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Spring Trip 2014

After finally reaching a completion point in a software project and winding up an eight year milestone, it was time to take a long overdue break. With it being the start of November and mid Spring the weather was naturally forecast to be volatile and scrappy. Regardless, there would still be many good days in amongst the wet and windy days and the plan was to chase the sun where possible.

With that said, the bike was packed and I was off for the start of the trip...

Leg 1....
Photo 1 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Heading south was first on the cards, the weather was scrappy every which way with a big southerly front was pushing in, but there was a little reprieve in the centre of the island. Photo of Arthurs Pass looking north from the top of Porters Pass
Reference Link : SH73 - Arthurs Pass
Photo 2 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
The majority of the first day was spent GPS logging back roads and campsites for the RemoteMoto website
Photo 3 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 4 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 5 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
I had never visited this lake before and had planned just to have a look for a later date due to it getting long in the day. The fine weather and calm conditions got the better of me and out came the fly gear
Photo 6 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Not too long after hitting the water came success, not a trophy by any means but it was in absolute magic condition. Lifted for a quick photo, then set on his way
Photo 7 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
After a great day mixed with both riding and a spot of fishing it was off to setup camp. I had resigned myself to wake to rain with regard to the gale force southerly winds and intimidating looking clouds fast approaching
Leg 2
Photo 8 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Much to my surprise the weather held out right through till the morning just long enough for me to pack up and head off before the rain started. Once I dropped out from the hills I met blue sky and had a great breakfast at Staveley Cafe. The day was then spent exploring back roads and rivers while making my way further south
Photo 9 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 10 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Ain't that pretty ;)
Photo 11 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
A good portion of the day was logging roads in the vicinity of Lake Opuha
Photo 12 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Heading to a potential night's accommodation was brought to a halt. I poked my nose up to see if the Southerly front had come over into the Macaulay Valley. Sure enough it had meaning it would be far too dangerous to cross the river to get up there. With being a fan of staying alive I decided to have a comfortable night in a cabin
Photo 13 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
The night's accommodation
Leg 3...
Photo 14 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Heavy rain and strong wind all night was not all that inviting to go jump on the bike the next morning, but I had a plan to fish water fed predominantly by spring creeks that would hopefully not be too affected by the rain
Photo 15 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Arriving at the destination the clouds almost opened up on my approval. Thanks Mr Cloud Controller =)
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The target rivers were slightly coloured but still fishable
Photo 17 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Some walking between sections was needed but on a day like today ya couldn't complain
Photo 18 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
The tail of this glide was filled with bobbing heads of surface feeding rainbows, it wasn't too long before the first came to the net
Photo 19 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Yehaa =) The other two fish pulled from this tail were also around the 2 and a 1/2 pound mark
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A stretch of water that screamed of holding fish...
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...sure enough it did
Photo 22 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
A beautiful rainbow jack
Photo 23 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Followed by a rainbow hen. As the day wound up it couldn't have been any more successful. A great pocket of weather, a few fish lost but around eight came to the net. A simply fantastic day; sure beats the office!
Photo 24 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Often times I am asked how I clean my gear and stop the spread of didymo as I move between waterways. I have setup my pannier to soak all my gear in a didymo killing solution, then drain bungs on the bottom are released to let the water out.
Leg 4...
Photo 25 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Packing up the tent on another magic morning it was off deep down south to fish an area I have wanted to fish for a long time
Photo 26 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 27 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Along the way nearly all the rivers were blown out from the heavy rain
Photo 28 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Lindis Pass had not only received rain it also had a dusting of snow
Reference Link : SH8
Photo 29 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Chilly
Reference Link : SH8
Photo 30 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Not long after this shot on SH6 the clouds got dark and released generous amounts of rain and hail. On the positive side it gave me a chance to test how waterproof the new Klim Latitude Jacket is. It passed the test and kept me dry and warm
Photo 31 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Getting late in the day I opted for a Motel to shower up, charge batteries before heading off camping for 4 days
Leg 5...
Photo 32 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Making my way into Milford Sound, I took the time to explore all the little side roads down to the rivers that I normally ride past; some of them very scenic
Photo 33 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 34 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
I must have eaten too much for tea last night because my Airhawk cushion gave way
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No probs, a bit of UV cure Aquaseal and we were fixed and good to go in 10 seconds
Photo 36 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Lake Gunn
Photo 37 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
At one of the stops a kea tried to steal my front wheel, luckily I had done the wheel nut up tight enough so he couldn't get it off
Photo 38 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Heading into Hollyford Road, this slip from Roaring Creek was something else. This photo does not do it justice, thousands of tons of rocks and boulders metres high had swallowed the road
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Views over the Hollyford River at the end of Hollyford Road
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Photo 41 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Upper reaches of the Hollyford River
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Heading into Milford
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Amazing views of water bleeding from the rock face between Mount Moir and Mount Belle
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Homer Tunnel
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Homer Tunnel's exit point from Mount Moir. Easy to see why the road goes through it and not over it
Photo 46 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
At the end of road, Milford's jaw dropping sights continued to be hard to capture on camera. The boat bottom left in this photo gives some indication
Photo 47 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
After a great ride and some grub at the Blue Duck Cafe it was time to head out and find a more non-touristy location to setup camp for the next three days
Photo 48 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
As evening was setting in I thought I'd have a quick flick on the river by camp. This turned out to be very successful. I spotted three beaut browns just 200 metres from camp, very pattern selective but I managed to bring two of the three to the net. Both decided to go flying down this rapid and have me chase after them, how rude!
