Fair Flying Down State Highway 1!!

The guys are well on their way, having arrived and cleaned up in Whanganui, now on their bikes heading further South, already 110km down State Highway 1 at Levin as I write. Stages 1 and 2 successful, all on schedule running relatively smoothly!!! Stage 3 the cycling is going so quickly when following progress on their SPOT. The biggest hurdle is yet to come as there is a Gale Warning currently in place for Cook Strait this is likely to create a headache or two. http://www.metservice.com/marine/surf/makara

After our windy and icy climb of Tahurangi Peak, the highest peak on Mt Ruapehu, the highest point in the North Island, we were relieved to wake the next morning at 6am to a clear and windless day.

On Top Of Ruapehu, the highest point known as Tahurangi Peak

On Top Of Ruapehu, the highest point known as Tahurangi Peak

Descending the crater wall

Descending the crater wall

Descending the very hard icy traverse to access the crater rim

Descending the very hard icy traverse to access the crater rim

Axe and Robert Mills on the summit of Tahurangu with the NZ fire service flag.  The expedition donated NZ$1000 to the Toko and Stratford volunteer fire brigades on the summit.

Axe and Robert Mills on the summit of Tahurangu with the NZ fire service flag. The expedition donated NZ$1000 to the Toko and Stratford volunteer fire brigades on the summit.

Mountaineer Robert Mills descending from the summit.

Mountaineer Robert Mills descending from the summit.

We were treated to an enormous sumptuous breakfast of sausages, bacon and eggs by Jim the legend Morrow before setting up the bikes and setting off for the 60km cycle to Taumaranui to meet the mighty Whanganui River. We chose to start paddling here because the river is too shallow further upstream. The ride from Whakapapa down 7 km (4 miles) of steep winding road was both freezing and fun. We reached top speeds of 64 km per hour on the hybrid mountain bike’s complete with panniers! We had a nice ride in 2.5 hours to reach Taumaranui. Here we did a quick grocery shop for 5 days food which we then loaded up in to the divorce machine (our sea eagle fast track inflatable kayak), under the watchful eyes of Jack and Rob who gave such helpful advice as ‘you will never get down the river in that f’in thing! You are carrying far too much food and not enough beer, and none of your gear is water proof!’

On the mighty Whanganui River, in the rain!

On the mighty Whanganui River, in the rain!

Even in the rain the river is beautiful

Even in the rain the river is beautiful

Camp site on the first night on the river.

Camp site on the first night on the river.

Undeterred we set off and promptly ran aground repeatedly for the next 20 km as we floundered down the river. It was too shallow to have the skeg (fin) in the divorce machine and controlling her heading saw us doing frequent 360’s and running into rocks where we had to jump out and push her off. However, she is made of tough stuff and 36 km later we had finished the first half day still intact but quite wet through, including some of our gear and food. At one point she filled up with so much water we were the divorce submarine, but taking the bungs out quickly; she shuddered back above the surface like a dog shaking itself free from water after a swim.

Rest Stop!

Rest Stop!

Over the next few days we got better and faster; halfway through day two the water was deep enough to put the skeg in and our control was much better. We paddled 7 – 8 hours every day, the longest distance was 60 km in one day, and the fastest speed we reached was 14.6 km per hour. Overall, we averaged around 8 km per hour. On day three it rained and we paddled in rain jackets but the river was still beautiful. I cannot describe what a beautiful and special place that is the mighty Whanganui River. The river banks are steep and lined with dense native bush, as you paddle your way through her many twists and turns you are continually mesmerized by the waterfalls, the cliffs, the bush and the birds. When it rains, cloud lines the tops of the steep sides and you feel like you are paddling into another world.

We reached Pipiriki on day 3; the place most people stop, but we still had 100km to reach the coast and Whanganui city. We spent the first three nights camping in our tent, the 4th night we found a beautiful little hut called Downes hut which we had all to ourselves. Today we paddled the remaining 44 km all the way out to Whanganui City; a hard slog as we battled the tide, head winds and long periods of still water.

So here we are tonight in Whanganui town, it’s very nice to have the first shower in 5 days as usual and wash the smelly clothes. We have deflated, washed and packed up the might Divorce Machine, and tomorrow will start our cycle South to Wellington and Makara Beach. Where if the weather gods are smiling on us, we will attempt to kayak across the Cook Strait. Something I certainly am deeply respectful of and getting more nervous and excited the closer the day gets. Thanks again to the nice messages and comments on Facebook, none of which I can reply to while on the road sorry. Axe out from Whanganui.

On Ya Bike!!

On Ya Bike!!

To follow their routes in real-time please click the following link:

http://axeoneverest.com/spot-page/

To locate their exact position please click on the links:

Message: Axe reporting all ok from ‘Peak to Peak 2013. See our position at:

http://bit.ly/1bbBiVb

Click the link below to see where I am located.

http://fms.ws/Eo1qy/38.99158S/175.12001E

If the above link does not work, try this link:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=-38.99158,175.12001&ll=-38.99158,175.12001&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Signing out until their next update!!

About these ads

Posted on December 7, 2013, in Peak to Peak 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Melissa Wellington

    Alan good luck with your ocean crossing please stay safe and return in good order. Cheers from Mel.

    Like

  2. Sounds like a great adventure, Axe. Keep up the good work!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,361 other followers

%d bloggers like this: