It’s a New Year
Happy New Year!
2018 was pretty busy on the web design and development front, but we also did more video work than usual. A few private projects but also some projects focused on video marketing for small businesses.
We acquired some more camera and video gear with a few software updates to boot and we’ve already got some video projects shaping up for this year.
It was great to have a break and relax with family and friends over the Xmas/New Year period – and step away from things digital for a moment or two.
It was also good after the break to get some fresh eyes on this website and address the simmering dissatisfaction I’ve had with the look and feel of it for most of last year. It’s the old story of the neglected builder’s house I guess – too busy building other people’s websites to have time for your own.
The ‘new’ theme has been in a pretty raw state for a while having replaced the old one with a fairly blank slate. It’s often hard to get perspective on your own website, so moments of clarity need to be grasped and actioned…
We made a few changes but there’s a long way to go.
West Coast Wilderness Trail
We tend to do our holidaying at off-peak times and towards the end of last year did a wee stint on the West Coast Wilderness Trail. Very enjoyable and suitable for riders with a reasonable level of fitness and experience. Great scenery, lots of luscious West Coast flora, some interesting and beautiful fauna and plenty of local history. Kumara is a great little town to base yourself in with some great accommodation options.
Information on the West Coast Wilderness Trail here: www.westcoastwildernesstrail.co.nz
We opted for a two day trip starting at Kumara and ending at Hokitika and definitely plan to go back and do some of the other sections.
Within the first hour from Kumara, you’ll arrive at the Kapitea Reservoir.
Here’s a New Zealand bush giant dragonfly (Uropetala carovei) that I came across at -42.7532770, 171.2200890. They were a pretty common site and quite unafraid of humans. One rider we talked to said one of these large dragonflies had perched on her backpack for around 5km!
How technically challenging is the West Coast Wilderness Trail?
Officially most of the trail is rated Grade 2 with Grade 3 being applied to some on-road sections. The trail incorporates some gravel roads, other sections are formed gravel tracks and suitable for side by side riding, other sections are well formed single track. Overall, track quality is excellent. One thing to watch though is, in fact, the gravel. Obviously a necessary part of forming the track, but there were varying amounts of loose gravel which can present a hazard to those on two wheels, especially when descending and cornering at speed (stay off the front brakes).
There were a couple of sections (between Kumara and Hokitika) that might present a challenge to riders with no mountain biking experience. The first was part of the track down to Cowboy Paradise from the road above – mountain bikers will enjoy this section that offer some ‘single track’ thrill and has some hairpin bends on one section with a bit of gradient. Pretty sure we heard of a few people coming off their bikes on this stretch (or it may have been the section after Cowboys P – see below).
Riders that haven’t had any single track switchback experience might find these corners – some of them with fairly unforgiving drops off the edge of the track – a bit tricky. Frankly, I was quite surprised to see something that challenging. Some may want to walk those corners rather than risk a spill that could spoil your day.
There are another couple of sections just south of Cowboy Paradise with some turning challenges – I don’t recall them being as technical but if you were going a little too fast, you might come to grief. Drop your seat down a bit and go easy on the front breaks!
Gradient wise, there’s a bit of a climb in the Kumara to Cowboy Paradise section – highest point is probably Kawhaka Pass at 317m – but depending on where you’re staying that night and how much daylight you’ve got, there’s likely no reason to rush that section. If you started the day at Kumara and are staying at Cowboy Paradise for instance, you’ll have plenty of time for stops to take in the ambience, explore your surroundings and enjoy the scenery. We stayed at Lake Kaniere and still had a reasonably leisurely ascent to Cowboy Paradise.
There are a few river/weir crossings which could present a challenge (or impassable barrier) after rain – check with the website for current track status info.
More images and some video to come.