Sunday, 20 March 2016

Hokitika to halfway up Haast Pass, Day 9

Hotcross buns, a banana and instant coffee for breakfast and trying to be quiet at 4.45am so not to wake the others staying at River View Cottages. 5.20am and time to get back out there, first stop was the Hokitika clock tower for a quick photo in the dark yet again.
Onto the back roads for about 5km to the start of the Mahinapua Walkway and as I was getting close to the start of the track there was what I though was a bike light coming towards me and it was. It belonged to Russel Shanks from wave two, I am not sure why he was coming towards me, maybe he had only just missed the track? Anyway we entered the track together and had a bit of a chat, he said that he had no idea where he would get to today, he seemed rather tired and we soon parted ways. The track was not that nice to ride really as it was very corrugated so I pretty much stood up most of the way through here you no why. I was actually pleased to get back onto the tarseal and at some point the route actually headed North back towards Hokitika for a couple of kilometers, this felt completely wrong but soon enough I was heading south again and on my way to Ross. A combination of shingle roads and seal from here to Lake Ianthe where I took a passing photo.
I knew from previously riding down here that it would be pretty much on the main highway and I was trying not to think about what lay ahead. I stopped in Harihari for a coffee and yet another pie and bought some bananas as well. Getting ready to leave I chatted to some travelers from  Gisbourne that new what I was up to and said that I seemed to be travelling pretty light compared to the others they had already met on their trip. I took this as a compliment and I set off, another quick stop in Whatoroa for the call of nature and on I went. It was a pretty uneventful 40km or so to Franz Joseph and I was pleased to get there and have a bit of a break. Off to the Four Square for more supplies and lunch, pizza bread, beir sticks and a tomato or two. I knew from here that there were a good couple of climbs before getting to Fox Glacier which was my next photo stop, the climb's to Fox were reasonably steep but not too long. Once in Fox I filled my water bottles, ate another Almond Magnum and headed for the Glacier on the new track for walkers and cyclist. I have been to the Glacier several before and walked up to the Glacier so I just took my photo for the start of the walkway.
Now it was downhill back to the highway and It would be tarseal for the rest of the day. At some point on this next section I felt pretty cooked, it was hot and I was not feeling that great both mentally and physically. I stopped at the side of the to eat something and there was a small creek that I used to throw water over my head and face. I probably sat here for about 20 minutes, it was around 3pm and I needed to get going again as I still planned to get much further along this journey.

I was still struggling and now I was running out of choices of food, I really though I had bought enough at Franz Joseph to fuel me for the day. I checked the shops and water spreadsheet that someone had put together for the TA, The Pinegrove Hotel didn't seem to be there any more so I was really looking forward to the Salmon CafĂ©. It was now about 5pm and they were closed, not much I could do but keep on cycling to Haast and make do with the little food I had. I finally made it to Knights Point (they should call it sandfly point) and Took my Mandatory photo.
For some strange reason I decided it would be a good idea to eat something here and re organise my bags. Bad Idea this is not a place you want to hang out in thanks to the sandflies. It was incredible how quickly the find a piece of bare skin and not just one, 10 or more on every patch they could find, at least I killed a few. I got out of there as quick as I could in the end and onto the last stretch to Haast and the chance for a cooked meal. It was about 35km from here and I couldn't wait, I got to Haast around 7.15pm and as I was desperate for food so I went too the first hotel I saw at the turn off to Jacksons bay. I ordered a meal, Garlic bread and a glass of coke. Whilst I was waiting I filled up my drink bottles and got the bike and any gear ready to continue from here. I didn't know if there was anywhere else to buy food (I should have checked the TA notes) so I bought a bag of potato chips and a couple of Mars bars for later. I took my time here as I was really feeling the last  two and a half thousand kilometers. I ate my meal, and chatted to some Australians that were on a two week holiday in NZ. It was now about 8.30pm and it was time to leave, about 2km up the road if that, the route led me through the main Haast settlement. I was kicking my self as there was much more on offer but the On the Spot convenience store was now closed. On I went into the night and I had no Idea where I would get to but planned to cycle to 11pm. It felt like I was moving pretty slow now but I managed to cycle about 40km to just before Pleasant flat (I only found that out in the morning) I found a spot down off the side of the road and pitched my tent and instantly fell asleep. It had been another long day about 17 1/2 hours and I had cycled about 325km I was glad this day was over.

1 comment:

  1. Tough day at the office. At least you donated some of your blood to the locals. Maybe thee lack of red blood cells contributed to the energy fade... surelt nothing to do with the lack 325 km for the day or lack of Almond Magnum the day before...