I hit the gas and immediately felt the frail Super Windy wallow in the squishing gravel beneath my tyres. I pressed the reluctant Toyota further, correcting and recorrecting while bearing even harder on the gas pedal. The car bucked and heaved as we progressed, groaning under the pressure until finally popping up and over the far shoal. Shocked at my progress and proud of the mighty Windy, I retraced the previously laid tire ruts back to my original path where I resumed the road less traveled. Mt Hutt was waiting and the rain was near once again.
Pinning my hopes on the advise of the already gone hippie roadmates, I took a steady deep breath and began to chart my forthcoming uncharted territory ahead. The landscape rose around me to my sides creating a broad but steep sided valley covered from head to toe in tussocks or grass... which is where the name for this preserve came from "National Tussock Preserve". Convenient. The Super Windy and I carried on the gravel road with a leisurely pace which i had privately hoped would spare me any further flat tyres. Emptiness soon saturated the hills and valleys with which i quietly traversed. There were no others in this far away place and the silence felt total and complete. Sans the usual ringing in my ears (thank you late 90's Metallica concert). I had no idea exactly how long this road would go or how bad it would get, but these feelings were slowly washed away by the overwhelming beauty before me and a quiet sense of rightful place. Inside I knew that this was my place and my time to see it. I was designed to be there at that time in history.
Miles and miles clocked away as i moved from one tussock coated valley to the next. It wasn't too long however until the wildlands began to fade and humanity's influence once again seeped its way into my consciousness. The gravel road was replaced with pavement as i passed well kept grazing pastures. These passed onto a remote homesite which marked the end of that road's length. I took the left turn my map told me to take and I carried on to Mt. Hutt.
I picked up my pace as nightfall would be coming soon. The extra speed and smooth roads allowed me to dig deep in the Super Windy's bounty of power ;-) threading my way through forested glens at full stride. Up until i came across a bridge crossing. The twilight was dimly passing by i knew i wanted a quick break before i searched for a proper place to rest. The bridge itself was typical for NZ, single lane, wooden and painted white to contrast against the world it soared above. The water below it was typical NZ as well, deep silvery turquoise showcasing it's silty glacial sediment caught in rolling suspension. The river was broad and fast moving. It looked absolutely great for kayaking. But without a kayak and without much light, i gathered myself and carried on for the town of Methven.
Methven is Mt Hutt's "resort community" located an incredibly convenient 45 minutes away from the ski area it professed its love towards. I found the town quietly shutting down for the evening as I scanned its businesses for a modest home. The only place I found was an overpriced (but comfortable and friendly) hotel which came complete with a communal kitchen... located across the street shrouded in complete darkness. The lone kitchen served me well though, as it allowed me to cook a decent meal which I quickly consumed. I made my way to my room and fell fast asleep amidst thoughts of the lofty snow covered peaks of Canterbury. Mt. Hutt was only 8 hours away.