Kahurangi Point

Craig flew down on Friday and went biking for a day with Reagan. We all ended up at the flat on the hot summer evening eating pizzas that I magicked up. We packed my car and Craig and I drove to Paines Ford later in the evening and camped at Hangdog despite it being “fully full, man”.

Inge, who Ellen and I had met climbing at Cable Bay arrived punctually at 9am to find Craig and I finishing off breakfast in the carpark. We headed up to the Crag and spent the morning climbing there doing a variety of easy climbs at Track 5. I felt particularly bad at it but despite this it was good.

Ellen turned up early afternoon and we did a few more climbs before heading back to the grass beside the carpark for lunch.
We packed up and drove into the oncoming weather. It changed from sun to grey and rain and we camped North of Collingwood for the night.

The following day we drove across to the West Coast and followed the windy road to the south. The road is interesting. It runs along the side of a big inlet and then through native bush and farmland. We stopped along the way to look at the beach before arriving at the road end.

After the usual gear faff we were packed and crossed the Anatori river at the car park. We walked the short way to the coast and started down the beach.
As the tide was low we could avoid the 4wd track and walk along the beach the whole way. It was amazing. We had big cliffs to the left to begin with and boulders on the beach to navigate. A seal scared us but it turned out it was also scared and made a quick escape to the sea.
We had to walk quickly to catch the low tide at the two tidal river crossings along the way. It was sunny but with a breezy head wind and we were all bare footed.

As we reached Big River it looked like the crossing would be very easy but as we got closer we could see a deep channel. We followed the instructions we’d found and headed up river to the remains of an old tractor where we crossed easily with the water up a little above our knees.
We picked our way around the rocks on the other side and soon found a place for a quick snack. Then it was just a short walk to the hut.

The hut is unusual. It’s a DoC hut but it was the old lighthouse keepers house so it has many rooms and unique for DoC huts, it has a bath.
We were thirsty when we arrived and set up the cooker outside, settling on the benches for an afternoon of lazing. Out came the whisky after cups of tea.
We decided we should try the bath in the evening and that we would need a fire… Craig set about finding bits of drift wood and Ellen started sawing them into small pieces.

The fire heated up our bath water as we ate dinner. We took turns bathing in between drinking whisky. We lit a bonfire outside the hut as the light faded and continued to drink.
We clambered into bed around midnight after a nice evening.

The following day we went for a walk to a waterfall further south, down the coast. We went for a short cold swim in the big pool down stream. It was very refreshing. We then climbed around and the rocky coast, as the waves came surging in threatening to get us wet. The topomap said we were directly below the lighthouse so we clambered up the dubious sandstone and up a steep scrubby bank to arrive at the tall white lighthouse.

After lunch, back at the hut, we walked out again along the beach catching the high tide. This time we had the wind on our backs which made walking easier. We swam briefly in the river and then started driving back. It was already around dinner time so we stopped at the end of a side road on the hill and cooked up some food in the warm evening.

St James from the Rainbow

Georiga, Pat, Benni and I went for a big mountain biking mission down the rainbow road and around the St James Cycletrail. It was a big day out with 12 hours riding (moving time) over 186  km and 3200 metres of climbing.

 

We camped in St Arnaud the night before and got up early and drove to the rainbow. We parked, loaded our bikes, and began riding in the fresh morning. At the toll gate we learned that a freak storm had gone through the night before and the road was washed out in parts. We decided to try our luck anyway and continued riding. Perhaps 15 km further we found the first debris flow that had covered the road in a thick-like-custard mix of mud and stones. We tried walking across it carrying our bikes. It was like sinking sand. There were a number of these sections as we continued South down the road. We found a bunch of sad looking four wheel drivers with a truck stuck in one of the debris flows. They were young guys who looked like they’d had a lot to drink the night before, still not quite awake and in their sleeping bags.

 

We got down to the start of the St James Trail and immediately were joined by many cyclists who were riding the trail as part of a race that happened to be on the same day. Riders rode past until our pace began to match theirs. We cycled down Maling Pass and at some point we left the race. A few minutes later a motor bike came zooming up behind us to check that we hadn’t gone the wrong way, no no, we aren’t racing, thanks. The next section was really nice to ride, single track through meadows with the sun shining.

 

We crossed a bridge later and joined the race course again. The track ascended steeply and it was very hot. Pat and Georgia got ahead and I rode behind a few slow people from the race. We had lunch later beside the track and then carried on to the Homestead, taking a break there to say hello to JJ who’d won the running version of the race.

We joined the dusty road and started riding North. I jumped in the river a couple of times to cool down. I was feeling cooked and slow. I struggled up Island Saddle and met the others waiting for me at the top. As the heat subsided and the sun began to drop my legs came right again. We stopped to pick up the coke bottles we’d stashed in the river earlier in the day, consumed their cool sugary contents and continued riding. The debris flows and hardened by the time we were back and some more riding and we were back at the car after a long long day.