When will there be views?

(56 KMs)

Thursday 9th March

Tekapo - Twizel

It was a fine and calm morning with just a gentle breeze when we awoke.  As Simon packed the bikes, I walked to the nearby Greedy Cow to stock up on morning tea and lunch provisions.  

By the time we set off round 9am, the skies were looking more ominous.  The path along the Takepo canal was easy riding and we were able to make good time.  It started to drizzle and before long it was heavy enough for us to stop and put on rain jackets.  A few minutes later, I stopped again to don rain pants and change into sandals as the rain settled in, comforted by the knowledge that I would at least have dry shoes at the end of the day.  

The track became really wet in parts and the barriers erected by the power company were not designed for bikes with panniers.  Simon had to manhandle the bikes through most times, only once were we able to push the bikes under the barriers.  

The low cloud meant that the mountains were not visible, and we were pleased we had enjoyed better visibility on the bus ride, so we could at least picture our spectacular surrounds.  However, as we reached Lake Pukaki the rain started to ease and we became a little more optimistic that we may yet view the mountains.

We stopped for morning tea and chatted to a mother and daughter who were five months into walking the Te Aroroa trail, with another five weeks to go.  They had encountered all types of weather, but today was one of the wettest they had experienced.  We were grateful that our wet weather gear had worked well enough that we were only damp in places, though our sandals and legs were wet and muddy.  

Gradually the cloud began to lift, revealing sensational views of the Southern Alps, though Mt Cook remained stubbornly concealed.  We stopped again a few kms on for a toilet stop and got chatting to a Canadian couple who were keen to discuss cycle touring in NZ.

We continued along the lake, appreciating its stunning blue colour. We stopped for our picnic lunch near the Mt Cook Alpine salmon shop where we bought some local salmon for dinner and admired a life size statue of a Himalyan Tahr released into the area in 1904. A few kms further on we turned onto the trail across the MacKenzie Plains towards Twizel.  

Despite the inclement weather, it was an easy and beautiful day's cycling - though we appreciated the opportunity to use the laundry to wash our mud spattered gear.  We did finally spot Mt Cook in the distance as the cloud lifted in the late afternoon.