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A small contingent from Mid Canterbury (make that about 20 of us) spent a night in the Castleridge Station Shearers Quarters one Saturday night in early May. Before that day ended we had a leisurely mountain bike ride in the Hakatere Conservation Area to Boundary Creek Hut.
We loaded up the 4WD vehicles and headed from the shearers quarters along the Hakatere Heron Road to a gravel area - not signposted - with a 4WD track that leads to a car park area and a locked gate. 2WD can get only so far as you need a vehicle with high clearance to navigate over some of the rutting and rocks, otherwise park just off the road and bike from there, it only adds about another 1.4 km to the trip.
From the lockaed gate we got our gear ready and jumped on the bikes. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful sunny wam May day, just ideal for a backcountry mountain bike ride.
The track to Boundary Creek Hut follows an old 4WD track for about 9km with minimal height gain on the way in. Not long into the ride there we pass another 4WD track with marker poles, this heads to the Garden of Eden (not the glacier one). We kept on the main track heading towards our lunch destination.
We had many stops along the way to take in the big mountain scenery we were riding through.
About 2km from Boundary Creek Hut as the highest point on the track, we pass another 4WD track poled route, this heads towards Mystery Lake in behind Lake Clearwater, something to do on another trip. From here it's all downhill to the hut, this is the steepest part of the track and it's only the thought of the return journey that has us a little concerned but that's not till after lunch so it's soon forgotten.
At the bottom of the hill we round the corner and arrive at Bourndary Creek Hut. An old corrugated iron hut in a big open sunny spot right beside Boundary Creek. It has about 6 bunks inside, concrete floor, open fire, table with chairs and even a couch - talk about a bit of backcountry luxury.
We park the bikes and lounge about in the sun enjoying a well earned lunch. Some time goes by before we decide to stretch the legs and wander down to the South Branch Ashburton River, this is big mountain country. We look in the direct of Top Hut and make plans for a future trip into the area.
Eventually we head back to the bikes, mount up and head back on the return journey. The hardest part was going back up the hill behind the hut. Most of us elected to walk the bikes which only took about 15 minutes to get to the top, from here the pedals barely turned as it was all downhill back to the car park. Speeds increased along with the squeels of delight as the wind rushed through the bike helmets.
Back at the car park we packed up the vehicles with the bikes and headed back to Castleridge Station for a pot luck dinner, roaring fire and a few good bottles of wine and talk of the next days bike trip, out to Lake Heron and around to Harrisons Bite.....