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.
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 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.
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.