Day 24: Lake Ohau Lodge to Twizel

Bike day. Since the next section involves a super long (42km) stretch along the Tekapo canal, I’m renting a bike and riding it. One of the options was to get the bike from Lake Ohau Lodge instead of Twizel, making it a 2 day ride instead of one day walk plus one day ride. I sprung for the 2 day ride option.

This morning was just unbelievable nice view from the lodge.

Seriously, I suffered.

At breakfast, the receptionist came over and let me know that the bike rental place called and would have a bike here for me at 11:30am. Considering how last minute I’d confirmed when I’d be arriving at the lodge, I was pretty happy it all came together. Also, talk about service. These folks have it in spades. But more on that in a bit.

I stick around at the lodge waiting for the bike to arrive, just hanging out in the awesome lounge area. This place is pretty sweet, seriously. Would go outside but the sun is super intense and I don’t want to get burned!

Right on time, Jill from Lakeland Explorer rolls up and gets me set up with the bike and takes my pack away. All is well. I load up the little trunk bag with my stuff for the day, send out my gps check in message, strap it all to the bike and ride off.

At the lodge there’s a sign that says O2A trail, and heads up a track that I’d walked down the night before to get from the TA trail down to the lodge. Off I roll.

After what felt like forever, climbing up a really long climb along the side of some mountains, I decide I’ve missed a turn, as my destination keeps getting farther away to my left. Up until this point I’d assumed that at some point I’d descend back down to the road. I should have listened to Jill. She originally told me to follow the road. I assumed that meant the trail would meet up with the road at some point. No. The road is part of the trail. The part I want. The track I was on is also part of the trail. Not the part I want though. That track goes to Omarama (which nobody can pronounce. It’s not what you think). A lovely place indeed, but not where I’m headed today. I didn’t realize it but the trail makes a V at the lodge, so both “directions” go south. One along the road, and one up the track. Oh well. I turn around and have a pretty fun descent down the super rocky and super bumpy track until I get to a place I can drop down to the road, where I really want to be.

Heading out in the morning I didn’t have any water bottles. My hiking ones were in need of replacement so I’d tossed them in the bin. And Jill hadn’t brought one for me to use. And town was a good while away. So the day was long. I was on an unfamiliar bike, not well fitted to me, riding on a gel saddle cover (which made the saddle wider and actually made my ass hurt MORE), oh and the rear derailleur had some ghost shifting and mis-shifting going on. I finally got around to the canal from the lake and stopped because I was so parched I had to drink water. Slurp. Directly from the lake, with my bare hands, like a boss.

Good thing it’s so delicious. Also this is a lake, mind. Not the ocean. Those waves were nearly surfable. The wind was fierce. Fortunately it was mostly at my back.

So along the canal I go, on a mission to get into town and get some proper liquids in my body. The canal is rather hard to get into, so drinking directly from it would be pretty hard. So I just buckled down and tried to go fast.

Finally I arrived into town, pulled up to a petrol station, bought my new bottles (with free water!) and a coke. That’s when I realized something wasn’t right. Where’s the garmin? Oh no, it must have fallen off when I was bombing that bumpy hill. I’d stuck it in the little bottle holder on the back of the trunk bag, carabinered to the bag itself, thinking it would be fine. Apparently not. Fortunately, it’s kinda designed to tell me where it is. Sure enough, back on that hill. Ok. I’d arranged to meet Jill at 4:30 to pay and pick up my bag, which was about 20 minutes away, so I’d suss things after that, and maybe ask her if she had any ideas.

We met, talked, she told me where I’d gone wrong, and gave me an idea: call the lodge, have them tell the next group (which is probably already there) heading down the trail to look for it, pick it up, and we’ll figure out how to get it from Omarama to where I’ll be in Tekapo. I call them, they ask me what it looks like, I say “orange”, “it’s here”. Hooray! I ask the person on the phone to do me a solid and buy the finder a beverage and I’ll pay for it when I get there. Sadly, the finder had already departed, so now I’ll have to find someone else to buy a beverage for!

Ok, so that sorted, now to figure out how to actually get it. Jill had taken my bike away to her mechanic to get the derailleur looked at and also had my pack. I let her know they had it, and when we met up to get the bike and my pack back to me (and pay) she told me the lodge comes into town frequently and might bring it for me, then she’d see to it that it got to Tekapo, apparently runs to there are pretty frequent. I went to my room and set my pack down, just about to call them and she texts me saying yes, it would be in town and then off to Tekapo tomorrow. Hooray! Between the lodge and Jill and the finder, some serious trail magic occurred and I’m super grateful for all. I’ll definitely be leaving stellar reviews on trip advisor!

Anywho, other than frustration at being thirsty and with the state of the bike, today has been a pretty great day. The dorm I’m in tonight is just me so far so it’s like a private room at dorm prices! And tomorrow I roll to Tekapo for a rest day and resupply. Not too shabby! Certainly better than yesterday with all of the rain!

On a sad note my kindle seems to be unhappy. It wouldn’t respond to trying to power it on earlier and forcing a reboot it’s now stuck in a loop. I’m waiting for it to finally drain it’s battery completely and I’ll charge it and hopefully that fixes it. Otherwise, it may be paper books for me for the rest of the trip!

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