26. Sutton Salt Lake

Another leaving – this time from Ranfurly. Kevin is struggling a bit with all the chopping and changing – he’s missing his daily routine and adjusting slowly to life on the road and it makes me realise I’m enjoying our road trip more than he is. I hope that changes.

We stopped in Middlemarch, where I had started riding the Rail Trail, and had a better look around. The church was picturesque, as they so often are. Bad timing – we were too early in the day and the museum was shut. I wish I’d taken a photo now, but there was a submarine outside the museum which a focus group was hoping to restore. It’s the first submarine I’ve ever seen outside of a picture, and the last place I expected to see one!
We found the Sutton Salt Lake just a few kilometres out of Middlemarch. Another spectacular place – they do just keep coming! We walked through tussock and schist to reach the lake.
The track leads all the way around the lake, so we had endless vantage points. There were a lot of birds – we had been wanting to dip our fingers in and taste the salt, but changed our minds when we saw just how many birds there were. It’s meant to be about half as salty as seawater.
The saltiness comes about due to rainfall and evaporation. The rocks hold the rain that falls – it doesn’t allow it to soak away, or eat away at it – so the bit of salt that gets washed in with the rain from the surrounding soils eventually gets left behind with subsequent evaporation by the sun – and it does shine here a lot!
These notice boards are so full of information – they are a great way to learn more about the environment, and you can be pretty certain they’ve been researched and will be accurate.
The Rock and Pillar Range is in the background, that the Rail Trail runs beside.
Last view of the lake – time to say goodbye and head for Dunedin!
Stopping at a vantage point for a final view over Middlemarch and the Maniototo Plains. What’s happened to make this butterfly’s wings so ragged I wonder?
The scenery rapidly transforms from tussock land to greener pastures as we drop in altitude and move closer to Dunedin.

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