The Old Ghost Road3 days, 85k of alpine single track
The Old Ghost Road is a beautiful 85k stretch of single track that used to be old mining roads, but was recently converted and finished for use by cyclists and walkers. There are several well equipped huts along the way to stay in. We enjoyed seeing some remnants of the mining days along the trail. Tea anyone?
Day 1 was almost entirely climbing up and up. Excited trees greeted us on particularly narrow edges and sharp turns. The woods were peaceful, green, and full of ferns! Once we got above the treeline, the views were so worth the pain in our legs. Some of ledges were very rocky and we ended up walking our bikes - one wrong slip would result in a long tumble!
On Day 2 we said goodbye to the home on the cliff - Ghost Lake Hut. We met an interesting fellow biking couple with whom we continued to cross paths with for the rest of the trip. Before we could start on a flowy descent in the woods, we had to criss-cross down a rocky slope and then down a long set of steps. There is something so magical about the 360 view a ridgeline provides, so we didn't mind taking our time in this spot. Once in the woods, we stopped for a chilly dip in a deep river pool while we let our shoes air out for a bit. After meandering through a valley we climbed up the side of a hill that had multiple signs warning of the dangers of lingering in such an area due to the large boulders that have greatly changed the landscape during seismic activity. Jeff thought it would be a great time to bring up a story about 2 cyclists who had died in such an incident. If anything, it gave Ari a little extra fuel to push on up that climb into an area with fewer teetering boulders.
Specimen Point Hut provided shelter from both rain and sand flies the second night. We awoke to rain pounding on the roof, clearly planning on sticking around for awhile. After some hot coffee and muesli, we headed out. We were thoroughly damp within a minute, drenched to the skin in 10. The trail wound along a beautiful but imposing river gorge, sometimes coming too close to the edge for comfort. Small streams gushed energetically towards the river, providing interesting obstacles for us to cross. One in particular seemed set on pulling us down the mountainside and it was only with careful maneuvering and handing over of bikes that got us across. I've always said that you have never really lived until you've biked on slippery rocks on a cliffside in the pouring rain. And we were sure living! One of us was perhaps a little more cheerful about the rain than the other... :) The Old Ghost Road was such an incredible experience and I have no doubt that we will be back to do it again someday!