Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Day 5 - Big River Hut to Murchison

Possible Shelter?
Maruia Saddle

Tor and Owen feast at Murchison

Yum says Mick!
Tor and I seemed better adapted to starting early than Mick and Owen so we were off before 7 on the track past old gold mining works to Merrijigs followed by the fast 4WD track down to Reefton. A hearty big breakfast and a bit of shopping - me to replace a swiss army knife I thought I had left at Sheffield (It turned out to be the old man effect again as I found it in my bag when I got back to Wellington!). Owen and Mick and Julie and Thomas arrived as we were about to set off. As we left I couldn't find my sunglasses - I was really developing a reputation for absentmindedness! A gentle climb up to Rahu saddle in the cool morning air was followed by a rapid descent to Springs Junction and Owen and Mick caught us again there as we had a second breakfast/early lunch. Tor and I pushed on towards Maruia and the Maruia saddle road. Mick and Owen joined us again here. Half way to the saddle a ute pulled up beside us (we were all wondering what we had done) when a voice called out is one of you guys Mike and proceded to hand me my lost glasses. We were all amazed, I couldn't believe my luck. It transpired that Julie had heard about me loosing my classes and had found a pair on the track down from Big river to Reefton and put two and two together so when a guy in Reefton in a ute indicated he was heading in our direction she gave him a good description of us and our route and asked him to give them to us. Thanks Julie and the kind ute driver whoever he was. The four of us (Tor, Owen, Mick and I) cycled on together through west coast bush then farmland in the heat all the way to Murchison. Tor punctured about 4 km short at about 7 pm, but we had decided to have another shorter day but comfortable night ready for a big push the next day. We organised accommodation at the local backpacker and food for the next day and I went back to see what was holding Tor up. It transpired that his zip tie method of attaching tubes had actually cut through his spares so he had had to do a full repair! By the time we got back Owen and Mick had chatted to the backpacker owner and organised a gourmet meal of lasagna and one of the best salads I have had (see photos) and hoped we didn't think it presumptuous of them. Boys that was one of the best evenings on the trip - chugging a corona, delicious food and chatting to the owner about our exploits -  I will remember it fondly for a long time. More washing and organising of bikes for a quick get away in the morning and another good sleep in a soft bed.

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