Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rail Trail Walk. Day One

On Tuesday last we drove from Alexandra to the other end of the Rail Trail in Middlemarch, pausing on the way to drop off our bags at the Otago Central Hyde Hotel. After a coffee in Middlemarch we set off, having been warned by a friendly man that the forecast rain would be approaching from behind us.

Tuesday's walk was 27, 28, 29 or 30 kms, depending upon which signs or literature one read. At one point, there were two signs within a few yards of each other, one saying that we were 13 kms from Middlemarch, the other that we had completed 15 kms of our journey. I think the days walk was 28 kms.

It was interesting to cross the family creek along the way. My name is Heaney, but as most people could not write when the area was being settled there are various spellings.

This is a bit of a firework display to celebrate the discovery. Gay loves a good fireworks show. I am sure you will have spotted that it is really plant life.

Shortly before reaching Hyde we passed this monument to the dreadful rail crash in 1946. More than half the people on board were either killed or injured. The train entered a bend at twice the recommended speed. I don't know if heads rolled.

We had munched a bit of dried fruit along the way. Having set off at 0930 we arrived at 1430, ate a spot of lunch, then generally lounged around watching cyclists arrive at the hotel either to stay or to have a drink before carrying on. Although it was cold when we set off, a strong sun came out. We weren't to see much of that in the next few days.

In the evening we walked a couple of hundred yards to a splendidly converted school where we had dinner with a large and jolly crowd from Christchurch. They were all couples except for John, who had left his wife at home. He owns a brewery in Christchurch and was very insistent that we should come to stay with him and his wife next time we are in Christchurch.

The hotel was good. Our booking was for ensuite, which was not quite true. We had our own bathroom but had to cross a corridor to get to it. A quaint aspect of the hotel was that there was no way of securing the room door, whether we were inside or outside.

28 kms down.

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