Photo 49 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
This was the larger of the two, a cracking 5 pound brown in great nick
Leg 6...
Photo 50 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
An epic trip was planned for today, a big walk up a valley very few frequent. The alarm sang at 5:30 and with just 3 degrees in the air on went a few base layers. There was a basic "marked" route up the valley which started out better than expected however it got pretty technical after about an hour
Photo 51 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
On many tracks you have to climb around slips and guts so it is common to climb quite some height above the water. The climbs got steeper, many sections over 45 degrees using hands, knees and feet to get up
Photo 52 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
This track was getting insane, it was climbing higher and higher (as per photo looking down to the river). I made the decision to drop down to the river to see how navigable the riverbed was.
Photo 53 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
After getting bluffed twice in some sketchy terrain I finally made it down to the riverbed. It wasn't easy working my way upstream from the valley floor and some of the river crossings were bouldery, deep and swift requiring some careful planning. It did however beat the continual slog of climbing up the ridges and guts
Photo 54 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
The magic views and fishing potential were sure worth the effort
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As for the fishing, well it was outstanding. There were numerous rainbows, all seemed take to large scruffy stonefly patterns and gave great battles
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Time for a cuppa
Photo 57 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Battling another rainbow
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Nearly every pool held at least one fish, nothing of trophy size but all in great nick
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Another rainbow being released and heading back home
Photo 60 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
To navigate the valley up the riverbed a few bluffs had to be climbed over, this one carpeted in thick moss
Photo 61 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 62 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 63 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
After about 10 hours on the hooves it was time to wind up the day and head back to camp before dark, I certainly didn't want to tackle the route out by headlight! All in all it was a magic day with numerous fish coming to the net
Photo 64 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Giants of the forest, this photo does not do justice to their majesty
Leg 7...
Photo 65 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
With a massive day on the legs yesterday the plan was for a fairly casual walk and stalk. The day could not have put on better weather, it was only around 4 degrees but set to get warmer
Photo 66 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
I had a quick look at my GPS to check the upcoming river structure and noticed a small lake around 1.5km away on the other side of the river tucked out of the way. Small lakes like this can often be gems that hold fish that very few know about, but just as often they may not hold fish at all. I couldn't resist, I had to have a look
Photo 67 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
It was a long, slow swampy walk in to find it. Once found, it was picturesque, no doubt, but too shallow to hold fish
Photo 68 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
I followed the outlet out to where it met the river with hope it may hold a fish or two but alas, not a fish to be seen
Photo 69 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Where the outlet met the river
Photo 70 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Although being early on in the trip I still hadn't yet caught a biggin. So from here I decided to set a challenge to walk and stalk up the river and only pull the rod out once I had spotted a good sized fish
Photo 71 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
I walked past a number of smaller fish that would have been good fun, but I kept on walking
Photo 72 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Where the tree had fallen into the water was a beautiful 6ish pound fish feeding. There would have been no way to keep it away from the snags however so it would have more than likely ended in a bust off; I kept on walking.
Photo 73 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Perseverance and patience paid off. It took another 3 km of slowly walking and stalking but I found this beauty! It was sitting in the cuff of slack water actively feeding. A number of fly changes were made and I had to go down to a size #16 for success, but the result was this beauty! The long walk back to camp was well justified
Leg 8
Photo 74 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
After a few successful days with great weather it was time to pack up camp and head off to a motel to shower, charge batteries etc
Photo 75 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
I stopped in to see a trout aquarium with some decent sized fellas in there
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Photo 77 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
A nice hot shower and a comfy bed
Leg 9
Photo 78 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
This day was firstly spent having a look up a river, one I'd never fished before
Photo 79 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Being the weekend there was a high number of fishermen on the river so I thought I'd carry on to Walter Peak for a coffee. On the way I noticed a small brown feeding up this clear stream, so the plan was to grab a coffee then walk this stream from the lake confluence up
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The TSS Earnslaw
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Walter Peak
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Photo 83 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
The wind was pretty fierce on the lake front but up the stream it was pretty well sheltered
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Photo 85 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 86 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
As promising as the stream looked and as interesting as it was to walk up it didn't hold any fish other than the small brown spotted from the bridge. The plan for the rest remainder of the day was to head into a hut and setup for a few days
Photo 87 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 88 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Von Road
Reference Link : Von Road
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Photo 93 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Reaching the hut to be the base for a few days
Photo 94 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
This is a frequent breakfast for riding and camping, before each trip I make up and vacuum pack lots of muesli from crushed cashew nuts, brazil nuts, dried kiwi fruit, bananas, blueberries, cranberries and currants then top with a honey and cinnamon apple pulp. It tastes pretty good and is a fast way to get a breakfast in and get on your way
Photo 95 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 96 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
This day was spent on nearby water fishing. It was by far the coldest day of the trip, strong winds rolled in thick clouds threatening to rain
Photo 97 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
The wind was so intense the lake edge was pretty much unfishable so I decided to head to the lower section of a river that had a gorgy section most likely to be sheltered
Photo 98 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 99 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 100 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
I have fished the upper section of this river which does hold fish however I had not fished the lower section as it is very turbulent rushy water and reputed to not hold fish. With few other options available I thought I'd have look anyways
Photo 101 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Reputations held true, even some of the stable looking pools were void of trout
Photo 102 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 103 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
After walking about 4 km of the river there were no fish spotted but the rain held out and it was an enjoyable day on the hooves with magic views up the surrounding valleys
Photo 104 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 105 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 106 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Back to base and a nice warm fire was a sweet way to wind up the day
Photo 107 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Overnight some nasty weather rolled in bringing snow with it. None settled right at the hut but did settle about 100 metres up
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A fresh dusting on the nearby ranges
Photo 109 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
The weather was not looking flash at all. If rain set in up the valley it can rise Lake levels to be unable to get out so the decision was made to head out while I could and aim to find the sun elsewhere
Leg 10
Photo 110 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
The weather was looking scrappy every which way over the South Island, regardless it was off down south to check out some tracks and rivers.
