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Remotologging #317

The weather was looking pretty dismal on the East Coast so I planned to shoot over to the West Coast to do some more GPS logging. I got in two really good days of exploring and logging new tracks plus the trip back through Arthurs Pass in the snow was simply stunning…

Photo 1 of Remotologging #317
Warm blue skies while heading to the West Coast and passing Lake Pearson
Photo 2 of Remotologging #317
On the Coast the skies looked a little intimidating but held out well with no rain to speak of
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When exploring some of the back roads I found a spot where NZ Fish & Game release fish for youngins to catch, I stopped for a while to watch a few of them sift around looking for food
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The ghostly remainders of trees at Kapitea Reservoir
Photo 5 of Remotologging #317
Each time I visit the Coast I am surprised to see the number of small hydro generation stations and canals spotted here and there
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Frequently I'd come across stunning West Coast rivers
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With lots of new tracks logged the sun began to fade Saturday evening so it was time to grab some freshly cooked Blue Cod for tea and head to Lake Kaniere to setup base camp
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As morning arrived it looked like a mint day was lined up
Photo 9 of Remotologging #317
Some of the culprits of the noisy ruckus all night, I kid you not this was one of the noisiest places I have camped, Pukekos, Wekas, Moreporks, and what sounded like a hundred other birds squawking all through the night
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After breakfast it was off to explore and GPS log some more tracks
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Photo 12 of Remotologging #317
Some tracks had more solid bases than others, this one was a case of "yeah that feels solid, yep, yep still solid, oh bugger!"
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Pristine West Coast rivers making easy work of picking nice lines through crossings
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Some of the tracks were through forest blocks with great views up and down the Coast along the tops of ridgelines
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Some tracks offered a pretty severe penalty for error
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After a solid days riding and many more tracks logged I headed back to camp for tea and some kip. As the morning came around the skies made it easy to see that there was a lot of white stuff up in the hills, I though it best to pack up quick-smart and get going
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Photo 18 of Remotologging #317
Surprisingly the snow was heavy as far west as Kumara
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Even on one of the first low gradient climbs at the start of Otira Gorge momentum was bought to a swift halt, there was absolutely no way of moving forward no matter what tyre you were running, the wheel would simply spin on a slippery ice packed layer underneath the snow... time to fit the snow chains
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It took a while to fit the chains, enough time to get a blanket of snow on the bike
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With the chains on I was able climb the steepest and iciest sections of Otira Gorge with absolute ease and control, god I love these things!
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Photo 23 of Remotologging #317
A quick stop for a latte and a nice hot pie at Arthurs Pass
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This photo really represents how stunning Arthurs Pass is in the snow, it is an absolutely amazing place to ride in these conditions
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Heading out in the open nearing Bealy Spur I had to guess at the middle of the road as there was an increasing amount of snow settling
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Reaching Cass with 131 km to go!
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Lake Pearson
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The steep climb and last corner to Castle Hill. This photo does not do the situation justice, this fellow lost traction of the snow plough, started sliding backwards with the left rear wheel a mere 1 metre from ending up over the bank. He said a grader was on its way to tow him out and that an underwear change would be well in order!

By this stage, one 4X4 slid down a bank, one snow plough slid in a ditch, and this one nearly following suit
Photo 29 of Remotologging #317
High winds had icy snow ripping across the road, but with extra socks, numerous thermal layers and grip warmers I was toasty warm and comfortable
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Come 7pm snow was still coming down with strong winds to-boot, the chains were not removed till I hit Johns Road about 10 mins from home. This meant from the 270km return trip home over 215km of that was riding in the snow, 155km of that on chains, all over a period of 10 1/2 hours... bloody brilliant fun!!!