The steepest gradient
Tuesday, 19 Jan, 2016
Alexandra - Omakau
The day dawned very overcast and looked as if it could rain at any second. Jonno was up at 7am to go for a 30 minute run, just to be sure he got enough exercise for the day.
The rest of us were up around the same time, so had plenty of time to get organised and were wheels rolling by 9.30. We made our farewells to Shirley and Ken and took the most direct route to the rail trail.
Jonno was concerned that the track would be straight and boring, so we were relieved to see the track turn soon after starting. It was very easy riding and we made good time to the first station at Galloway, with its ladies waiting room. The views along the trail were magnificent , though many of the hills were shrouded in cloud.
Outside the Galloway ladies waiting room
Back on the trail, the next stop was the gangers hut at Olrig, where we learnt a little more about the trail. This was followed by Chatto Creek, with its pub but very little else. Then we hit Tiger Hill, the steepest gradient of the whole rail trail. By this time our legs had had plenty of experience in steep ups and downs, so this was a fairly easy climb to the top. From time to time rain would threaten but it never amounted to more than a gentle sprinkle.
Olrig ganger hut
The threatening clouds
From the top of Tiger Hill it was an easy 4km or so cruise down into Omakau, and we spotted our accommodation for the evening, the Omakau Batch as we cycled by its back fence. We were in the house by 1pm, and decided that burgers for lunch would be just the thing. We cooked up our venison, red wine and onion patties, toasted our turkish rolls and sat down to a most delicious lunch.
Before we could get too comfortable in our lovely house, rated by all as the nicest place to date, we got back on our bikes to cycle 3km to historical Ophir, once the biggest town in the area but situated too far from the railway to thrive once the line opened. It had some magnificent and well maintained old buildings.
Ophir Post Office
Back in Omakau we stocked up on supplies for the next few days from the very limited selection. Spag bol again for dinner, given that the choice of fresh meat was limited to beef mince and porterhouse steak, which was purchased for a stir fry tomorrow night.
We all enjoyed a restful afternoon, watching the rain come down whilst feeling smug and snug, our riding done for the day. Jonno worked on his maths problems whilst the rest of us read our books. A lovely way to spend few hours.