While on the Magic bus to Wellington, I met Helen from the UK who had arranged a four day mountain bike/hiking trip through the Queen Charlotte Track, one of the long distance hiking trails in the Sound. She asked if anyone on the bus wanted to join in, so myself and a Scotsman named David said "sounds brilliant"! so next thing we knew, we are hanging out with Helen, Dom and Sam, madly arranging bikes, hostels and ferries. Getting everything in order, the grand adventure began. Adventure was the word for it, for as soon as we got off the Cougar Lines ferry to start our mountain biking trek it started to rain.
Also this trail was technical in dry weather never mind blinding, slashing, horizontal rain. We had all the gear so we didn't really mind getting wet, and with all the mud and splashing it was brilliant fun. It's a good thing our bikes were properly outfitted otherwise we would have bought the farm slipping of the steep cliffs. As it was, my back tire was skidding out behind me on almost every turn but somehow all the BMX biking when I was young helped me keep control. The rest of our crew sometimes fell and occasionally fell into the ferns but I won't say who. It was brilliant fun but since we left late the darkness fell on us while still on the trail so it became wet, muddy and black. This is when my headlamp nearly saved our lives, because it's pretty impossible to hold onto a wet mountain bike, your pack and a flashlight. Finally after what seemed like hours in the dark, we saw lights across the water and knew we had to be near our home for the night. We all were covered in mud and so happy to reach a shower, get some grub and the saving grace for our overworked muscles, a hot tub and a cold beer. The following day at the Punga Cove Resort was fantastic, warm and sun shining down on us. Rested and refueled, we enjoyed the hike, the views and our trailside snacks, then shared the most delicious fish and chips at Portage Bay Backpackers. Life doesn't get any better!
I wake up early to catch the 8am ferry ride from the lovely New Zealand capitol of Wellington, to the picturesque town of Picton. A smooth crossing makes the 3 hour journey absolutely pleasant across beautiful Cook Strait and I am soon in magnificent Marlborough Sound. This is a splendid area at the northeastern tip of the South Island made up of its own series of islands. The weather here is divinely pleasant and home to many noted vineyards specializing in my favorite type of wine, Sauvignon Blanc.