Day 22: Tuesday 6 Dec – rest day in Fox Glacier

There are 25 riders and 5 staff members on this trip – and only one washing machine at camp, and no laundromat in town. The machine was fully in use last night and the sign said don’t use after 8 pm. Michele and I were up at 7am to get ahead of the rush to the washing machine and dryer. Getting the laundry done is a main focus of rest days.

I was surprised that with the amount of camper vans etc that no one had popped a small laundromat into the town, especially as the lady at the town general store said it had been great having two fine days as they had had 27 wet days in row before that.

The weather forecast for the next three days is rain with the worst for later today and tomorrow. I was hoping to be able to book accommodation tomorrow night so planned to be straight onto it when the board with the information came out.

After putting the washing on, I sat around drinking copious cups of tea waiting for the washing to wash and dry. Yoav and Asia came in to have tea and coffee and toast as well.

At about 9am we (Brett, Tony, Michele, Yoav, Asia, Justina and I) rode to Lake Matheson, 6 km down the road to find the 4.4 km walk around it. When it is a really calm day the lake reflects the mountain and it can be spectacular on a day with a calm and bright blue sky. Today most of the mountains were covered by cloud but it was still a good walk through the bush.

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Lake Matheson

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Lake Matheson

There were lots of notices about the different trees and what the Maori had used them for. I always think about my Dad when I am walking through the bush, and remember the walks he would take us on as children.

We had lunch at the cafe, I had some really nice pork and fennel sausages, then had a look around the gift shop.

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Lake Matheson

Then it was back to the motel and the next three days riding was up on the board, along with the details of where we were staying tomorrow and the next night – another Top Ten Holiday Camp. Unfortunately when I rang up I found they were fully booked, drat! So I asked if I could go on the waiting list in case anyone cancels, which the lady laughed at but said sure and took my details just in case. Oh well I thought, one day in the rain and putting up a tent in rain is ok. Brett got on the phone and booked accommodation for the following night in Hawea so at least it won’t be two wet nights.

I went up to the shop to get a card as it is time to start writing thank you cards for the staff and sorting the gratuities (it’s not enforceable, but the expectation is that you give a gratuity to the staff. Most riders do, but there are some who say they have already paid for the trip, sadly often these are the people who could easily afford to). I got four really nice cards in Napier but had forgotten another TDA staff member was joining in Wellington, so needed another card.

Just after I got back from the shop my phone rang and it was the Haast Top Ten, unbelievable they had had a cancellation! Someone had booked for tomorrow but got their days mixed up and turned up today. Yay! Tomorrow when I am riding along getting soaking wet I won’t have to worry about putting up a tent at the end of it.

About 5 minutes after I got back from the shop it started to rain, the mountains disappeared. It wasn’t windy but the rain was steady and it got noticeably cooler.

Then it was time to relax, update the blog, and read a book until dinner time. I managed to update the blog but didn’t get around to reading. I went back to The Last Kitchen for dinner. I had seafood chowder and the ribeye steak with crumbed mushrooms, yum! Plus a shared bottle of La La Land Malbec again.

Then it was time for an early night, only 3 riding days to go.

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Yoav, Justina and Asia at Lake Matheson

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