The next morning I went for a spin down the remaining 6km of track to the North-East while Mccardigan relaxed at the hut. It was rougher again & had only seen bike & quad traffic for a while, no 4wds. I crossed Dubious Creek (yes I walked that one 1st
) & got to Stony Flat, the end of the line.
I admired the mighty Mt Tapuae-O-Uenuku (Tappy to his friends) for a bit then buzzed back to Goose Flat.
We got on the track back out the way we had come. After cruising ahead a bit I realised I had lost Chris. The further I went back the more worried I got so I turned up the pace a bit only to have my long suffering panniers finally break a strap. After ziptieing them back on I carried on back & was relieved to find an upright McCardigan. The R80 wasn't in such a happy position though.
A bit of a wobble & a badly placed rut had shot it over the side & into a thorny briar bush. We removed some weight then after much pushing & pulling & sweating & revving got it upright & back on the track.
We followed a slightly different route up the first part of the Heron stream & I popped in to the historic Black Spur Hut for a look.
Then it was up & up around the bluffs & switchbacks to Blind Saddle again.
Looking at the showers moving into the valley below we decided we had timed our exit about right. Some of the steep clay sections of track we had done would be all but impassable in the wet.
After signing out at the road end we rode southwest on the delightfully twisty inland Kaikoura rd to Waiau. After a beer at the pub we installed ourselves in a cabin at the campground. The Waiau Motor Camp
gets a special mention for the really friendly owners, priority motorcycle parking, great value, & nicely looked after facilities. Then it was back to the pub for a very tasty dinner & a few more ales.