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Old 01-26-2013, 01:42 PM   #16
grizzzly
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i am digging that country
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:01 PM   #17
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Cheers guys!

The next day I cut south to Fairlie to meet up with Chris (a different one) All the rain in the hills had shut down most of the tracks in the area we were thinking of exploring so we headed for the Ahuriri valley access which is largely river crossing free. First up it was over MacKenzie Pass to the Haldon arm of lake Benmore.



From Haldon arm we followed the Tekapo river upstream. Much of the track would have been better navigated in a jetboat!



But it was a warm day so we had fun splashing up the track/river. Chris almost drowned the 690 in one section, somehow I managed to waddle through ok.



It's a neat trip up here & would be an easy ride with normal lower summer river levels.



We popped out in the back of Tekapo village & grabbed a late lunch before continuing south on the highway.



Just before Lindis Pass we turned off up the Ahuriri.





Most of the trip so far has been in the relatively arid eastern side of the South Island but here we are getting into the mountains of the Main Divide & closer to the west coast, where the prevailing westerlies dump all their rain on the way over. We reach our destination for the night, Ahuriri Base Hut.



We settle into a couple of beers & some dinner & watch the light fade from the hills.



It rains most of the night but is clearing up by morning.



Note white stuff on hills that wasn't there yesterday. Gotta love the scorching South Is summer

We head up the valley a few km to take in the view from the road end. The track gets a bit rougher up here.





We backtrack to Omarama & shoot into the clay cliffs for a look.





After a coffee at Twizel we take the scenic route up the side of Lake Pukaki.



Most of the lakes around here are glacier fed, hence the spooky blue glow. The gloom in the hills doesn't bode well for our afternoon plans for a ride up the Macaulay river, so after a pie in Tekapo (& a trip back to Twizel for me cos I left my backpack behind) we continue to Fairlie. Chris's parents have a very nice place on the edge of town & I was lucky enough to stay there for the next few days, thanks guys! We review some footage, watch the rain fall in the hills & kick back on the couch.



Next up: Offroad in the Orari.
Clint
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clintnz View Post
....



It's a neat trip up here & would be an easy ride with normal lower summer river levels.. . .
Umm, "normal lower summer river levels is a bit of a misnomer. In those parts the spring/early summer snow melt and rains means hydro lake levels are usually very high come the new year so hydro dams spill water down the normally dry river beds hence the water you found. I had to cancel a leg up the side of the Pukaki Riverin 2011 because Pukaki dam was spilling. 2012 had Benmore spilling during the DB as well.

Subject to localised rain, autumn or winter are are probably better times to explore the Tekapo and Pukaki rivers.

Cheers R
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:21 AM   #19
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Cracking picture that Clint.

NZ is a place I'd dearly love to go ride in. Some day.

Thanks for this report.

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Old 01-30-2013, 06:26 AM   #20
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Heya Clint

For the first time on our trip I feel a l m o s t home sick .... looking at those pics brings back all the memories of home ... loving it mate !!!
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:37 PM   #21
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The Friday before the Dusty Butt Chris & his bro had organised a ride through one of the local stations down the Orari gorge. A few of the local boys were coming along & we were hoping to meet up with a group we knew were taking the scenic route from Christchurch to the Dusty Butt kickoff in Fairlie. First up however was some maintenance down at the local garage, run by Chris's bro & father.



With my flaky GPS power connection fettled & Chris's 690 re-tyred & serviced we headed for the hills.



The other guys all had dirtbikes so we waited for them to arrive & unload then splashed through the river & onto some fun farm tracks.





They would have gone through a few cases of gelignite & a few dozer blade corners pushing this track in.



We try to loop back on some dodgy track but it gets too sketchy even for the light bikes so we turn back the way we came.



On the way back we meet with the Chch crew who are taking a different route again.





Back at the river crossing we meet up with the Chch group again, they are having a conference on the best place to cross. Having already scoped that out on the way in we plunge straight in & show the way.



Back at the trailers we stop for a coldie before heading back to town.



A big thanks to Chris & co for the tour guiding over these few days!

That night was the DB1k ride briefing & dinner. A great feed was put on by the rugby club & we enjoyed a few beers with friends from all over who had come for the ride. Numbers are capped at 150 riders & that limit had been reached a month before.

The idea of the Dusty Butt is to ride a set 1000km route in a weekend (or 24hrs if you are really nuts) The route is laid out to take in a very indirect ride, with as much gravel & 4x4 track as possible, between Fairlie & Alexandra on day 1, then back to Fairlie day 2.

Much of the route is public access but with a few key sections linking it all together where permission is required. CooneyR has organised the ride for the last few years & either a roll chart or GPS route can be followed. I had both.

There are also 3 optional challenge sections that can be bypassed by saner types or those on big bikes. This was to be my first run at the DB1k, I had ridden parts of the route before & was looking forward to revisiting those places & riding some new ground like the Awakino Saddle challenge section that I had heard so much about.

With a room booked in Alex I packed the minimum of gear on the 640 & set my alarm for 0530.

More soon
Clint
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:04 PM   #22
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Chris wasn't having any of a 6 am start so I headed off on my own at dawn to the route start in downtown Fairlie.



