A depressing cloak of East Coast cloud shrouded the hills as 8 keen mountain bikers accumulated at the confluence of the Spray and Waihopai rivers. Usual formalities followed involving mtb banter and rapid consumption of energy gels and bananas!
We cruised off up the valley across smooth grassy paddocks that eventually became a rocky farm track with some creeks and small climbs, plenty of gates provided opportunities to stop, chat and take photos.
The first hut appeared after about 8km, morning tea was scoffed here with Jason and Andrew entertaining the crowd with stories involving cell phones and long drops etc!
The farm track continued at an easy gradient meandering through gullies and around outcrops above the river, the cloak of cloud was cast aside as the sun appeared with some intensity thus increasing the sweat flow!
We enjoyed the newly revealed view further up the valley to scree covered ridges beyond which lay Molesworth and Muller stations. Arriving at "Top Whare" we munched some more food and investigated the old cob hut and a newer hut complete with shower, hot water and power supply.
Attempts were made to continue riding past the hut on what looked like some choice singletrack but this quickly ended in a field of matagouri! (working bee anybody!?) So an about turn had us rolling back down the valley finding nice flowing descents and a cooling breeze, arriving back at the start around 1.45pm.
All in all a very relaxed cruisey ride in a great bit of country worth exploring more.
Thanks to the riders, Andrew, Phillip, Peter W, Kat, Stephen, Jason, Gavin for entertaining company and to the Mackenzies of Waihopai Downs for access, much appreciated!