KIWI RIDER 10 2018 VOL.1 - Page 31

Cook River through the rain WEATHER BOMB I hate my wet weather pants. Yesterday’s euphoria has been replaced by a certain dread. ‘Got a wet arse, and no fish’, as my father used to say. The threatened weather had arrived behind me. There were reports of damage, floods and blocked roads. I left the Coast and went up the inland route to Nelson. I decided to go right and forego the pleasure of Fox River, Crow Bay and Punakaiki in favour of outrunning the rain. So, south of the Bridge, I turned onto SH7, towards Inangahua, Buller, Murchison and the long running roads into Nelson. Greymouth was as I remembered – wet, drizzly, bleak, grey and stinking of burnt coal. The Brunner Mine Disaster memorial does nothing to lighten spirits. I rolled on winding country roads, in and out of showers, dry patches, downpours and delicious looking rivers. Crossing the Ahaura river I could stand it no more. I pulled over, and awaited the farmer mowing a paddock. He saw me and slowly made his way down to the gate where I leant. “Gidday, is it okay if I fish your river?” “Go for your life, mate”, he smiles. The Ahaura River is wide, clear and I have seen big trout working above the bridge. I de-rigged, hid the bike from the road, set up my fishing gear, and made my way to the rivers edge. I find a cliff and go below. There’s gorse, blackberry, a bit of mud and another cliff, I can’t get down. I could cast to the fish, but any retrieve is impossible. I crossed back, getting scratched to hell, walked a couple of hundred metres along the paddock edge, and the entire bank is made up of fallen willows, rotting, broken and entangled. No way down. The fish remain completely unmolested. I pack away my fishing gear for the last time. It will not be used on a bike trip again. It stayed grey in weather, mood and sky until Inangahua Junction. Joining the fantastic Buller Gorge Road is a pleasure and the colour came back into my ride and the day. I love this place. I passed the stables where Stephen works his magic with horses and drays, still beside his beloved river after all these years. I tooted the horn. He had no idea it was me, couldn’t care less I imagine, and I rolled onto a welcome lunch stop in Murchison. KIWI RIDER 31