Somehow I missed meeting up with McCardigan & Nic as planned so I gassed it out of town, splashed down into the Opihi River with great enthusiasm & made it through several gnarly crossings on my way downstream before realising I had fudged the nav & missed the rather obvious exit The perils of getting going early before there is much of a beaten path!

After that my navigating went much better & I passed several groups of riders milling around looking lost as I cruised east into the rising sun. The track was through farmland along the top of a ridge for a long stretch & the views were great. After Waimate I had just assumed the route went through Myers Pass but in fact it was much more interesting than that with a neat section through forest & remote farm tracks.

At Kurow I gassed up & called in at the cafe just east of the servo to have the best flat white I have ever consumed & a choc muffin that was also pretty impressive. Then it was out the back streets of Kurow & into the infamous Awakino saddle challenge section.



I know for those in places like Colorado & the Himalaya 1000+ metres of steep, rough, rocky climb is just a quick trip to the shops for milk but here in NZ it's quite a novelty to just keep powering on up & up so far into the mountains. The first tricky bit up a scrambly climb takes me by surprise so after making a hash of that I swing into attack mode a little more & keep the pace on whenever it looks like an ounce of momentum might be needed.



The top of the pass is at about 1450m. I'd love to know what possessed some mad bastard to drive their bully over here but I'm not complaining. it's a great ride & a great view.



Going down the other side things get rougher, steeper & rockier. While bouncing down one nasty section, not entirely in control, the bike ricochets from one boulder to the next with some big crunches. I had meant to make myself a bash plate for this sort of stuff but had run out of time before the ride. Luckily the big hits haven't been on anything fragile so I carry on.





The slightly recursively named Hut Creek Hut.



From here the track looked a bit more worn so I thought, maybe things get a bit less gnarly from now.



Wrong!



It's demanding, but fun riding through here. A couple of fairly decent river crossings were knocked off. I didn't encounter too many other riders through here but a was good to see some guys at both the crossings & both times they pointed out the best line. I dropped the bike in one bouldery crossing but luckily she didn't suck in any water & I was able to get upright & carry on. Then there was a lot more up & down before I got to the Ida Railway Hut:



This is the old Ida Valley railway station. About 30km & 1000 vertical metres away from the old railway line it once served. How did it get here? Refer thread title. Under the direction of some farmers who lease this part of the reserve for grazing, it was sledged up the hill (that I am about to descend) by two mad buggers on bulldozers to extend the existing mustering hut. Locally known as 'Inder's Castle' after Laurie Inder who led the project. I know this 'cos it features in a very cool book I got given for Christmas, 'Shelter from the Storm' - a history of NZ's backcountry huts. After a short break & a snack I continue on across the tops. I think that if they towed a bloody railway station up the rest of the track then maybe things get a bit more cruisy from here? Not really.



There are still plenty of ruts, rocks, mud & bouldery hills to come.



Hey! An old road sign, the track probably gets a bit more laid back from here? Nope.



This is around the highest point of the ride at around 1650m on the Hawkdun range. Then the track plummets down a spur into the Ida Valley.



As if rocks, mud, ruts & rivers weren't enough to worry about, near the end of the track I discover I should have been on the lookout for unexploded ordnance as well!



The 70km from Kurow took about 4 hrs & was great fun & a good workout. Apparently there were a couple of bikes left to be recovered another day & more than a few drowned in the crossings in there. After that it was nice to take in some easier tracks down through the valley.



Yeah Right.



By the time I got to the Poolburn pub I was well ready for a beer.



From here it was across to the Thompson Gorge Road, a neat cut through the hills to the west. There are lots of gates though, I was lucky to join in with a group through here so we took turns at opening & shutting. The big upside of doing the ride solo is the lack of dust, but you get good at off, open gate, on, through, off, close gate, on.... ride, repeat.



A highway section south then the route heads up the Carricktown track to the Nevis road.



After that it's back down the start of the Nevis & along the Hawksburn Rd to Clyde, then a short bit of highway to Alexandra. I get in about 5pm. It's been an exhilarating & slightly exhausting days riding. I get cleaned up & installed in the pub & swap stories with the riders already there & the others that continue to roll in into the night. We down beers until way too late given the planned early start the next day.

Day 2 of the Dusty to come.
Clint
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:47 PM   #23
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:54 PM   #24
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Clintnz,that was a O for orsome
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:00 AM   #25
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Now I want to go back and do the bits I've missed out on. I'd need a couple of helpers for picking up the bike and dusting me off or drying me out, or both, but otherwise I am keen. Great report.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:45 PM   #26
Daanbanaan
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Great report, bringing back all the good memories of NZ.
Hopefully I can go back some day
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:53 PM   #27
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Nice!!!
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:02 PM   #28
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good effort clint.
i have done some of those roads and for sure it is gods own country, homesick.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:59 AM   #29
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Xlnt, Xlnt RR..hope you will do more
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:07 PM   #30
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Cheers Guys

While I get the last of the pics sorted, have a look at Chris's footage from the Orari:





... and Transalper's excellent vid of the action from the Dusty Butt:



Cheers
Clint
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