This section of the trail follows the Alps to Ocean cycle trail north to Lake Pukaki, around the Eastern side of the lake, and then along the Tekapo Canal. Funnily enough, there is no tenting allowed between Lake Pukaki and Tekapo, leaving an incredibly long 43km stint to try and fit into one day. For this reason, lots of TAers opt to hitch hike this section, and more and more are hiring bikes and cycling the section, which is exactly what I did.
After a wonderful cooked breakfast, the fam and I naturally went out in search of coffee and more to eat, and I picked up my bike for the day, apprehensively entrusting the staff with my pack. After another photo shoot we said our goodbyes and I set off, complete with some of Anne’s delicious homemade rocky road slice gladwrapped and stowed in the pannier bag.
Cycling gave my knee some relief from the repetitive impact and huge weight it was used to bearing, and I didn’t notice it too much throughout the day.
The view was breathtaking arriving at Lake Pukaki, and I took a long break there, giggling at the people trying to aim their phones just right to make it look like their friend was holding up Aorangi. I continued to take lots of breaks heading up the shore of the lake, feeling relaxed with time on my side.
The trail after the lake was mostly gravel and mostly flat, except for a few beautiful paved sections and a few steep inclines that I got off and pushed for (biking uphill is one of my pet hates).
I arrived in Tekapo before my bag did, and I parked myself in a cafe and ate nachos while I checked in with friends and ordered late census forms.
Later after I’d checked into the lodge and visited the supermarket, I sat with a bag of frozen peas on my knee while my easily-entertained Japanese roommates took turns trying on my pack and taking photos of themselves with my hiking poles. One of them nonchalantly showed me his phone, on which he’d written ‘She birthday yesterday and we now surprise’, so I was able to break into a sudden loud rendition of Happy Birthday with the rest of them when the signal was given.
Tomorrow will be a day off, and I’ll spend it deciding whether or not to carry on at this point or to take some time off in hopes that the knee will heal. It hasn’t felt any better after a day of cycling, but then again it hasn’t had a proper rest yet so that’s not entirely surprising. Tomorrow will tell!