Day 121-122. Riding a bicycle for a change – Twizel

A 57 km walk with nowhere to camp or stop was too much for this old bird ( and the majority of the young chicks too) so I hired a bicycle and a pack transfer to Twizel. $67 well spent.

The day was one of the best I have had on the trail. The sun was out, the ride flat and easy, the view of Mt Cook (NZ highest mountain) for the whole day. I loved the day. It brought back fond memories of the good times Garry and I had cycling.

The trail followed the rivers and canals that feed the Lake Tekapo Power Station. I thought about my Dad,(now 90 years old) who worked in electricity all his life and part of it in the South Island.

Canal furniture if turquoise water.

Today passed the 2,400 km mark with some pride at what I have achieved, some excitement about being close to going home to my family and friends and some sadness about the trail drawing to an end.

2,400 km mark

On the canal there were Salmon farms which I didn’t know existed in New Zealand. I stopped for half an hour and chatted with the wife of a man fishing for the ones that got away from the farm. They had returned from teaching in Brunei since 1994 to find that the only place in New Zealand that they could afford to buy a house was Waimate. She was keen to chat and I was keen to give my bum a rest. It us not used to a bike seat.

Then I stopped for lunch at the edge of Lake Pukaki . The view was hard to leave and my lunch really nice. Then along came another cyclist ready for a chat. This lady was o holiday with her bicycle on the back of her car and her pack and boots in the boot. She left saying that she had picked up some really good life options from me. There are a lot of single, older women like myself around who gave seen the kids off and find work no longer interesting or necessary.

Best cafe on the trail. Mt Cook in the background

Then a kiwi couple in early 60s arrived on their electric bikes. They have the aim of riding all the cycle trails in NZ before they are no longer able.

So eventually I was on my way again and came across a carpark full of tourist buses, campervan and cyclists. I queued up for the toilet and ended up talking to a NOBO who was also cycling this leg. As usual we had questions for each other about what was coming up.

Needless to say my 57 km ride took me quite a while to finish. But by mid afternoon I was in Twizel and reunited with my pack and a few other TA walkers at the High Country Backpackers.

Anouk and 3 guys walked through the night taking 15 hours and when I met up with them the next day the guys all looked worse for the wear. Anouk looked good as usual. We kept banging into each other during the day and had a couple of ciders at 4.30 to catch up on our adventures.

I know I made the right decision to ride this section.

I have had a rest day today before I head off for the last 600 km of the trail.

For years I have imagined and day dreamed walking this trail. Now I am nearing the end of it and I have no inclination to day dream about the future after the trail. This era will end and the next will begin. Until then it can stay definitely in the future. I am only here now.

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