Saturday, February 24, 2007

Blackballed

That stuff that always happens in NZ, rain, wasn't around the next day in Blackball, but it had been overnight apparently. The book said to avoid the Croesus Track in the wet, but after a quick drive up and advice from the locals, I decided to hell with it, I was here and I'm gonna ride. Another fine decision. The singletrack wound it's way up the old gold mining trail, with the terrain changing between smooth, damp and rooty to rough, rocky and technical. It was great fun, challenging myself in the granny gear for over an hour, but never really feeling that I was working too hard. A couple of sections needed to be hiked, over a few wahsouts, but it was 95% rideable. Finally emerging from the treeline out onto the hillside, I spotted the Ces Clarke Hut, my final destination. I went inside, and wished that I had a change of clothes, some beer and a sleeping bag. The hut was fully kitted out with bunks and kitchen and some amazing views from the big bay windows. It would be great for an overnighter. I read the interesting facts on the walls of the gold rush days of yore, and was transported back in time by the anecdotes. Pretty darn hard men in those days, lugging their supplies up by horse or under their own steam. With a sense of contentment at my own feeble achievment, I pointed the Stumpy back down, and the fun was on again, this time at a much faster, and treacherous pace. Halfway down my rear wheel decided to swap places with the front, and as I watched my knee head towards the biggest, sharpest rock on the trail, somehow the ol Stumpy righted itself and all was well again. The smile on my dial was still there, and then I saw it. Ahead on the track, the magical symbol of NZ, the Kiwi. I was in 7th heaven as it came right up to me as I clicked away on the camera. When I got back to the Hilton and gushed about my sighting, Sue, the owner, said "that's funny coz they're a nocturnal bird". Ohhhkay. I showed her the pics, and she said "what you got there is a Weka". Well, it was cool looking bird anyway, and I wasn't disappointed, if a little embarrassed. Made for a good story though. The night was spent downing pints with Sue's son AAron, his Goth friend Tammy, and Bevan and Claire, two bikers from Nelson (via Ireland for Claire) who were up to do the ride the next day. At 1.30 we dragged our sorry arses to bed, and I readied for the trip back to Nelon the next day. Another great day in "Kiwi" land.
Says it all really....

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Getting sentimental and all nature like in your old age Brett? You'll be swapping photos and bird watching tales over a light shandy and cup of billy tea with uncle Kenny on your next trip back at this rate!

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys

we rode the croseus the other month, it's a cracker.

Yes those men where hard as nails, you forgot to mention the hotel/pubs every 500 metres of so!

That's a weka, not a kiwi, still a cool bird, kiwi's have a beak that just about touches the ground.

Keep searching!

see here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weka
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiwi

brettok said...

yeah, I wrote that it was a weka.... and yeah, still a cool bird.

Anonymous said...

Who is this bird freak that is hassling you Brett? Any1 who knows the difference between a "Weka" and a "Kiwi" and also has the time to add links to prove it, should spend more time looking in the mirror. Then they will see a Peacock.

Anonymous said...

I can't beleive how much i ROCK.....