After hours of traveling, we made it to Christchurch, New Zealand from Minneapolis. We were riddled with anxiety the entire time due to the fact we were flying stand-by, so we were exhausted when we made it to our hostel around 1am and squeezed ourselves—and our 29er plus bikes, which had been packed tightly away in our Ground Effect Tardis bags—into our 90sqft room. Still, before bed, we started to assemble our bikes for the next day, all the while crossing our fingers that they had not endured any damage from the long journey overseas. Luckily, our bikes only had a few scratches here and there (which probably could have been prevented with better packing), and we finally got to close our eyes around 3am only to have to wake up and start pedaling at 7am the next day. new zealand bikepacking new zealand bikepacking In the morning, everything went according to plan and we caught a bus to Tekapo, which was our planned starting point. The bus took off and we fell asleep, and then four hours later, we awoke in another world. The terrain had changed from a flat coastal town to a picturesque mountain­ laden paradise. We looked at each other in shock and tried to soak in our surroundings. But it was time to get moving because we had a grueling 40 miles of unknown terrain ahead of us. We scrambled to gather food and fuel at the local market while leaving our bikes resting against a hitching post—which seemed so fitting, because after all, our bikes were essentially like Clydesdales. We were anxious to start the trek, but we quickly learned that getting everything situated takes time. We tinkered with adjustments, pulled on straps, repositioned seat posts, and finally everything felt right. After months of planning, accumulating gear, and sewing custom bags we were ready to begin pedaling toward our first ever bikepacking destination point: deep in the Godley Valley, far away from the rest of mankind. new zealand bikepacking new zealand bikepacking Cruising through the Alps and out of Tekapo we felt like kids again. We were alive in every essence of the word. Our bodies pumping, our eyes absorbing so many new sights: herding cattle, rushing glacial streams, technical 4WD tracks. Laughing and smiling, we couldn’t help but think, this is living. Finally, after 35 miles, we set up a camp before sunset. The dehydrated meals tasted gourmet as we sat surrounded by the southern Alps and stars that could only be described as 3D constellations. We felt so small. DSCF6072 new zealand bikepacking new zealand bikepacking As our journey continued, the days became longer and the trails got harder. Ten miles started to feel like thirty. Our legs were heavy and our skin was hot and red under layers of sunscreen and sweat. While we felt numb to the climb of yet another hill, we still felt the moments of bliss every time we hit a descent. All the pain became irrelevant when we reached a view we’ve only dreamt of. Imagine snow­capped mountains that trace the horizon strong and humbling below an aquamarine lake so vibrant it looks like a painting. Each new view was incredible. DSCF6077 DSCF5930 On day three, we pedaled down to Lake Pukaki’s hidden shoreline tucked away from the sun. Firing up our Trangia alcohol stove, we boiled water for some refreshing ginger turmeric tea. The lake called our names and we rushed in for a refreshing yet icy cold dip. Because of our sore joints and tired bodies, nothing had ever felt so good. We laid back and gazed at the mountains’ mirrored reflection in the crystal­-clear water of Lake Pukaki. new zealand bikepacking The days continued smoothly, until day four when coming to what we thought was the end of a long day, we hit a false ledge and Alicia started to doubt her strength. We were tapping into that mindset that only exists when you are being pushed out of your comfort zone. We paused to pep talk and finally continued to ride again. She felt almost psychopathic as a second wind hit, shifting higher to gain speed, and side-by-side we flew in a masochistic way. Smiling and laughing, we pressed-on knowing food was only miles away. Stuffing our faces will make it all better again, and hours later, our wishes came true as we stopped at a small diner in the quaint town of Twizel and relished the chance for a beer. Time disappears quickly as we rested and refueled, and night fell unexpectedly. Finally, with our bike lights illuminating in the dark, we left in search of a place to put our tent. new zealand bikepacking Over the days our journey continued, every day felt like a new adventure. We made friends, shared beers, had lunch and story time at a boy scout camp. We were kicked off farmland and thrown on a three­ hour excursion back across a massive valley. We laid in lavender fields and drank wine on a mountainside among breathtaking views. All in all, we had an incredible time and experienced adventure in a way we could not have even imagined. Nothing was missed while out riding and if it’s an adventure you are looking for, riding your bike will take you there. – Brian & Alicia, Hoot Ventures @hoot.ventures

2 Comments

  1. Sounds like you had a great trip! Thanks for sharing and for the great photos. Now where did I put my passport?

  2. Pingback: Gaia GPS: Not Your Average Smart Phone GPS App - Bikepacker

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