Murchison or bust...

Well, the original plan was to have a rest day in Westport before tackling this stage, but the two days of rain delay put paid to that idea. I always knew this leg would be a big day, and so it proved. I didn't finish until 7:30pm. There was still plenty of light at that time but it was a very long day.

I left Westport with some misgivings - debating whether I should have stuck to the original plan and taken a day off. But the legs felt ok after yesterdays efforts so I decided to ride.

The road follows close to the Buller River most of the way, gently rolling along at first so the climbing is imperceptible. It a very impressive river, and so is some of the road engineering such as this section of road cut into the rock at Hawkes Crag.

After 35 kilometers I reached Berlins, and stopped for lunch. On the wall a photo showed the river in full flood covering the road at Hawkes Crag. Astonishing.

By now the sun was high and the day very hot. A further 10 kilometers along at Inangahua Junction I found a little shop and stopped for a drink. With 45 kilometers still to go I was beginning to feel the effects of yesterdays exertions and would have happily stopped if there was accommodation, but there was none and the only choice was to continue.

In 1968 a powerful earthquake struck in this region, causing a massive landslip that completed dammed the Buller River. At Lyell the scars are still visible today, as the road begins a long steady climb out of the gorge. By now I was feeling very weary, and was really counting down the kilometers to Murchison.

Finally clearing the gorge, the road leveled a little and the last dozen or so kilometers were a little easier. I reached the town, weary and saddle sore, but could not yet relax, as I need to find a meal and a bed before the town closed down for the night. The backpacker was full so the next choice was the pub, which could provide both.

Tomorrow's ride is only a short one to Glenhope, but it's uphill all the way and I'm feeling weary. I might take that day off after all.

By the way, for some reason my tracker was switched off when I arrived. At first I thought I had forgotten to start it, but then looked at the track and discovered it has switched itself off along the road.

Click here for a Doarama visualisation of the route.

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