Day 124: Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail to Lake Ohau Lodge
Tuesday, March 12, 2024 9:59 pm
Location: Lake Ohau Lodge (2552.9 km)

A second day of cycling along the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail brought me to Lake Ohau Lodge.

With “only” 37 km to cycle today, I wasn’t in a particular rush to get moving this morning. On my way back into town to get breakfast, I ran into Mikkel, who hiked all the way to Twizel from Lake Tekapo, getting to the holiday park at 9 pm last night.

After a little hunting, I found a breakfast restaurant that was good, even if it had a small menu. (No pancakes for me, but I did get sausage, eggs, and toast.)

While I was eating, I got a message that the bike company had found my detached trekking pole tip, and they’ll bring it to Lake Ohau Lodge at 1 pm, when they come to collect the bike. (Which was earlier than I was expecting, but it seemed reasonable to get there by then.)

On my way back, I passed by an outfitter, which had owned a few minutes early. I took the opportunity to look around. Surprisingly, they had replacement Leki anti-shock pole tips, but not the regular tips. I happened to notice the fuel cans, and remembered it had been a while since I’d gotten a new one. I couldn’t actually remember when, or how much fuel I had left, so I got a new can. (When I got back to my room, I checked, and decided I probably had enough to make it to the next town, Wanaka, but the new can should last me most of the rest of the trail.

Back at my room, I repacked the food I bought last night, at least a little, so it’d fit into my pack. With that done, I was ready to head out.

It was overcast, and a bit cool, so I took my fleece with me. I kept it on for only about fifteen minutes before I was too warm.

From the holiday park, I continued up the road from yesterday, reaching the Pūkaki Canal, which led to the Ōhau Canal. I cycled along very low-traffic paved roads (there were way more cyclists than cars), which did wonders for my speed. By the time the pavement ended, just after crossing the Ōhau Canal and reaching Lake Ōhau, I’d cycled 18 km in just over an hour. (I’m not going to be winning any speed records, but this is still easily 3.5 times faster than I could have walked the same distance.)

Pūkaki Canal
Pūkaki Canal
Ōhau Canal
Ōhau Canal

About a kilometer and a half after my break, the A2O crossed Ōhau River, bringing me back to the TA.

Lake Ōhau
Lake Ōhau

This next stretch of trail, along Lake Ōhau, was on single track gravel trail. It was wide enough to support cycling, and there was a reasonable amount of space on the sides to not run into the brush, but the brush was tall enough that there wasn’t much visibility, and I worried about both running into the sides, and having to avoid hikers or other cyclists. (I did have to avoid both, but I was going slow enough that it wasn’t a problem.)

Lake Ōhau itself was nice, though its color wasn’t as vibrant as Lakes Tekapo and Pūkaki had been because the sun continued to be hidden by thick clouds.

After reaching a car park, the trail exited to a road. Again departing from the TA, I continued down the road another few kilometers to Lake Ōhau Lodge. Ahead, a mountain behind Lake Ōhau had a rippled circular cloud hovering above it.

Clouds Over the Mountains
Clouds Over the Mountains

I reached the lodge at 12:30, checked in, and unpacked the stuff I brought with me on the bike. Right on schedule at 1, the driver from the bike rental company arrived, with my pack, and missing pole tip. A very light rain had started, a few random drops here and there but nothing to worry about; with the clouds, I was half-surprised it hadn’t started earlier. What little rain there was didn’t last very long.

Getting the pole tip back on my trekking pole was easy, I just had to put it on and then smash it into the ground a few times to secure it. It seems on there reasonably securely; I tried gently pulling on it, and it stayed firm.

I got a shower, then did my laundry. I got lucky on the timing; only a ten minute wait for the washer, and then when that was done, the dryer had freed up.

While I was waiting on the laundry, I got a sandwich from the lodge’s bar, which took nearly 40 minutes to arrive. My clothes had just about finished washing by the time I gulped down the sandwich (it was a long wash cycle).

Afterwards, still hungry, I ordered a nachos platter. This was more food than I really needed — especially since I was also getting dinner at the lodge. Lucky for me another hiker, Isabella had arrived, and I offered her half. (We first met in Methven at a breakfast restaurant, the morning I originally planned to go back to the trail.)

In theory, there was wifi (in the area around reception only, including the restaurant and bar), however, it rarely worked.

Dinner tonight was at 7:30 (late for me, which is why I had both the sandwich and the nachos). It was quite loud in the dining room, so it was hard to have a conversation even with the people sitting next to me. I sat with Nikki and James (the other two people doing the two-day cycle trip that enabled me to continue a second day to Lake Ōhau), and Isabella, and several other cyclists doing the full A2O trail.

Dinner was three courses, consisting of a soup, a beef or chicken main course, and a brownie and ice cream dessert. All of it was excellent, though I wished there had been more food.

The second day of cycling was hard on my hands, and my right hand was noticeably weaker than yesterday. At dinner, the utensils were rather heavy, and it was actually hard to use them.

After dinner, I quickly retired to my room, and relaxed in bed. Then the bed broke. Or at least one side of it: the top two wooden slats the mattress sat on broke; one split in half, the other was already broken, its attachment to the bed rails having fallen off (I found it in a dresser drawer) and the slat was half under the bed frame, not supporting anything. I shuffled over to the other side of the bed, which held firm.