30 - 31 March 2019
“Looks like this weather is going to blow over and give us a few fine days for the weekend,” read Bruce’s email. “Remember this is a self-supported trip, so you will need to carry all your own kit and food etc.”
Those who know me won’t be surprised that I had the smallest kit – a small day pack and a bottle on my bike. Bruce had the largest kit and brought a trailer to carry it. I got away with so little because Janie and Graeme were using this trip as a shakedown for a three month US Mountain Bike trip. I used Janie’s sleeping bag and down jacket – she’s taking two of each on their trip. Most of the group set off on Friday, making their leisurely way up the Hutt Valley, with coffee and lunch stops. They camped at the Remutaka Summit Camp.
Leena and I couldn’t leave until Saturday morning. The excitement of jumping on your bike in the dark on a fine, still autumn day – off for a weekend adventure. We rendezvoused in Lower Hutt and Leena’s husband drove us to the start of the incline. Making it to the Summit before coffee and porridge were ready, it was second breakfast time for Leena and myself.
The Rail Trail’s tunnels and descent into Cross Creek are always exciting. After that the feel of the day was delightfully languid. With a slight tail wind, a gentle slope to the coast and plenty of time there was no need for great exertion. We enjoyed the hazy autumn light, views over Lake Wairarapa, and frequent stops – Lake Wairarapa scenic reserve, the lovely art deco Waiorongomai Church and then Waiorongomai picnic site.
We were keen for an excursion onto Onoke Spit. There was a chest deep channel to cross which we managed without getting clothes wet. The walk towards Lake Ferry was full of birds (terns and dotterels) and a welcome break from the saddle. As there was a dangerous drop off and undertow in the sea I had my swim in Lake Onoke .
On our return to cross the channel and reclaim our bikes we noticed a crowd clustering around the bikes. Then we noticed a four-wheel drive abandoned in the channel with the water half way up the windows. We still wanted to cross without getting our clothes wet, so off they came, and we nonchalantly approached the group. They were waiting for the AA to come and rescue their vehicle and were totally cool about our sartorial state.
We raced the last descent to the coast, switched on the shocks and bumped our way to Corner Creek camp ground. Some of us slept on the beach under the stars and others nestled their tents in the manuka. So many stars and a sickle moon, mild temperature, the wind got up a bit, but nothing to worry about.
Sunday dawned fine and windless. This coastline is so spectacularly beautiful, and the track is extremely rideable. I only got off my bike for three short sections. For some short bits, they’ve put in a raised gravel bike path, in the middle of the fourwheel drive road. I’m not sure these will last very long. We all had stories to tell about adventures up the creeks that we were crossing – Corner, Mukamuka and Mukamukaiti.
Wainui Coast Road was reached before twelve. We scooted over the hill to lunch on the harbour’s edge north of Baring Head. And from there home, against a gentle northerly, to various locations in the Hutt Valley and Ngaio. Some of us had shorter journeys than others.
- Party members
- Graeme Cook, Janie Cook, John Dement, Jim Gibbons, Jenny Mason, Bruce Richards (leader), Marilyn Richards, Leena Stowell, Sarah White (scribe)