Cycling NZs South Island #4

I’ve discovered this natural and organic new cleanser. It’s called rain. Four to five hours a day directly to the face results in the smoothest, healthiest, waterlogged complexion and calms the sandfly bites and chapped lips. Only attempt this facial cleanser when in good spirits. 👌

Kate, Lee and I peeled off in our different directions from Pine Grove Motel. I listened to Alice in Wonderland for the morning, laughing out loud in the forest, and stopping along the way at a salmon farm and grabbing some rich pâté for later in the day. It was a beautifully diverse day. Heavy cloud cover, and the dampest, darkest forests. On my regular pee stops I noticed the ground was stuffed with tight red berries and crawling greenery. The forest is truly alive here, swaying and creaking, swirling and breathing. All day, thick cloud ripples and snakes through the mountain ranges in the land of the long white cloud. Distant waterfalls so powerful they could crush bones appear completely silent from the hushing effect of the forest. The trees absorb the energy, the misty rain, the glaring sun and even my movement. Birds sing sounds I haven’t witnessed in other parts of the world. Barely any traffic uses these roads, but these days I don’t feel alone at all. 

I started to feel mentally exhausted yesterday afternoon; maybe because there were no little towns between the journey to break up the distance. Anyway, when I arrived in Haast I was literally exhausted. As soon as your mind gives up, your body follows suite and pretends it has no petrol left in the tank, no matter how much salmon pâté you ate overlooking a dramatic cliffscape at the bottom of the world. The quirky hostel owner couldn’t get my name right, ‘Jack, Jax, just swipe here’, as I slowly hovered my debit card over the eftpos at the hostel and collapsed into normality, complete with a bed, shower and local beer. 

I ran into Emmerson at the hostel and he almost fell over backward. I have passed this soul searching kiwi hitchhiker about four times now, and he is always so full of praise and amazement at my little riding adventures. He couldn’t fathom how I had made it there already. ‘That’s it, I’m taking you out for dinner. Have whatever you want, you deserve it!’. We talked so philosophically that when the beers took effect I wanted to reach and check if he was real or an angel sent from heaven to feed me and test my self development accomplishments. 

The weather forecast today was appalling, but I didn’t want to stay in the tiny town another night, so set off in the morning darkness and rode in the rain. Sometimes misty, sometimes stinging, water didn’t stop falling from the sky until late this afternoon. It was fun and frustrating at the same time. The worst part is that today was apparently one of the most spectacular roads, yet it was so difficult to see anything. Following a glacial blue river, I cycled onwards to Haast Pass, and it was so steep and misty and uncertain that I think it might have been one of the hardest things I’ve done in a while. Just before the pass, I stopped to check out these fantail waterfalls, and saw a huge campervan parked. I knocked on their window and Andrew and Cathy and baby Lily invited myself and my sodden bike to jump in and gave me a lift all the way to Wanaka. This 90km stretch howled with wind and a white horizon. The funky young couple work on Pixar movies in San Fransisco, and were so easy to get on with. I jumped out in Wankaka and used the arvo to sort out the next few days and scoped out this trendy town.

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