Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 45: Omarama to Lake Aviemore

April 18th 2014
Distance cycled: 61 km
Total distance to date: 2763 km

Today I biked the 9km out to Omarama pretty fast after saying farewell to the farmstead backpackers. 

It's the Easter holiday so there are people everywhere. It's annoying. Almost annoying enough to convince me to brave the Omarama Saddle, 80kms of wilderness over the mountains. But with the rain and the Grade 5 classification of the trail, I didn't feel like slogging through it. Plus I wanted to see more of the Alps2Ocean trail. So after a stopover in Omarama at a cafe called the Wrinkly Rams, I kept going east. 

The trail followed Lake Benmore on a sandy path. It was a pretty ride. 

The trail led back to the highway, over a long 140m climb and into a town called Otematata. But it branched off again to wind around Lake Aviemore before it actually made it into the town. Since I didn't get a coffee break and it was 2pm, I decided to stop at a picnic area and make myself some instant coffee and eat my lunch. The rain had stopped so I hauled out my campstove and set to work. 

Directly after my break, another big climb awaited me up to the dam, along with another shower of rain. Soaking and panting, I arrived at the top to this view:

Even with the cloud cover, it was stunning. Or perhaps because of it. With all this mist everywhere, it's easy to see why they shot Lord of the Rings here.

A swift downhill led me to the lake, which was equally beautiful. The rain mercifully decided to stop for the day at this point.


It was already 3:30 and as I passed campsite after campsite, it occurred to me that I should choose one to stay at. Even though my goal for the day had been the next town of Kurow, 15km away, I realized staying at this pretty place would be cheaper and more pleasant, unless the rain set in again. Thankfully, it didn't. All I had to contend with was the howling wind, but thanks to a fellow camper at the camp I settled at, it wasn't too bad. This guy had a season pass and had all his stuff set up alongside his brother's camp. But his brother wasn't coming tonight, so he offered me a sheltered spot in his brother's camp. These people, like many of the folks at this camp, were here to fish. They had an RV, a motorboat, even a little kitchen area in a separate tent. You could tell this had long ceased to be a hobby for these people. It was officially a lifestyle.


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