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Day 22, Franz Josef to Haast

156km 1518m elevation

My shoes have turned. Although I know they were never alive, they definitely now smell as if they have died.  It’s actually amazing it’s taken this long considering how many days I’ve been wearing them, but the turning point was when the shoes hadn’t dried out much for a couple of days on the trot. 

I had good sleep in my cosy bed in the lotus tent and woke up early to the sound of rain. I was tempted to snuggle under the duvet and stay in bed for the day but decided to get back on the saddle. Putting wet cold socks on was the worst part but once I was moving I soon warmed up.  

 I had three decent climbs to get me over to Fox Glacier. It rained on and off for the first two hills but coming over the third the clouds parted and I had a lovely view over the valley bathed in sunshine.  The scenery around this part of the country makes you feel very tiny, there are deep valleys, big mountains, tall trees and rushing rivers. 

I stopped at Cafe Névé in Fox for morning tea and was surprised to see a familiar face. The owner Francois was the skydive instructor who took me on my tandem jump when I was on a Stray bus tour with Natalie. Not surprised he didn’t remember me since he’s done over 10,000 jumps but he remembered my sister, everyone loves Natalie.

I checked all my snacks were in order since I had a sneaking suspicion I hadn’t eaten enough the day before, and the chances to pick up extra food between Fox and Haast looked quite limited. I headed off towards Lake Paringa, a potential stop for the night. I calculated when I would be around 10 minutes from Bruces Bay, and stopped to add water to my radix dehydrated meal.  They take 10 minutes to rehydrate and I thought that then I would have a picnic with a view.  When I got to Bruce’s Bay there was a wee caravan selling food with a cluster of hungry cyclists around it. I couldn’t see anything that could be gluten-free so I ate my radix and carried on towards the Salmon Farm Cafe, hoping they may have something to fill me up since the Radix haven’t quite done the job.

At the salmon farm cafe I ordered the grilled salmon rosti stack. This came out with probably some of the best salmon I’ve ever had, but also the worst rosti. There was a nice salad with it though and after packaged food something green and colourful and crunchy tasted amazing.

I reached Lake Paringa just before 3 pm, and decided to make the push through to Haast just in case the weather wasn’t so good tomorrow. The road felt a bit quieter and without the rain nothing seemed quite as bad as the day before. I had slightly underestimated the amount of climbing required to get the Haast though so rolled into town just after 6 pm. 

I am now attempting to dry my shoes. today my feet were wet all day and I was worried I might end up with Trenchfoot. 

Or just they may smell even more dead. 

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning........

Bruce Bay

Knight's Point lookout

Haast River