Friday, January 27, 2012

Mokihinui Weekend

 We had a fantastic weekend down south recently courtesy of the imagination of Jonathan Kennett. Jonathan is working part time at the moment for the Ministry of Economic Development on the New Zealand Cycle Trails project. This must be a big push for a self made man who has hardly ever worked for anyone, but he can see the opportunity for big gains for cycling in NZ. One of the approved projects Jonathan is keeping an eye on is the Old Ghost Road. An attempt to recreate and re-envisage the historic pack route route from Lyell on the Buller to Seddonville on the West Coast.

Jonathan's concept was to get mtbers from around the country to converge on the Mokihinui gorge, the northern part of the Old Ghost Road, for a weekend, to open up as much of the old pack track to mountain bike (grade 3) standard as we could. We would then have a few adventures as well. In the event there were over 40 of us that made the trip, with sizable contingents from Christchurch, Nelson and Wellington. With a few chainsaw gangs and the rest of us on loppers, grubbers and the like progress was fast...the 5km to Rough and Tumble creek knocked out in a solid day...and some real mint riding track exposed.

Well known MTBer Dave Mitchell and the lady that is always in his photos
Chainsaw getting stuck into some logfall

Emily "power cookie" Miazga watching people work

Paul Kennet riding a mint bit of track

A track sized whole in the vegetation
The evening was about getting together over a beer or two, enjoying the BBQ put on by the Old Ghost Road trust and trialling the yike bike, which was brought along by one of the Chch guys who is part of the development team. I had a good chat to Joe Arts, who with his caving mates is quietly going about some seriously hardcore exploration deep inside Mt Owen. Hard bastards. The next day we skivved off and went for an inflatable mission, via the track cleared the day before. The lower gorge of the Mokihinui is rather pleasant grade 2+. The 3 boat inflatable regatta went smoothly, although the Penny/Jamie combination did get pulverised at one stage, and Murray/Dougal took a rather lame swim the beginning of which is illustrated in the photos below.

Off down the river

I told Penny it was a good line.
 The Sunday was capped off by a nice run/bike over the Charming Creek walkway to Granity and dinner at the Drifters cafe.We hadn't visited Charming Creek before and were impressed by the history, but a little shocked by the water quality of the cascading Ngakawau. This is a seriously cool river that has suffered from the mining on the Stockton plateau.  There is also a hydro scheme planned here, which perhaps (there are concerns about the ocean discharge) has better environmental outcomes than the Mokihinui proposal.

Thanks to Jonathan for the photos. We have a new DSLR camera the products of which will be revealed soon. I am currently in Christchurch spending some time with family, in lieu of moving into our own house on the 15th of February. Exciting times!

1 comment:

Bob McKerrow said...

It is great to see trails like this being developed on the West Coast and in fact, all over New Zealand. I knew Jonathan well in 1989-90 when I was Editor of NZ Adventure magazine. Tks for the update. Bob