21 July 2016

A sneaky mission in the Kaweka range

Yet another of Sanga's grand plans was to do an over night trip in the Kawekas the day before flying out to the USA to meet up with a group of friends to raft the Colorado River down the Grand Canyon. With timing a little tight and it being one of Sam's grand plans I agreed with a bunch of skepticism as to how this was all going to come together. Small details like the weather being nothing else but perfect, not breaking myself before a big trip, and whether I was fit enough after just spending three months on a ship. But like I said, small details!

This was looking like it was going to be quite the adventure. I had two days between finishing a kayak camp and catching a plane so for this to work everything really did need to fall into place. Of course it did. It all started fairly early in the morning with meeting a friend of his who helped us drive a pretty long shuttle which saved us loads of time at the end of the trip. Cheers Rick! Once the shuttle was set we started riding. About 10 minutes in we started walking, and about 10 minutes later our bikes were on our shoulders. 
Tim and Sanga grinding their way up. 

The trail was steep, steppy, and dropped away a couple hundred meters down to the bush line so it was a little hairy at times but we were promised some of the most amazing riding we could imagine so we grit our teeth and got on with it.

Sanga up in the tussock. Nearly at the top..

Once we reached the top of the ridge we were instantly rewarded with views out over the Hawke's Bay toward the Pacific ocean out one side, and out the other was a view of the Central Plateau with Mt Ruapehu, Ngaruahoe etc. Spectacular to say the least.

Sanga and Tim happy to be on their bikes finally letting gravity do the work.

Now on the main ridge, the real reason for all that work was obvious. Pick a low point and ride at it. With it just being what's called a 'polled route' up there, we could be creative with our lines riding the scree and trying not to cause too much damage to the tiny little plants, ourselves, or most importantly our bikes.

Sanga and Tim pickering their lines through the loose/ rocky/ planty terrain.

Sam with more ridge.

Tim and I with more ridge

More ridge.. Some spots were a tad terrifying because A) It was loose as fuck and B) If you blew it, it was a loooong way dawn!

After a good day of busting ass and riding some ridge lines that just went as far as you could see we climbed down off of the main ridge to our amazing accommodation for the night. A little 4 bunk hut in the middle of nowhere.

Couldn't be more happy with myself after a great day, and the next was promised to be even better.

Hiking my bike back to the top of the main ridge.

As you can see, just a little steep.

As the day went on we began to find our rhythm skidding and wheelying our way down to the bush line.

Me terrified

After an hour or so on the ridge the bush line was within reach. Down down down 

Once we made the trees, the surface changed from rocky to beach forest which was like riding through a layer of cornflakes. Bliss! But a little too dark and too much fun to bother taking any pictures.

Before we knew it we were back in scrub and therefore nearly back at the road. This section was different again and terrifying in its own way as it was still steep, there were still corners, and the surface was either slick clay or slick clay with loose little rocks like marbles..

Tim and I trying to stay on the trail and on our bikes.

Over the two days we covered a few Km's, sweated, swore, laughed, and rode it one of the coolest spots in the North Island. Not for the feint hearted but I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Thanks to Sam for dreaming up another epic mission and I even managed to catch my flight!

If you're interested on coming on a mountain biking trip with me check out my tour company.

No comments: