I wasn’t sure if I ever woke up this morning because the day played out just like a dream.
I sailed out of Twizel across fog so thick it wrapped me in my very own invisibility cloak. Anne of Green Gables played and kept that whimsical feeling alive in my brain. Lake Pukaiki appeared not dark and rippling but neon aqua blue and still as a library. The information centre lady was glum about the forecast and the Asian tourists were toppling over one another for snaps of the cloud frosted lake. I discovered a canal road less travelled and rode without even the hum and fright of engines. Birds took flight and disappeared within milliseconds. I fell upon the salmon farming Mecca on that Lake Tekapo canal road and passed silent figures connected to the glacial liquid by a line. Beyond this, the road closed to traffic (except bikes) and I sat right in the middle of the road for a chocolate and milk stop and gaped as the sky stretched open its billowing blue and white wings to show the most beautiful mountain range I have ever seen. The beauty was doubled by the reflection in that perfect glacial canal. When fish started lurching out of the water, it was the boiling point for my soul. I laughed out loud and was suddenly completely awake to the world. This wondrous world of ours!
Two mornings ago at a small town hostel, I met that group of duck shooters. They were heading my way, and were more than happy to take my gear and pick me up on Danseys Pass when they were coming through in the afternoon. In the meantime, I had organised to stay at Duntroon with my Aunty Veary’s high school friends’ parents, Norm and Di. After a half day of riding gravel, the farmers found me and chucked my bike in the back with the dogs and the dead ducks. I sat squished between two of them in the musty smelling Triton drinking beer, learnt that they were big time farmers indeed, and thanked the universe for helping me over this dodgy gravel pass that I definitely would have been trying to hitch down regardless. My hybrid tyres just aren’t designed for sharp turns in loose surface. We stopped at Neville’s farm for another beer or three and the sheep dog trainer extraordinaire gave me some new merino socks. At dusk I was dropped to the door of Di and Norms, clutching a fancy bottle of Pinot Noir that came straight from the vineyard of John the farmer to give to Norm for his seventieth birthday the day prior. As small town workings go, they all knew each other from playing rugby and most of the wives play golf together. We established the connections and had a great night together on the dairy farm that is laying under the watchful eye of Elephant Rocks. These are a conglomeration of unique boulders that bare uncanny resemblance to animals. Seals, elephants, dogs, lions and even a reclining Winnie the Pooh are living there at Elephant Rocks. I waved farewell to new friends and rode 100km north to Twizel. It rained for the first part, and I expected it all day like the weather forecast predicted. It stopped though, and today was an even worse prediction that turned out even more sunny!
A woodfire is burning before me, making my cheeks glow. Guille gave me a hostel voucher for my birthday and I decided to use it tonight. I’ve washed all my clothes, hung my tent out to dry, recharged and eaten a pub meal. I’ve booked to camp here tomorrow night after an arduous day of soaking in the Tekapo Hot Springs. I guess someone’s gotta do it on a wintery Wednesday in May!