did let slip a few yahs, and oh nows) Stony Bay came up faster than I expected. So did the pick-up, though, so I didn't have time to appreciate that beautiful, though typically plainly-named bay.
This one had to do instead: Waikawau Bay, where the sand was soft and typically empty, apart from one girl under an umbrella waiting vainly for some surf, and the sea was the perfect temperature. I wasn't the only one to enjoy a refreshing bathe - when the horses came in after their long trail back down the coast and over the hills, this one really luxuriated in his hose-down.