I made it to little used D.O.C. site by the name of Cameron Flats to stay the night. In the last 20km of the day, the scenery changed from grassy scrubland, to dense rainforest, the only problem being that it’s not rained here for several weeks. I’m appreciating the dry spell at the moment, even if the trees aren’t.. Cameron Flats sits just south of the Haast Pass. I mentioned it doesn’t get used much, and for good reason too – the sandflies where shocking – ‘little bastards’ to quote one follower of my blog. They were so bad, I spent half an hour trying to sweep them out of my tent with a small blanket I have. After I thought I had successfully squashed/removed them, I zipped my self into the tent for the night, and read my book for a while. Finally, I spread out the blanket as I do every night when in the tent, which released dozens of sandflies than had been wrapped up for the previous half hour. The sandfly eradication continued…. There were so many flies outside, it sounded like it was raining, what with the damn flies hitting the outside of my tent.
The next morning I prepared by covering every bit of exposed skin before exiting the tent. It was all going fine until I had to go for the ‘final ‘trousers off, cycling shorts & shoes on’ before leaving the camp. A mad dash in a fit of rage ensued.
I cycled up the Haast Pass (thankfully faster than sandflies can fly) which is only 500 or so meters high, and down the other side and proceeded to have 2 separate punctures and one of my front racks collapse. Oh, and a button fell out of my shirt (more important than you might think given the sandflies). The punctures were straightforward enough but the rack required a splint made out of a spanner from my tool kit, a jubilee clip and copious amounts of duck tape. I won’t mention how the sandflies affected the process of repairs….
Later on, I stopped and spent a good half hour picking blackberries – must have a good half kilo of them!! They are now sitting in the fridge in a huge bowl at the hostel I’m at here at Wilderness Backpackers in Haast.
So, as you can see not the easiest of days, but spirits are still high as there is little traffic on the road and it’s not raining (still only cycled one day in the rain in the last 4 months!)