Smoothwater Haven: Day 11

Today was the longest journey so far. From St. Columba's Wanaka we walked 21km and biked 28km to this beautiful estate run as a B&B by Bonnie and Susie. As seems to be customary for this Hikoi, the forecast rain didn't materialise and instead we travelled under a warm, still, overcast sky.

All the walking today was off-road but the ten of us who set out from Wanaka still wore the bright yellow vests. They have become a uniform of sorts. Donning one makes you look and feel like part of the team. We took the footpath past Mt. Iron to Wallacetown and then down to the Cardrona River. Following the banks for a short while through manuka and across  some small bluffs we came to the Clutha which we walked beside for the rest of the day.

I have driven the route from Cromwell to Wanaka more times than I can count but the well prepared track covering about half the journey was completely new to me. The Clutha swirls and boils as it makes its way steadily towards the Clyde dam where it gets piled up to become Lake Dunstan. The track, for the most part, follows a terrace perhaps 20 metres above the river. We passed a few cyclists and joggers, including Damon Plimmer who walked with us for a while before haring off ahead to the end of the track on his regular fitness routine. Where the track ends just a little short of Luggate, we made lunch and changed into bike pants.

The ride to Smoothwater took about an hour and a half of moderate cycling on a road that trends downwards. We stopped briefly and discussed the niceties of gear shifting on an 18 speed bike with Phil who had not done a lot of riding up til about a week ago. He is a very fast learner and has mastered it pretty quickly, but on the whole I think he'd rather be walking.

We arrived at this lovely house in the middle of the afternoon. We have got Tash, one half of our new support crew, registered as an administrator on the Te Harinui Facebook page so that she can post photos and stories. Tomorrow is an easier day: it's a fairly flat 15 km into Cromwell. It's amazing how perspectives change. For Phil, John and me there was once a time when walking 15 km seemed a daunting task. We remember it well because it was only a few weeks ago.


Elaine Dent said…
So enjoying your stories! And in the photos, you all are more relaxed. :-) looking so relaxed. I liked your observation about how your perspective on 15km has changed. Hope that happens to me when I walk on sabbatical a year from now. Greetings to my Shalem colleague, John.