After a magical day exploring the Fox glacier walks we decided it was time to skip town. I concluded that due to having a couple of days off and feeling well rested we should challenge our 100km tour record. Also a must do in Fox is the glow worm trail at night. Figuring it would be too busy to cycle the track at night, I came up with a plan to blend the two in the morning. So up at 5.30am and on the road by just gone 6pm we went to find us some glow worms.
Being on the road for sunrise though a little cloudy was refreshing cycling free from traffic.
30km done before breakfast i proclaimed ‘this feel great we should do this every morning’!!
We paused at the start of the Copland Track for some much needed banana fuel, only to get surrounded by sandfly’s. I feel this is going to be an area of hot topic for the next few posts.
I don’t think I have ever heard so much profanity fall out of Andy’s mouth. He officially lost his cool with the sandfly’s and all his toys were thrown out of the pram, he soon gathered them back up though and we went on our way.
Later along highway 6 we stopped at a Salmon farm for lunch, not our first chose under normal situations but with no other options and the promise of ‘clean toilets’ we were sold. There is literally no services, stores or places to pause so we reluctantly bought a hot drink just to get a moment away from the dreaded flies, and sneakily eat our packup. Fortunately the sandfly’s are not an issue whilst cycling, only when one stops does it become a problem. This is the same off the bike. So if you make lunch then eat it while walking around you have a better chance of not getting bitten.
Here we got chatting to a bunch of middle aged folk on a coach tour around the South Island some of whom were into cycling and all of whom were taken at just how little stuff we had with us. Andy tried explaining that we actually had way to much and could be a lot lighter, but they weren’t having any of it. As they boarded back on to the coach an elderly Norwegian couple told us ‘when you get old like us it’s the things you didn’t do that you regret, never the adventures you had along the way’!
Just after Lake Paringa, halfway point for the day, we spotted a tourer at the side of the road his face look familiar so we gave him a wave and a nod as we sped by.
He caught up with us at some road works just up the road and it turned out to be none other then Pepe, the Chilian tourer we meet way back in our first week riding the Hauraki trail on what had been a shake down ride for him for this trip. We were please to catch up and rode the rest of the day together sharing stories and comparing sandfly attacks.
Despite the day not having many major climbs the road was rolling and at one point later in the day we faced three fairly sharp climbs.
The road was very busy with tourists by this time, many of whom where still celebrating Chines New Year (happy new year!).
Stopping at one view point we we were quizzed by a few interested people including a funny Chines guy with a very cool hat and an Italian New Yorker, as to how far we were going, what we were carrying and just what the hell it was that made us decide to cycle NZ!
After pushing hard chasing his shadow up the climbs and not eating enough dates throughout the afternoon, Andy was on the verge of bonking with only a few km to go and it was left up to me to lead our merry band past the 120km mark and into Haast for the evening.
With little chose and the first drops of rain we pulled into the top 10 campsite.
We were immediately joined by Daniela & Stephan aka liegebummler.bike at the start of a 2 year recumbent adventure.
Luckily the rain didn’t come to much and we enjoyed a comfortable night in the airplane hanger style facilities.
It wasn’t just cycle tourers though as Stephan, a German stonemason and keen hiker we had meet in Fox was also there, as were Nick & Claire, the friendly managers from Fox Top10 on a long weekend with their son.