Refreshed after our stay with Enrique and Taco we left town early on a sunny morning, 3 days of food on board for the stretch to Salida.
We planned a scenic day, visiting a natural rock arch then camping at Penitente Canyon, a reknowned rock climbing area. We loved the sandy, low key track that took us north to the Arch, before detouring into the Penitente area.
We had most of the afternoon so we had time to explore the canyon and watch the climbers (that was us a lifetime ago). We had a good walk around then I enjoyed a cycle round one of the mountain bike loops.
Next morning we were away early and a bit shocked to have a stiff head wind up the start of the Carnero canyon – it only lasted an hour then we were back to life as normal – a tail breeze. At the pass we were joined by Andy, also on a fat bike, he was on a tighter schedule than us so after a long descent and a shared lunch stop he took off.
More climbing up to a campsite just short of the next pass and then big descent the next day to the wee town of Sargents where we were hoping a big feed and were going to stay (so as to get a big breakfast as well). We were very disapointed that the restaurant was closed (not enough tourists around) so with no point hanging around, we stocked up on Doritos, bean dip and sticky buns and headed off for another 10 miles. Alan had been having neck problems but the 2 coffees kick started him and we were surprised to make it most of the way to the next high pass.
It was an amazing 30 mile descent to Salida – a beatiful town of 5,000 sorrounded by mountains, everyone rides a bike and white water in the middle of town where people were surfing in their lunch break – not too different to Wanaka. It is a popular layover on the Divide so we will take advantage of that piece of advice and rest up and eat up.