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7 Day South Island Adventure Ride

After 18 days straight getting on top of massive issues at work I could finally take some time off and get out for a ride. The weather was looking good down south so a route was created, the bike was packed and I was off...

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The day was a minta, cold, but I was spoilt with blue skies as I headed through Burkes Pass and down to Tekapo
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After a fuel up for the bike and myself it was up Lilybank Road towards the Macaulay River crossing and the Godley River Track
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A sight not too often seen, farmed Himalayan Thar
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The Godley River track is an open windy track with lots of small natural whoops... good fun!
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Being winter the water was right down with most of the crossings around axel height
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Progressing up the track a few scree fans made you work for it with the numerous boulder sections
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Sooner than expected I arrived at Red Stag Hut. With time up my sleeve I thought I'd head to the Godley/Lake Tekapo confluence to squeeze in a fish for an hour or two
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That plan was rudely interrupted by a flat
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No fancy shmancy trail jacks here folks, on the side she goes
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With not really enough time for a fish I setup camp and chilled out for the evening
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The next morning brought another mint day
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It was off to Lake Pukaki via Braemar Road, those that did the 2011 DB1K will remember this one
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Ok, I won't touch, I promise!
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The milky glacier water of the Tasman River
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Got ya!
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Lake Pukaki
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Next it was off to Lake Ohau. With almost no wind it was a nice ride all the way, over this crest I got the first glimpse of the lake
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The gravel section along the borders of Lake Ohau is really nice, my only concern at this stage was the dubious looking weather I was riding into
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Progressing up the 4X4 section there were a few drops of rain that had me a little concerned, I know that this river can quickly rise and become impassable so I needed to be cautious
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Arriving at Monument Hut where I would stay the night (with 2 friendly Czech backpackers) I resisted the urge to lighten the load and kept everything onboard as I progressed up the valley just in case I needed to retreat to higher ground and setup camp further up.
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The track chopped in and out due to wash outs so was a good mixture of fast paced stuff and techy stuff
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Only a couple of K's up I came to the unambiguously named, Red Hut
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From Red Hut, up the true left of the Hopkins is about 8km of good track before dropping back down into the riverbed again
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The rivers were fairly swift once they got to tank-base height and pulled on the bike pretty hard so a downstream tact was essential on all the crossings
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After the crossing in the above pic I took water into the carb after a Y joiner gave up the ghost. After draining the water from the carb and a bit of hose rerouting I was away again
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Elcho Hut
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To get from Elcho hut to Culler Hut was only a matter of 1.2 km but it felt longer than that, the photo does not do this justice as there were some seriously hard work sections across the rocky Elcho Stream fan
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Cullers Hut
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After reaching this hut it was time to push back, luckily the weather held out and it was a safe crossings all the way
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The next morning brought more good weather and stunning un-clouded views of the valley
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Lake Ohau
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A lot of roads along canals were traveled as I headed north again
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Batches and camp area at Lake Alexandrina
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This was interesting to see in person, I had read about the volunteer project to tier the Lake Alexandrina outlet to Lake McGregor to offer trout a more stable and usable spawning area. So far the results have been very successful
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The cloud formations were certainly something else, again, photos don't do it justice
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Believe it or not, from this point I racked up 500km heading back to Chch, signing some lawyer's papers, and then heading back the next day! Life would be a whole bunch more enjoyable without all this work bollocks!!!
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Heading back down to Lake Ohau on another stunning day, this time however the Dobson River was the destination, but not before...
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...the second puncture...
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...and then the third! For this one I was close to the Tekapo service station so it made it a little easier and quicker with their air
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The two flats made for slim time to meet the land owners and make it to Station Hut before dark
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Station Hut, with a toasty warm open fire
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The next morning was exploring up the Dobson
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A bit more snow was seen up this valley
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Kennedy Memorial Hut
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Heading back out again
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Back down the true right of the river is Grough Hut, a cold little hut with no fire
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Along the road out (Glen Lyon Road) there are sections that stay in the shade and are frosty and icy pretty much all winter, makes for some interesting cornering!
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Back out into the sun and heading to the Rangitata to head up the Havelock River Track
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These short winter days sure pushes you for time and I had to camp up 50km short of the intended hut for the night right on dark
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As morning broke I packed up my frozen tent and headed back to the main road along super slippery iced-up rocks, it certainly got the muscles woken up and working!
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Not too long into the ride I dropped into this thick ice cold fog
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Although I was all geared up and toasty, regular stops had to be made to scrape off the ice forming on my visor
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As I broke out of the fog I saw I was not alone in enjoying the morning sun
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Starting up the Havelock River Track
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The open stretches are serious fun, nice and twisty with plenty of natural whoops
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There was a fair volume of water coming down but crossings were very safe at most tails
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Black Mountain Hut
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Arriving at the destination hut at 12 I decided to throw on my walking boots and walk up the Forbes River
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About 4km up I made myself a pozzy and glassed for Thar over a period of a couple of hours, none to be seen though
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After an enjoyable evening spent with 4 mountain bikers the next morning I headed across the river to check out another hut. That was some seriously hard and sweaty work, 1.5km of really rocky stuff.
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Curtis Memorial Hut
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Heading back out again on the more stable 4X4 track the DRZ's clutch started slipping and producing one hell of a smell, it did however hold up to get me out. It seemed 7 days of rough river work finally put an end to it after 36,000km. Out of the accumulating list of mechanical repairs I have on the DRZ to-date I have never been left stranded so I do have to give the bike credit there.
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On the way out I found myself a beautiful spring creek to fish next season
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A final layer change before nursing the bike home and beginning the next lot of repairs