Wednesday, March 4th. Alexandra
Well deserved rest day in Alexandra. We’ve mostly been staying in holiday parks which have cabins, tent space, trailer parking with communal kitchens, showers and BBQ spaces. They seem to be in most rural towns and we’ve been paying about $50 NZ ($37 USD) a night for small cabins. Bring your own bedding and towels.
We are also starting to cook more and made large, steak and avocado salads for dinner. We’re slowly easing into budget travel. Haven’t actually slept in the tent yet despite lugging it around.
Thursday, March 5th. Alexandra to Miller’s Flat on the Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold Trails. 51 km dirt.
Started out the day by getting lost on a trail that quickly turned became rocky. King figured it out and we rushed to meet our boat through the Roxburgh Gorge on the Clutha River.
Remnants of the New Zealand gold rush dotted the shores. The gorge is beautiful and remote. Easily done in a day.
Spent part of the day picking more fruit on the trail. Have a bag of ripe elderberries and a new type of apple as well as finding some edible Agaricus mushrooms on the trail. Not sure of the exact species but they smell like almonds.
Best find of the day was a wild plum tree so heavy with fruit the branches were sagging. They were were the size of large cherries and were riper and better tasting than anything from the store.
Friday, March 6th. Clutha Gold Trail from Millers Flat to Lawrence. 47 Km dirt.
Wild elderberries and plums for breakfast 🙂 Fresh picked for the morning table.
Scenic ride still on the dirt and gravel trails, big hills, perfect riding weather. We will be sad to leave the trails for the pavement and traffic tomorrow.
Saturday, March 7th. Lawrence to Balclutha. 60 Km
Today was like the first time I hiked Mt. Kinabalu with my pal Alwin Sulaiman where the weather for the final two hours to get to the huts at Laban Rata was like having a freezing hose sprayed in your face. Or like basic training in the Army where I had to keep repeating to myself, I’m almost done, we are almost there, this will be over soon.
After 5 hours of slogging through the cold, heavy rain, strong headwinds, and hills so steep we had to push the bikes up, we were spent and focused on getting to food and a warm shower.
Just before reaching town, on the side of the wet road and at the end of our miserable day was a white cross. It had some fading plastic flowers at its base and on it, in large black letters was written my name, Mark Thomson. As one does when coming upon a roadside shrine with one’s name on it, we paused in the rain not saying much, not sure what to think, just staring for a few minutes before carrying on to Balclutha and our wet campsite for the night.