The BFe is in the shop getting a front end service, so got the Singlist out and Nelson, Jet and me headed in two cars (so's Nelson could continue his merry way home afterwards) out over the old Waimak bridge and parked up about 6.30pm out next to the petrol station, the gate supposedly closing at 7pm.
Headed in, over the stopbank rise, Jet eager as, heading west we found the singletrack just before the motorway bridges and headed onto it, under them. Trail here is a nice packed gravel, reasonably narrow, but smooth, and pretty straight for long stretches. Low misty fog came and went, clouding our vision a bit along here too, the Waimakariri all the while on the left just on the other side of the willows, never far away. Nice pace, taking it easy but pumping along, Jet running ahead, falling behind, catching up, overtaking, having a great time, and never faltering, never slowing the whole ride. One brief (possibly) wrong turn took us onto the river side of the trees, riding ex-4wd silty trails that nearly bogged us down, but didnt quite, then it was back onto the better stuff. A long stretch alongside an open grassy area, then into a short section of willow forest, across a road and into more willow forest, interesting stretch, ducking and diving through more willow forest. All easy grade, a few little twists and turns and ups and downs. Far more natural than Mcleans.
Next we came to "Smith's Creek Loop", which isnt really a loop, next to a 'creek' (which Jet fell into not expecting it to be so deep while he got a drink). This track had a mucky section in the middle, and finished on a stop bank track, which made the loop back... So, instead of the stopbank (straight and smooth), we rode back along the Smiths track and back to the returning main track eastwards again, this one slightly further away from the river, closer to the stopbank. In here, the trail started throwing big smelly deep pools of water at us, all of which rode through, or alongside, Jet bounding through having a great time. A little slower going on account of the pools, but eventually we got to a cross track and our track went into an obviously much deeper stretch of water, so we took a right and got back out to the roadside park that cuts through the middle of the whole area. Followed alongside between the willows and this road looking for ways back in to the singletrack but seeing only more pools of standing water, dubbing them the Bayou.
Finally back at the motorway bridges, back on the track and heading eastwards now, some slightly cool bits of trail east of the old waimak bridge heading along, well drained, firm river silt and dirt under tall willow forest, eventually into a big open area, couple of long puddled/pool sections, and eventually up onto the stopbank, a view to the north, of Kaiapoi. Took the stopbank west, along behind Woodford Glen, then a Trailer Park, and then back down a road, finding the singletrack again and back towards the road bridges towards the exit. All up, total distance about 14kms, taking about an hour and a smidge. Just as we were finished and reading the info thing near the exit, the guys were there closing the gate, 7.30ish.
Be a great place to take kids, and dog... Probably wont do it again as a ride, cept maybe with my boys, tho I much prefer Bottle Lake, and that's closer to home. But, was worth the checking out...