Photo 111 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
There were numerous wether bombs along the way unleashing hail, rain and sleet. There were periodic breaks though, enough to carry on for a sniff around a few new places
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Photo 113 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
All the rivers however were well and truly blown out and far from ideal for fishing
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Photo 118 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
After reaching Tuatapere (the most south-west town in the South Island) I was held captive for two days in a motel by insane rain, hail and gale force winds. The time was spent adding content to the RemoteMoto website and planning further routes
Leg 11
Photo 119 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
The volatile spring weather continued to bring waves of southerly fronts delivering more rain, hail and strong winds. The plan was to use a friends crib in the Catlins as a base in the hope the weather would provide few good days amongst the wet and windy days. I stayed there for six days and managed to milk a couple of days of reasonable weather. Basically all the rivers were in flood and unfishable, I did however managed to get in a days fish up one of the smaller rivers not so affected by the rain and landed a couple of decent fish
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Photo 121 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 122 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 123 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
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One of the DOC (pest trappers) swing bridges
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Photo 129 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
A feisty brown trout, one of the few taken on a dry fly
Leg 12
Photo 130 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
With more fronts and rain forecast I thought this would be a good a time as any to swing by my base to change tyres, oil etc etc. I enjoy trying out new tyres, for the next leg on went a GoldenTyre GT333
Photo 131 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
I waited a few days for the weather to clear, a great move as when I did head off I got some of the best weather of the trip. Lots of sun, warmth and minimal wind, sweet!!
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Photo 133 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 134 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 135 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
A camp spot with great views. Over the next three days a number of rivers and tributaries were explored and fished. In some sections there was a lot of walking between fish, but it was well worth the effort as I hooked into a number of good sized fish. I did however set a record for the number of fish lost over a period of three days, although are few small and medium sized fish came to the net, I lost some absolute beauties due to hooks pulling free.
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Scaling loose rocky faces to access one of the rivers
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Photo 138 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 139 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
One of the small tributaries
Leg 13
Photo 140 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
After some magic days in the High Country, increasing winds marked the sign of the forecasted front with heavy rain moving in. The plan was to head out, push through the front and make my way over to the West Coast
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Photo 142 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
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Photo 144 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Heading into rain, lots and lots of rain =)
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After checking into a holiday park, a few days were spent exploring new rivers. Some of the rivers did hold fish, some didn�t, but all of them were absolute stunners.
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Photo 151 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Emerging mayflies
Photo 152 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 153 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Some of the access roads to the rivers were fairly sketchy, I sunk an hour of time and a gallon of sweat to get the bike out of this bog, the nearby logs were a great help to use as leavers as the bike sank so deep into the mud I was unable to lift it out
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Toward the end of this leg another front came in dumping huge amounts of rain, this torrent was a small crystal clear stream just a few hours ago
Leg 14
Photo 155 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
The next leg was further south down the West Coast via a few back roads
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Photo 157 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
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Photo 159 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 160 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Camping up in a DOC campsite for a few nights while checking out some nearby rivers
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Photo 162 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
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Photo 164 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
A few fish came to the net, none of substantial size but all with beautiful markings
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Photo 170 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
A misty morning start from a campsite further down south
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Photo 172 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Some of the rivers in this area were outstanding, stunning emerald green pools
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Photo 174 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
Photo 175 of Sunshine, Snow and Everything In-between
As another front rolled in it was quite timely to swing past base for some mechanical repairs, my voltage was dropping by the day and the suspect was the stator
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Checking out a recently reopened valley track
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No chance of progressing further up the valley, the heavy rain had brought river levels up too far but the track was great and will definitely be revisited on another leg
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Once back to base and I pulled the stator out, it was fairly well fried and in need of replacement