Whakamaru Dam south on Waikato River Trail

Tonight I’m staying in Mangakino with Kerry and our mountain bikes, with a plan to ride the W2K track at Taupo tomorrow.

We arrived in time for a late lunch, then drove down the river to the Whakamaru hydro dam where the trail crosses the highway.

I looked with interest at the dam and the new substation being built, seeing as how we might be buying a small shareholding in Mighty River Power in a few month’s time.

By now it was after 2pm, and realising that it is the shortest day of the year, we set off down the trail, with a plan to turn around after an hour or so before it got too dark. On the western side of the Waikato the sun was shining brightly, but our side was rather cold and dark, so I soon took of my sunglasses so that I could see the track properly.

It was surprisingly challenging, partly because some of the hills had lost most of the metal surface and the clay was slippery. Roots from pine trees created a few exciting moments.

A few downhill sections lead to bluffs dropping down to the water, promising a cold dip if things went badly wrong.

About half way to Atiamuri we reluctantly decided to turn around. The trip back only took about 50mins, so the sun was still shining brightly when we came back out of the valley into the open by the dam.

Now we are back at the house in Mangakino with the fire blazing, and a leg of lamb about to go in the oven. I’m looking forward to a big ride tomorrow; hope the weather stays dry.

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