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Published: March 19th 2010
A mouse has been into my food during the night. I’m surprised, because I packed everything away carefully into a pannier on the bike which is inside the hut where I‘m staying. I pulled the drawstring tight on the pannier, and closed and clipped the flap securely. But still the mouse worked his (or her) way in.
I’ve had to throw away half a bread roll, which had clearly been munched. Presumably the same mouse (unless there was a full-on raiding party) is responsible for gnawing through the plastic bag containing my porridge and leaving behind some mouse droppings. I’ve checked the rest of my food and my garlic is untouched, so are two bananas, the ginger nuts and teabags and several slices of luncheon sausage. I wasn’t sure about the 250 gram block of cheese, then I realized the signs of gnawing on it were my own. I stopped under a tree in the rain yesterday, and to quell the hunger pangs chewed off a big chunk.
Mousey’s List of Favourite Foods
From what's been eaten in my pannier, it should be possible to deduce the likes and dislikes
of the mouse in residence at Careys Hut, at North Mavora Lake. But maybe he just went for whatever was most accessible.
Wetback Minus Firewood
The hut in which I've stayed the night is a standard, older-style DOC six-bunker with one difference. Not only does it have an open fireplace at one end, at the other end it has an old fashioned Orion stove with an oven. The whole thing is attached to a wetback so it is possible to have hot water. Outside, attached to the porch, is a shower with no door.
The only catch is that there’s no firewood or coal to fuel the stove, and the only vegetation near the hut is scrubby matagouri which is not much use. I guess the boaties and 4WD enthusiasts who reach here are expected to bring their own.
The lack of firewood means the stove probably hasn’t been used for a while and my mouse (I call him my mouse with a degree of affection as he’s the only other warm blooded creature here) has taken up residence in this monster, iron fixture.
This old stove is connected to a wetback. Firewood was in short supply and as a result, the stove isn't used much except as a hideaway for a mouse.
less than two metres from the stove, typing with numb fingers. A couple of minutes ago, I heard a tiny rustle. My mouse emerged from a corner of the stove and sat on top of it surveying the hut. He froze when he saw me and then when I reached for my camera, he sneaked back into his hiding place.
Before he went, I must have watched him for a good 30 or 40 seconds. He was tiny, with his skin stretched tightly over his skeletal frame. I could see his ribs and with more time could have counted them. And his nose twitched in that mousey way we all expect.
Unspoilt Corner of NZ
Careys Hut is in yet another beautiful scenic spot on a cycle trip filled with scenic spots. Looking out the windows, the sun has lit up the Livingstone Mountains, on the western side of the lake. To the south, an overnight sprinkling of snow covers the peaks. In a few minutes, the sun will be high enough to strike the hut, warming it at last.
Mavora’s Cycleway To The Future
I’ve been cold since
4WD Track After Rain
The going was tricky. The options were to ride through and hope I didn't strike a stone or rock that would throw me off, or waste time and probably get muddy feet anyway by trying to negotiate my way around.
I arrived in the rain yesterday. The day began with a ride on the old, coal-fired steamboat, Earnslaw, from Queenstown across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station. Then began a 60 kilometre ride on a gravel road, with just one stiff climb up to about 700 metres.. The final 10 kilometres to the hut were on a 4WD track, where the Beast of Burden and I parted company several times.
The road is destined to become one of New Zealand’s cycleways as the Government pushes ahead with that initiative. By next summer, the first accommodation should be open for business and more and more cyclists will start passing through the region.
For that reason, I am glad I am making the journey now - while it’s quiet and peaceful and there’s just me and my mouse.
The mouse won’t realise it, but in the future some of those cyclists are bound to branch off the cycleway and come up here. Just think of the food they’ll bring! My mouse and his mates will be able to party all the time.
A certain liberty has been taken in telling this story. My
Cycling south from Careys Hut to a campsite on North Mavora Lake.
mouse was in fact, not just one. Several of them scurried round around the hut during the night and at times kept me awake. Cycleclips - Bits and Pieces From On The Road A Great Catchup:
On my way from Wanaka to Queenstown I stopped for a night at Arrowtown - staying with old friends Sue and Geoff. It was a wonderful occasion; a couple of beers in the local micro brewery in the village, followed by dinner at home and a chance to catch up. A fantastic night, never mind that I felt worse for wear the next morning and I spotted Sue sneaking down a couple of Panadol before heading for work. Lightweight Traveller:
In Queenstown I met Bry, a marine biologist from England who is on a three-year contract in Townsville, Australia, studying why the coral reefs are in decline. He was a fascinating, entertaining and enthusiastic type - and I really enjoyed his company. He told me he had his camping and biking gear down to 7.2 kilos (mine is around 26 kilos). His tent weighs less than 1 kilo and yes, he cuts his toothbrush in two to save weight.
Cyclists Coming Ashore Coffee Stops:
Six cyclists including myself got off the Earnslaw at Walter Peak Station. Someone told me that last year 1,000 cyclists took the Earnslaw to access "the back road" from Queenstown to Te Anau. With the advent of the cycleway, many more are likely to do the same.
A man involved in developing the Mavora Cycleway told me they'd been advised that coffee stops every 15 kilometres would be a drawcard. The advice is right, we cyclists enjoy our coffee. However, the thought of cafes springing up every few kilometres in that wonderful landscape seems a shame. Another reason for making the ride now before it all changes. Cyclists Etiquette:
Use the left hand (glove) for wiping snot and the right for sweat. That way when you shake hands, you don't offer up a handful of you-know-what. Hot Drink:
Cold after a night where the temperature has been down near freezing? Try Raro made with hot water. All that sugary sweetness is sure to provide a kick start.
Tot: 0.136s; Tpl: 0.023s; cc: 12; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0182s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb