Crossing the Alps via Arthurs Pass - Attack of the Mountain Clowns or Kea Strikes Back
map of the journey
Long ride (about 190km) to the west coast from St Arnaud to Westport, with a trip to the seal colony. 30km east of Westport it started to rain and looked quite grim, but 25km later the sky cleared just at the right time. Next day very heavy rain along the coast, with Fish & Chips and lots of tea instead of Pancake Rocks in Punaikaiki, but the owner of the pub told me there might be a nice sunset in Greymouth... and the pouring rain stopped 1km outside Greymouth and there was indeed a phantastic sunset that night, my tent just 30m away from the beach. Next day via Lake Brunner up to Arthurs Pass with very heavy rain just after Jackson and a long stop in Otira tearoom, where I ordered tea for two for myself.
I took a picture of the penny farthing bike of three pioneers that crossed Arthurs Pass back in 1887 with two tents, one to sleep in, one lightproof where they prepared the chemicals for their huge camera.
Arthurs Pass is still quite steep, even after they built the Otira viaduct in 1999. Stopped raining shortly after midnight and the next day I spent climbing Avalanche Peak (1830m) in a round trip. Kea everywhere, I was able to lock away my bike in a DoC shelter, because that mountain clowns tear your saddle apart and your wheels if they are bored...
Despite all that precautions at night: attack of the mountain clowns, Kea strikes back, five holes in two different places and two now useless water bottles. I have an appointment with a repair shop tomorrow morning, that happens to work with the original materials of my tent manufacturer. I will stay for a day in Christchurch.