The ride into the wilderness up into a secluded hideaway was bound to be challenging. It was a distance of 43km gaining an evelvation of 439m. It was hard work.
Of course our day needed to start with coffee. Well, it didn’t really – Gavin and Cindy had provided a sumptuous country breakfast topped with a barrister style coffee.
We rode to the Hokitika foreshore to view the marvelous driftwood sculptures, posed for pics, met up and set off. Our destination, Cowboy Paradise, half way between Hokitika and Kumara.
Again into the forest and this time one section was along an amazing water course, the Kaniere Water Race, originally used for gold sluicing and now part of a small hydro-electric power plant. It was fabulous.
I joined a few brave souls and stumbled awkwardly into the refreshing (ummm!!!) waters of Lake Kaniere. The midges were beginning to make their marks, litterally!
Continuing onward and upward over braided rivers, through livestock paddocks – cattle and sheep and we even spied a herd of wild deer. It was both exhausting and exhilarating.
We had arrived! Cowboy Paradise is an outpost, formerly a small mining community, home of the Trailblazers Gun Club and the location for events such as the Duel Down Under! Complete with half completed hall the center of which had a platform with poles and hats for visiting entertainers. The mind boggles!
It was no surprise when a couple of those in our group found crumbs and hairs in their obviously unwashed bedding. We were roughing it – toughen up! No one complained – exhaustion does that.
The generator went off at 10pm and the association of ancients were bedded down and soon comatose.
The young staff of the two or three German backpackers had prepared dinner and laid out a simple breakfast of tea and toast. It was probably best that we have minimal food as the next section was still higher and even more taxing. At one stage I was so tired I took a detour as my brain just considered it must have been the more difficult of the two options. Fortunately one of the group spotted me and encouraged me down. I was so tired and my gollum voice was now shouting at me… ‘you should have an e-bike my precious!!!’
Finally we reached the summit… Ahhhh… Downhill from now on. Liars!!!!! In mountains that is never the case. There always seems to be hills.
We finally arrived at Kumara and I had a cabin to myself. Omg and a bath!!! I was in heaven.
A pie and a beer for lunch, a Nanna nap, an afternoon wine and we were ready to go again. We were entertained by one of our own seranading us on the piano and of course the color and antics of the locals attending the wedding held at the pub and local hall.
The final day and it was wet. We had just under 30km back to Greymouth to complete the journey. It would be flat. I decided I had the gear – waterproof shoes, pants and jacket. I would give it a go.
It didn’t rain too much and soon we were peeling off layers. the challenge this day was the wind. Gusts of up to 60km/h almost blew me off my bike. Again head down, tail up and into the wind I struggled, completely missing the turn off but ending up at the seaside, not too far from the finishing point. A local directed me into town and I was not worried about missing out on the photo op for the finish. I did it… I was OK with that.Next stop Franz Joseph….