The last weekend before Christmas last year we thought it was about time to get together for a team training session. Friday afternoon Isla and I were picked up by a very excited Stru (and Nat) and we headed for Tekapo to ready ourselves for a classic Mitch training mission in his wider backyard.
We hit the road on our bikes after a leisurely start on Saturday morning, up the lake towards Roundhill. Gravel turned to single track, and eventually bike carrying terrain as we made our way to Camp stream hut. From Camp stream hut we were able to bike again and were at Rex Simpson hut in no time. Here we filled with water from the nearby stream and began the long uphill ride/push on a well worn horse trekking path up Snake ridge. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to be a free flowing and as ride-able as it appeared, never the less we were able to make it up to about 1700m. We ditched the bikes and headed out for a bit of a trek.
We headed along the ridge to the top of the range and then ducked down to the east side to avoid the wind. Once in the lee of the wind, we descended down to Royal hut for some late lunch in the tussocks. There was not much mucking around before we were going back up again, via part of the Te Araroa trail, then cut across a Boulder field round the side of Mt Hope. Mitch had a bit of a run in with a rock which sliced quite a deep cut in his shin that needed some attention. Stru came to the rescue with his company issued first aid kit and patched him up best he could.
Daylight was now starting to become an issue, and we quickly made tracks to our bikes for the crux of our mission, biking down snake ridge! It was definitely worth the push up, it was almost all ride-able, quick, interesting and fairly spectacular with a good view of the lake as we cruised down the hill. There was just enough daylight left for us to drop in and visit Mitch’s Dad with some tramping clients at Rex Simpson hut for cup of tea. Then a short hike over the hill to Camp Stream hut where we met the girls (Nat, Anna and Rachel) who had tramped into to meet us. Nat set about work on Mitch’s leg (she is a doctor) which provided much entertainment to all those that were camping out at the hut.
It wasn’t the warmest of nights, especially for summer, but we all survived ready for the bike/walk out the next morning. The walk back up the hill definitely felt worth it for the ride down the Richmond trail in the tailwind, the precursor of some bad weather making its way down the lake. It was this ride back into town that made me realize the the hard tail was not going to cut it for Godzone and I think I need to go to Full Sus!