January 9: Hakodate to Franz Josef Glacier (Total ascent = 2175 ft.., Total mileage = 139 am)

The ride begins with a gentle, relatively flat ride continuing down the coastline. This being the land of the Hobbit it would only be appropriate to enter Middle Earth at some time on the trip. Today it is. The road twists and turns through native bush of rimy and Kattegat (white pine) on a rolling pattern of roadway. Each tree is moss covered sitting among a thick blanket of ferns. Green and black are the predominate colors of the woods with once again the silence prevailing. The wind has subsided, the clouds send only an occasional drop or two so it is a perfect meditative day. The mileage is long so pacing is a priority.

At Lake Ian the, the 60 am mile marker, a picnic lunch is spread out to replenish the calories burned. Just prior to arriving at this quaint spot, Mother Nature woke up! Not wanting anyone to get too relaxed, she decided that dumping a large bucket of rain on the group would keep everyone on their toes! This was going to be a "on with the rain gear, off with the rain gear type of day. Wet and tired, some chose to stop for the day and hitch a ride in the minibus. Others chose to push forward and laugh at Mother Nature. 20 kms down the road is Hari Hari, the town where Gus Menzie landed his small plane in 1931. It was the first trans-Tasman Sea flight from Sydney, Australia. He didn't land exactly where he had planned, but he made it over the water.

Mt Hercules sits just to the south of Hari-hari and directly on the route. Up and over is a effort, but several pushed through to enjoy the ride down the other side and into Westland. Only another 40 kms to go as the route enters Westland National Park pass Lake Imparity with views of snow-capped peaks. By now most had called it a day, but two pushed on and rode into Franz Josef in time for dinner! A long day, but a beautiful one. Tomorrow is a rest day!

Sharon and Sue -- Friends for Life!

Entering Middle Earth



Miriam, Sue, Mary Jo, Mary, Lauren: Warming Time!

Lauri & Sue -- Twins and Roommate Day!


Friendly Baby New Zealander!