Bike Odyssey
New Zealand 2002

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Journal for 10-Feb-2002 : Arthurs Pass Village
Date: 10/02/2002 (Location=Arthurs Pass Village, Dist=40km, Total=190km)
Slept like the dead. No frost around in the morning, so the locals were complaining about how hot it is.

The scenery here is just breathtaking (so are the hills of course). Whichever direction I look, there is a towering mountain thrusting out of the ground, refletced cleanly in glassy alpine lakes. In late summer there is only a small smattering of icy snow on the peaks, and they are rather barron affairs, but impressivly steep and spectacularly coated with tussoc grass and scree slopes. Every so often a gushing waterfall spews out or over one of these massive mountains. After a short time they stop seemi
ng so remarkable. The rivers in the valleys are quite low now, and look more like planes of grey ragged gravel.

Only 40ks today. most of it climbing, but very little net altitude gain. Last 8km twisting over annoying hummocks through attractive beech forrests.

Arthurs Pass village was once a transport hub of sorts, and now is a transfer hub for international tourists hopping off the sighteeing busses and trains (and in our case bikes). We joined the other tourists and hiked up to the spectacular Punchbowl falls, uncompfortably lugging the pies and chocolate slice we'd stuffed ourselves with.

The vistors centre has lots of information about the walks and numerous attractions of the area. Of particular interest to me was the road work on the western descent we're going to do tomorrow. A section has recenty been replaced with a new viaduct built ona ruling radient of 11.75% (1 in 9). This replaced some of the 1 in 6 gradient sections. Now that is very steep. As it's just started we'll be tavckling this in the wet with dodgy brakes. Hmmm.

Breaking News:
We were hoping to be able to get the train back to Christchurch from the deep south (as advertised on the Web) The TV just announced the service has been cancelled, and the last train ran today.

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