12 + 13 Feb: Wharfedale Hut, Townshend Track, Waikari, and Hanmer Springs
We lost count of how many times we removed our shoes to ford streams along the Townshend Track, and lost our trail for a time as it disappeared in a flood plain. After passing through a pasture, scaring some sheep, we hefted our bikes over a fence at the end of the track. Finally, we found ourselves on a dirt road.
Dust in the distance revealed itself to be a herd of sheep, in the middle of crossing from one pasture to another with the help of three men and about ten dogs, and occupying the entire dirt road. A worker, surprised to see us on this road that goes nowhere, asked about our route.
We waited for them to clear and made our way to an even smaller dirt road, punctuated by gates keeping cattle in the correct pastures. We dismounted, opened the gate, passed through, closed the gate, and were on our way – until the next gate. We lost count of these, too.
These dusty roads carved through desolate mountains, arid cattle fields all around and not much else. We ran out of water with around 30 miles to go. In the sun and heat, tasting the dust in our mouths, we made our way along the winding dirt road eager to find a town. Finally, we found a shop in Hawarden and, overwhelmed by thirst, purchased and promptly consumed about a gallon of beverage apiece.
We bloatedly made our way down the road a few miles until we found a roadhouse in Waikari, free from zombie sheep and with plenty of water. We washed the dust away and ate a real meal.
A shorter day to Hanmer Springs the next day to stock up as we prepared to head even further into remote lands.