We reluctantly left the serenity and warmth of Tom’s Hut and braved the grey mist. We were aware that it was only going to get worse, but zipped up our waterproofs and headed out regardless. It was just like being in England, but with the phenomenal backdrop of the wet and soggy Southern Alps. The downhill trails made up for the weather though and were thrilling!
After 10k we stopped at Cowboy Paradise, the highest point and traditional halfway point on the trail, to dry out and fuel up. This is a western town that a guy has just decided to build, pretty cool. Though glad we stayed up the road the night before, far more rustic and far more ‘us’.
The day continued to surprise us with each trail being even more magical or having an interesting twist.
On a separate note I do feel like my old employment Dreamwall built me up for this moment. I knew those bog and river walks would come in handy. I was so wet I couldn’t feel my hands or feet and everything was sodden despite the plastic bags!
Unfortunately for Andy this resulted in me singing some old Dreamwall’s classics like ‘singing in the rain’ and ‘princess pat’.
As we finished our last trail Andy was complaining about his bike crunching and squeaking. Due to mine also crunching and his consistent bike obsession i disregarded his worries and we carried on. Further down the trail one big crunch and that was his bottom bracket broken, ohh. So this evolved into a unhappy chappy I ceased to sing and quickly got out the medulla dates.
On the black top into town Bob came to our rescue and offered us a lift on his bus. He was a kind and jolly fellow that had been on many adventures of his own.
We made it to Hokitika’s quaint centre and hoped we could get a day off to explore it fully. The local bike shop took in the wounded party and we left it there to get medical attention. Looks to me a new shimano BB will be fitted since we doubt any bike shop on the West Coast is stocking Chris King parts, all we be released tomorrow…
On arrival to our hosts house Kevin open the door. His huge smile and soft eyes were the welcome we really hoped for after a bit of a crappy end to the ride. Kevin is an absolute treasure with intense and engaging adventuring stories that makes me want to get out tramping. There was also Yan from Belgium staying too and as it turned out he was the apprentice from George’s house in Masterson! Very small world.