My First New Year's trip was to the Kill Devil Track, one of Golden Bay's iconic backcountry trails. Mechanic extraordinaire Gazza and I have been talking about this trip for a while. 

This trip was a bit of an experiment with gear,  previous times I rode this trail with backpacks. But this time I used Stealth bike packer gear and a small day bag to spread the load around the bike. It worked out pretty well reducing the weight on my back but still being able to ride tech trail reasonably fast. 

First water supply across the tops on the Kill Devil track at the start of the descent down to the Waingaro river

Waingaro Forks Hut is one of my favourite local huts. A new book has recently been published by Potton and Burton on the history of NZ backcountry huts, "Shelter from the Storm" is highly recommended and has a section on the Waingaro Forks Hut.  

The weather was slightly rainy which was a big plus for us as on the first climb you usually get cooked in the sun on the exposed ridge and switchbacks. It was cool to get glimpses of the valleys in the surrounding mountains.

The infamous rock step

The infamous rock step

Where the kill devil track meets the Waingaro River

The descent down to Waingaro Valley is a long sublime single track through beech forest. A real highlight is the swing bridge crossing the narrow gorge with foaming white water just before the Waingaro fork hut. There is a bit of exposure here and you certainly want to make use of the hand rope bolted into the rock.

Waingaro River Gorge

Waingaro River Gorge

Waingaro river swing bridge

First up at the hut was to pull out the Jet boil, coffee and grinder for a brew in the sun. We had some great success with a quick meal of angel hair pasta and pesto using the Jetboil. The angel hair pasta takes a couple of minutes to cook, it's super quick. 

Jetboil MicroMo  on task,  Sublime Brew  in the Sun 

Jetboil MicroMo on task, Sublime Brew in the Sun 

The weather turned it on for the second day with a bit of a southerly wind across the tops to keep us cool and then the mega descent down to the Takaka Valley. 

View down into the Takaka valley 

View from the rock step looking across the Lockett range and down to Waingaro River
Superb Lunch spot, Waingaro river and Golden bay in the distance 

Superb Lunch spot, Waingaro river and Golden bay in the distance