Friday, 10 February 2012

Day 2 - Acheron to start of Wharfedale

Hurunui Cafe
Bike at The Brothers
Tent at start of Wharfdale
Up at 6am, resisted another one square meal and took till 6.50 to get everything packed before heading round to Jollies pass and a fast descent to reach Hanmer just after 8am. Noticed a few bikes at the bakery and found Alex, Jonty, Andy King and Jeff Lyall just finishing breakfast. They headed off (never to be seen again by me) as I settled down to a solid breakfast of Muesli, pastries and coffee. Then off (one hour after the others) for Hurunui. Here I made my second mistake - perhaps it can be blamed on age and forgetfulness - 5km down the road, halfway to the bridge, I realised I didn't have my daypack with my water bladder and bike tools so I turned around (now uphill and into the wind) back to the bakery where much to my relief my gear was still sitting on the seat. Only half and hour wasted but made me realise how easy it is to loose focus. Chocolate milk at Culverden and then timed my approach to Hurunui to have a solid lunch of pie and salad and cake plus some spare savoury scones for later (No more OSMs!). Topped up on water for the next big push through Macdonalds farm and the Lees valley to the Wharfedale Hut (so I hoped). Heading down the gravel roads inland from Hurunui I encountered young Owen and Mick finishing up lunch on the side of the road - so we carried on together towards the farm. On a steep descent just before the turnoff Owen broke a spoke. Thinking they would catch me up quickly I carried on to Clarke Hall road as indicated by the topo map and instructions. Eventually after some discussion with the local farmer I was convinced both the map and cue sheet were wrong and cursing Simon I headed back uphill and eventually found the farm entrance. Over an hour lost here for me but someone with a GPS had arrived just after the youngsters and I separated and they realised the map error and were now an hour ahead. Back on my own I worked my way through to The Brothers and on to the Lees Valley gradually regaining my composure with the opening and closing of each gate. In the dusk I almost missed the turning to the access track to the Wharfedale so decided to camp at the last gate - not realising straight away how viscious the sandflies were at this point. Spent a peaceful night in thick drizzle but my tent kept the rain and insects out. Another 170 odd km completed - reasonable progess for me.

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