Recently we had friends visiting from Queenstown and they brought their mountain bikes with them. First day out was an easy one as Stephen, Heather and Ewen did a ride up the 8 mile track, just up from home and then up Rewanui Incline. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it out as we had guests due in at the b&b and I had to stay for the checkins.
At the same time a family of four were staying with us for three nights – Amit, Pamela, Kerrian and Millon from San Francisco and when they arrived there was a mountain bike on the back of the rental vehicle – hhmmmm. Turns out Amit is an avid mountain biker and keen to check out some trails while he is in NZ. They didn’t realise when they booked to stay with us that we are mountain bikers also so Amit’s very keen to come out and get some local knowledge on the trails. We were planning a ride up Bundy/mudplug and arrange a suitable time with Amit and Pamela and the boys so that as a family they can do something together in the morning and then Amit can come riding with us in the afternoon. This works well as it gives Stephen and I a chance to do our room cleaning first also. Turns out Stephen has a little electrical job he needs to attend to so Ewen helps Stephen while Heather helps me with the cleaning. Nothing like heading off for a holiday and getting roped into helping work! Heather and Ewen don’t seem to mind though and it makes light work of the tasks required.
Amit, Pamela and the boys go quad biking for the morning with On Yer Bike and by the time they are back home for the rendezvous there are smiles all round after a fun morning playing in the mud.
After a quick bite to eat we load the vehicles with our bike gear and the dogs and head into Greymouth and south to Camerons and the start of the Bundy/Mudplug ride.
The Bundy starts with a short sharp climb – quite narley with big rocks and boulders and very loose. Need your wits about you and the technical climbing brain to be in gear! At the top it is then 4WD forestry road until this then reverts to single track. The single track is quite muddy and slippery after some overnight rain. It is a continual gentle incline until we meet up with 4WD forestry roads again. Still gently climbing, the Bundy trail eventually heads off up Gordies to the left. Today though we stay straight ahead, heading for the Mudplug, joining up at Cape Terrace. In the middle there is a “lovely” hill climb – quite steep again and loose but nothing than a grind in low gear can’t fix. Amit powers ahead with Stephen close behind and Heather chasing them down. Heather has always been a hill climbing demon and this hill is no exception for her. Ewen follows Heather and as usual I’m at the end – tail end Charlie – sounds good anyway……
Uphills are generally rewarded with downhills and soon we are blasting down to meet the Cape Terrace junction. We follow this road for a couple of kilometres before we finally meet the Mudplug junction. Stephen gives a quick briefing so our friends know what to expect – fast, fun and muddy! There will be a couple of little creeks to cross along the way also so caution is advised. The boys head off with a hoot and a holler. Heather tells me to go ahead and not wait for her. Actually the trail is in pretty good condition considering how much rain fell overnight, the water “troughs” aren’t too bad to cross, fairly easy to negotiate. The boys are nowhere to be seen and I can’t hear Heather coming either. There is a semi flat section for a bit so I slow on this and wait for Heather. Ahead Nico appears – he is a treasure and is the real tail end Charlie, always checking up on everyone to make sure they are coming. He slowly makes his way back to me and together we wait for Heather. Now Ziggy appears – classic, he comes back and waits also. Heather eventually comes down around the hill. She is enjoying herself and just taking her time on the new terrain. I head down with her (and the pups of course) and give a couple of pointers to help her down some of the little trickier parts of the trail. One last creek crossing and this one is longer and a bit more technical. We drop into a low gear to ensure we keep peddling and pop out the other side, managing to stay dry and keep our feet out of the water.
Stephen, Amit and Ewen are waiting at the bottom at Hohunu creek and Nico and Ziggy make the most of the water and jump in for a cooling off and a drink. Nico is soon trying to scoop out some rocks and Ziggy is chasing stones as Stephen throws them in the creek. I have some jube airplanes in my hydropak so everyone takes advantage of a quick sugar fix before we start the ascent back out of the valley.
It is a fun climb out – fun, challenging and rewarding. There are little technical sections and you have to ensure you pick the right lines going up. Amit and Stephen lead the way, chatting the whole time about riding in San Francisco and on the Coast. Ewen and I are close behind with Heather just behind us. This is one of the few times I can beat Heather uphill! This is also a nice relaxing section for the dogs before we head to any downhill sections.
Back at Cape Terrace and we retrace our route with the downhill now being a hill climb and the hill climb being the downhill. At the bottom of the downhill I leave the group and take the dogs back to the vehicle. It has been a pretty fast and hot afternoon out for them. Amit, Stephen, Ewen and Heather are going to carry on and do the rest of the normal Bundy loop – around Gordies mistake and then back up the middle hill climb before meeting back up with the single track and down to the vehicles.
Back at the vehicles the dogs get a well deserved drink of water and a rest while we wait for the rest of the biking crew. Not long to wait and I hear faint squeak of brakes as they make their way down the rocks and boulders to the roadside. Loads of grins but weary bodies. All in all a great afternoon mountain biking some of the best of the West.
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth. They are avid mountain bikers and happy to show anyone visiting the coast their local trails or at least point them in the right direction.