|Morning in Reefton|
The ride to Big River started as a gentle 4WD climb, but soon got rockier and steeper, at the Big River Goldfields sign a group of DOC workers passed me and told me I was on the right track and that they would see me about lunchtime. About an hour later Paul caught up to me, I hadn't seen Paul since Picton on day one, he had stayed at Springs Junction and had had the benefit of a tailwind into Reefton where I had a headwind the night before, it seemed appropriate that we would meet again in damp beech forest reminiscent of the Akatarawa forest back home. Paul soon got ahead of me, his fixed gear forcing him to move at a faster pace than me, the only time I was able to catch up was on the rocky descents where his rigid cross setup gave him a disadvantage. As promised the Big River hut arrived around lunchtime, the friendly DOC workers were there doing track and hut maintenance, I'd caught up to Paul again, the DOC guys put the billy on and shared their coffee with us. Their hospitality was a delight and one of the small moments that make the Brevet, we left with promises of a downhill run all the way to Ikamatua. I can't remember the last time I had to work so hard for a downhill, the magnificent boardwalk accross the saddle was followed by a genuine piece of jungle riding, including the odd push or carry, in the middle of which I got my second puncture, a pinch flat after hitting a rocky dip a bit hard. The ride out of the Waiuta Ghost Town gave me the closest call I had all week with a vehicle, I got squeezed between an oncoming camper van and a fallen tree that was resting partially across the road, I don't think the driver even saw me.
|Big river Boardwalk|
|The Formerly Black Ball hilton|
Jascksons arrived about midnight, rather than waking up the camping ground I set about finding a spot to bivvy, it had started to drizzle so I was keen to find some shelter, I camped under the awning at the front of the now abandoned Jacksons Hotel