Monday, 20 October 2014

18/10/2014 Arapuni - Mangakino

2014-10-18click for more photo's
Garmin Connect
18/10/2014 Arapuni to Mangakino The Waikato River Trail
wonderful switch backs 
It was supposed to be a rainy day and so the short 54 km to Mangakino seemed appropiate. We had vaguely planned to go further but were repeatedly told that what we were planning was a full days worth.
The inital road section was easy and then we started the Waikato River trail. We were immediately immersed in thick subtropical forest on single track. Beautiful. Shortly after starting the track we found ourselves on a 200m descent with switchback after switchback, 37 in all, technically challenging on a good mountain bike and even more interesting on a heavily laden bike with panniers. This was graded as a Grade 4 Advanced mountain bike route and so progress was slow. Some of the ascending proved to be too difficult on a few occasions due to the steepness and the wet and slippy conditions and so we were forced to push which was also a struggle. The descending was also pretty exciting with a few brake locked wheel skidding moments. Thank goodness we were at least tracking OK at the front with the new freebie tyres. The track was interspersed with occasional small gates which we had to lift our bikes over as the panniers wouldn't fit through and as there hadn't been enough non cycling exercise we had 8 sets of stairs to descend as we arrived at Waipapa dam.
Mangakino was a fairly basic small town with a ubiquitous Four Square supermarket next to fish and chip shop. We felt compelled to visit both of them.
The Lake Maraetia lodge at the end of the day was surprisingly nearly fully booked by a family of 14, but fortunately they didn't have a loud celebratory party and we had a peaceful night.

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