Flock Hill Station: heading for Arthurs Pass

After yesterday's epic, it took me a while to get started this morning, but eventually I had my customary bowl of porridge and packed ready to move out. Not very far though - only to the cafe across the road for the obligatory second breakfast and food for the road. While I was there a bunch of mountain bikers arrived. Some were locals and the others were visitors from Noosa. They were all very intrigued by my touring bike parked outside and examined it at length, one even picking it up to estimate its weight. I learned they were going to Flock Hill, which just happened to be my revised objective after yesterdays fiasco. So we agreed to meet for drinks at Flock Hill.

On leaving the cafe I noticed in the next door park a strange object.
Its almost intact but I think Boofle has bitten off more than he can chew.

Out on the road I decided that the bike wasn't rolling nicely, and stopped to inflate the tyres harder. That made quite a difference, but then followed a number of stops to adjust the Ergon grips and bar ends.

By now I was approaching the pass, and it didn't look pretty - steep, and with plenty of traffic grinding up and down. The top was obscured by cloud and I had no idea where it was.
Yeah, that's it cutting across the hill directly in front. With no shoulder, a deep drain and a steady stream of heavy trucks passing it was not a pleasant ride. Well, walk really I think i did more walking than riding.

The pass itself was an anti-climax - after a long steep pinch the road suddenly started going down. There was no sign or marker, and in the cloud it was impossible to see that I was actually on top.

After a rapid descent, the ride across the alpine plateau began. I passed Lake Coleridge and came to the first of several steep descents and ascents at river crossings. Near Castle Hill, the valley was surrounded by these impressive stone outcrops that give the location its name.

By Castle Hill I was out of water again but was able to replenish in the village before continuing on over the last few climbs to Flock Hill. The final three kilometers where an exhilarating high speed descent.

The mountain bikers saw me arrive and within minutes were at my room in the shearer quarters, cold beer in hand. Thanks guys, I really needed that.

Click here for a Doarama visualisation of the route.

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