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Brodrick Pass

Brodrick Pass: Day 04 Report

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We had arrived in Omarama the night before, at sunset, and we went to a pub to discuss our situation. Things were not looking good, like as in not promising, like as in “Are we going to be able to pull this thing off?” We had spent a majority of our time over the past couple days pushing bikes. Things are that steep here in New Zealand, roads were built on tracks that were built on paths that followed the fastest/shortest line from one place to the next. This is what we had asked for, we wanted something new. It wasn’t that we weren’t making progress, it was that we weren’t making it fast enough. We had two days to make it up over a pass that started from the crotch of a canyon buried in the recesses of a mountain range that none of us knew anything about except that it was roadless, trailless, and previously unexplored by bicycle. So the previous night we had agreed to reroute, to navigate back to Dunedin, to save the ride by changing the ride. Were we happy about? Of course not, but with thousands of dollars in plane tickets on the line and host of responsibilities back home we couldn’t afford to take any extra time, so we finished our drinks and hit the sack.

Sleep is such a wonderfully restorative son of a bitch. The next day all of our divergent plans were off the table, there was a collective agreement, no convincing was needed, we would push forward. Perhaps we communicated this in the night with a signal tapped into by the little pea-sized lizard part of our brain where the shared affinity for the idea of finishing this ride lived. ESP man, vibes, am I right? We were heading off into the unknown, propelled by an unsinkable willingness, the can-do attitude of the naive, and my my it was a beautiful morning. We discovered a store that sold NOS Zinka and wonderful sun hats, we had slept in the summer, out of the snow, we were going to do this, we were going to finish this thing out!

The day went more or less like this: road, gravel road, two track, single track, livestock track, no track, river crossing, no track, river crossing, no track, no track, no track… we rode all day, deep into the recesses of the Southern Alps. And these babies came out of nowhere, yeah you look on the map, you know they are coming, but still, they just appear all of a sudden. Like wisdom teeth or middle school erections, pop, bam, mountains. Once again, the sun was setting as we finally arrived at a hut. If we were going to link up with our raft out, the next day would be our biggest day yet. A light rain had been predicted and we fell to sleep with the setting of the sun.

Omarama

 

Don’t come through Omarama without a stop at Hot Tubs Omarama.
Patrick's POV.
This is Keith. Keith’s rig is tight. Keith is on his way back to Auckland after riding all the way down to the southern tip of the South Island. If you see Keith let him know that Yonder Journal crew says, “Hey bru, sweet as.” This will definitely jog his memory.
One guess as to what we did here? Yep, you’re exactly right; we found someone who could help us fix Patrick’s bike chain. There’s no question we wanted to TUB, after three days of riding a good soak session would have done a body good. Unfortunately, overly-warm bubble infused full body water immersion wasn’t in the cards. What did happen is that the young lady, Tracy, working the desk called her mom, Pat, because her mom ran a motel across town and her mom had also done her fair share of bike touring. You see Patrick’s bike had been breaking chains at an unacceptable rate and with our next leg heading into the Southern Alps and away from any civilization we needed to get his bike fixed and pronto. Once at Pat’s motel we were able to scavenge an newish chain and a few quick links that would do the job of giving Patrick a dependable bike once more. I washed my hands in Pat’s laundry room. Tracy and Pat are good people. The next time you are in Omarama be sure to tub and stay in a motel. Preferably at a tub and motel run/owned by Pat and/or Tracy.
Fact: Any time you can nap is nap time.
This is Tracy. Next time you are in Omarama and need a quick chain fix for your worn out 9spd drivetrain stop by Hot Tubs Omarama, Tracy has all the answers.
This is what people mean when they say, “It was confidence inspiring.”

Lake Ohau

 

Fast Facts

  1. LOCATION: Mackenzie Basin, Southern Alps, New Zealand
  2. SURFACE ELEVATION: 520m
  3. SURFACE AREA: 54km²
  4. WATER VOLUME: 4.02km³
  5. AVERAGE DEPTH: 74m
  6. MAX DEPTH: 129m
Benedict is pretty well in-tune with nature. He picks his dandelion dinner on the trial, indulges in good tanning, and even wipes with rocks. ”I like to think about how long the rock was sitting there, useless, without purpose, before I came along and use it to wipe my behind, I give nature a purpose. I’m Benedict Wheeler and I give people the best days of their lives.”
Be'ne from the front.
Be'ne from behind.
Hey Erik, I guess Daniel didn’t want that fifty spot after all.

Hopkins River Valley

 

The Southern Alps. These babies came out of nowhere, yeah you look on the map, you know they are coming, but still, they just appear all of a sudden.
Club Macho is a completely integrated vertical lifestyle system developed and perfected by Benedict “Poppi” Wheeler aka @ultraromance. From now until forever Yonder Journal will be working hand in hand, bicep in bicep, heart in heart with Poppi to reveal the advantages and insights of all that Club Macho offers to the world.
“The first known straws were made by the Sumerians, and were used for drinking beer, probably to avoid the solid byproducts of fermentation that sink to the bottom.The oldest drinking straw in existence, found in a Sumerian tomb dated 3,000 B.C.E., was a gold tube inlaid with the precious blue stone lapis lazuli. Argentines and their neighbors used a similar metallic device called a bombilla, that acts as both a straw and sieve for drinking mate tea for hundreds of years”—Wikipedia
If you attempt our route one thing you have to get good at is shouldering and carrying your bicycle. Having an advanced understanding of various bike portaging techniques is essential in order to maintain any sane level of forward momentum on the tramping trails and non-trails of the New Zealand bush.
Gravel roads lead to double track which lead to singletrack. Here we find ourselves taking advantage of a nice little cattle path that had been freshly cut into the meadow.
Glacial River Crossing Technique #1: Finesse & Flourish!
Glacial River Crossing Technique #2: The Smasher.
Glacial runoff helps reinvigorate the legs.

Huxley River Valley

 

Once again, the sun was setting as we finally arrived at a hut.
While the rest of us struggled with shaky, unsure steps across each of the, by this point, innumerable river crossings, Paul was able to a cross each river with precision that one would only find in a machine. I could never get close to him during these actions but I swear, when the wind was right, that I could hear the sound of gyroscopes whirring as he glided through each crossing. #botsbotsbots
The Dream Team at work.
For all the effort, the fire building, the balancing, the continual repositioning, the reverent and attentive observation it took to flush the wet from our shoes, it was all for naught. We were greeted by a squall the next morning that soaked our temporarily dry shoes without remorse.
In life, death. In sleep, dead. Hellhommus, forever black.
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