Kevin spent the week at Canterbury Faire where he goes every year. I spent the start and finish there, and our kids (who are grownup) were there too (one for the whole time and one visited for a day). So it was very cool to have the four of us in one place as that only happens every year or so now. It was really nice to catch up with other friends too.
I went and finished the Old Ghost Road while Canterbury Faire was running, driving to the Seddonville end of the track and walking in from there. (My walk in from the other end is included in the last blog, The Lazy Season). There was a lot of maintenance going on on the track at this end – I came across five different guys, most of them using e-bikes to get themselves along! Cool. They were track-building, weedeating the grass and pruning back some of the bush areas.
At Forks Hut on my way back, I read half a book called Spirit to the Stone: Building the Old Ghost Road by Marion Boatwright who instigated the building of the trail as a mountain biking route. It was really good and I ended up buying it so that I could finish it! It’s an impressive read with a lot of drive and skills in place to get the job done. These guys were real bushmen – or simply huge on ambition perhaps! Either way, the work that has gone into building the route, and the hours that go into keeping it maintained, truly is fantastic.
More detail with each photo!
I made it to Forks Hut! 38 kilometres of walking today. I can only make these long distances (for me) because of long daylight hours and maybe because I ditch shoes in favour of my trusty crocs for long stretches. This caused two different people to question me today, but I really do have a much better time out of shoes. I felt at this point the Old Ghost Road was being a teensy bit on the precious side, which apart from the altitudes, is an easy-peasy track for walkers at this time of year. The whole way. Honestly, you don’t even get your feet wet in the morning dew as the grass is so cut back. These people need to try some of the real tramping tracks of NZ which are generally way less maintained than they used to be (or maybe I’m just getting old!). Crocs become treacherous when they are wet, or on wet ground, otherwise I swear by them. I always use them in conjunction with walking poles too. In the wet, I switch to my runners or awesomely light tramping/hiking boots – I love my access to a range of footwear! I can stay in Forks Hut tonight as I have an annual DOC hut pass – otherwise the only other hut you can stay in is Goat Hut. I paid $40 to the Old Ghost Road Trust, via their website, to enable me to camp along the way – if you want to use their huts you pay quite a bit more.