We woke this morning to the sound of a trapper heading up into the forest to clear his possum traps.
It was a good thing, as we have had a few late starts and today we really needed to get to Reefton to some accomodation we had booked and to do washing again (it’s one of those annoying things you can’t actually do that easily when you are bikepacking and arrive late like we always seem to).
The trapper casually mentioned that there was rain coming. He may have used some quite strong language when describing the rain which led us to think that it might be worth leaving the jackets out because coasters usually know a thing or two about rain.
So off we went, into the drizzle, thinking that maybe (hopefully) our trapper friend was wrong and this drizzle was as bad as the rain would get.
We stopped in Murchison for 2nd breakfast (of course). We had a conversation with some tourists about our bikes. And we bought some snacks, but not lunch, because lunch would be in Maruia in a few hours time.
Then we proceeded to ride the back road to Maruia over Maruia Saddle. We passed some cheery road workers. We climbed gradually up the Matakitaki River valley on seal, then gravel. We climbed and descended, crossed bridges, passed bush.
We turned off onto Maruia Saddle Road and climbed some more, and passed through beautiful native beech forest. Eventually we got to the saddle and ate the last of our snacks. At about 3 pm. Our optimistic timeframe estimates are really getting the better of us...
Next was a coffee in Maruia, then a chocolate milk in Springs Junction at about 5:30. My parents arrived with precooked homemade lasagne just as we were leaving, so we sent them ahead of us to ensure it was hot when we arrived in Reefton. And it was only one small climb and then down hill all the way to Reefton. But .. in the rain.
We stopped for 2 min to high-five and celebrate 2000 km on the hairpin corner 5 km down the road, and got to the top just as the rain started in earnest .. and every km we went, the rain came down harder.
And then, Eric disappeared. We waited and waited. In the rain.
He didn’t come down the road, so we rode back up the road to look for him. In the rain.
Eventually we came across Eric riding down the road - he had blown another tyre. In the rain.
But he had fixed it now, so all we had to do was ride down to Reefton. In the rain.
We arrived in the dark - you guessed it - in the rain .. and wetter than a fish.
But all's well that ends well, and hot homemade lasagne makes short work of bad memories so it turns out it was another brilliant day completed!
(Thanks Mum and Dad!!)
Total Elevation gain: 1345 m
Distance: 134 km
Time spent on bikes: 7 hours 23 minutes
Max speed: 58.3 kph
Calories burnt: 3972