Published: January 31st 2006January 31st 2006
Lake Tekapo to Buscot Station Backpackers
Well since my last post yesterday I’ve had quite the adventure. Camping at the camp ground was amusing as the minute the sun went down I had a flurry of little furry creatures scampering around my camp. I got up to see who was out there. A Hedgehog was running across the open area. He froze solid when I pointed my light at him and then dashed back into the brush. A possum that resembles something between a racoon and a possum and climbs like a squirrel ran across the opening and bounded up a pine tree only to do a climb across the tree branches to get to any tasty morsels I might have. I remembered the muesli bar wrapper I had in my handlebar bag and just decided to place in bush to keep them from ripping open my bag to get to it.
Morning came at 5am to avoid another hot day. I rode with a woman who is also traveling alone. She is from the Scottish Highlands and is Irish. It was a good thing to have a riding partner today as it motivated me to keep going. We started out with a wonderful tailwind that we thought would carry us all the way to our destination. The winds grew over the course of the day. If the highway turned in one direction we were hit with a westerly side wind. If we turned the other way it was a tailwind.
We cruised down a canal road for the first part of the trip and had our first chance to ride through a flock of sheep being herded by two dogs and a woman. It made me think of Little Bo Peep. The parted and let us pass. We then took the main highway to take advantage of the tailwind. We had about 10 km of good fast riding, then some more climbing to Lake Pataki. There we had a intense view of the formidable Mt. Cook at the other side of the lake. By this time it was starting to cloud up so the view was a bit hazy but the scene of the Southern Alps with Mt. Cook at the end of a wind whipped blue opal lake was incredible. We stopped there for brief time to take it all in.
Then we rode to Twizel for lunch. There were a group of 16 Tiawanese who were cycling for a month in New Zealand. Their coordinator wanted us to give a talk about women traveling on their own since it is something women just don’t do in their culture. We had to leave before we could but I’m sure I’ll see them again.
From there we started on our last leg to Buscott Station. A backpackers in the middle of nowhere. I was told about it at a cyclist’s hostel. It’s a gentleman who opened his house to backpackers and other travelers. 38km and we would be there. Then the wind hit. Gale force. A knarly headwind that made the gentle downward highway feel like a climb to a pass. The sideways gusts blew me off the road a couple of times. By the time we reached Buscott Station we were both ready to be done for the day. My riding partner, whose name I can’t spell, said well at least we have a tail wind for the last 1.5 km up the driveway to the house. I said, ya but that tailwind is getting a bit brisk. We arrived like greatful travelers happy to be out of the coming storm. The wind howled and was blowing everything sideways. We decided we would take a bunk tonight instead of pitching our tents. Good idea.
The house is a beautiful newer farmhouse and we have access to a full kitchen and comfortable livingroom. Its very relaxing. There is a British couple here as well and we’ve spent the afternoon swapping traveling stories.
The wind has died down now and the sun is back out. With the sun is a return of the intense heat we’ve been having. I’ll wait until tomorrow to decide whether to bus it to the Otago Rail trail. I’m ready to leave the desert behind and return to the coast.
This is an interesting cycling trip. Instead of thinking in miles I’m thinking about weather conditions. Is it a Northwesterly wind or the Southerlies? Do I need to get up at 5am to beat the heat. On the west coast I’m sure it will be whether its going to pour down rain or blow like a banshee. Its challenging but also excillerating to find ways to adjust to the unpredictable weather. As they say in New Zealand you can have all 4 seasons in one day.
All for now.
Backyard Adventure Girl