Wednesday 23rd, packed up and hit the road, most continuing on to Chch, with our car (Nelson, Pete and me), Mark and Marie, and The Boyz, cruising the 12kms up Aniseed Valley Rd, to the Hackett Picnic area. Great swimming holes, and easy trail in to a big swing bridge then up through some rocky-ass Mineral Belt and trail getting more interesting climbing, with some massive exposures to the gorge below, to an intersection - left for Browning, right for Hackett. Marie went for the right, the rest of us off up the trail towards Browning Hut. Some good bits, clean river crossings, sweet sweet singletrack, more rivercrossing - sluiced out mess of a river with boulders the size of houses, rooms and cars that'd been tumbled about by the floods of months previous, then rideable and unrideable steepness, roots, rocks, and much interestingness. Eventually, the hut was gained, at 480 m. Food was eaten, and sweat squeezed from doo-rags.
Descent. I headed off first, just wanting to get moving, and had a great time. Roots, rocks, all rideable down; shutes, blazing trails, took absolutely no time whatsoever to get down, first to the sluiced out riverbed, bit of a climb out of this, then onwards down. Sweet.
Took the left towards Hacket, forming a triangle of trails, and a grunty wee climb led to a wee saddle, with sweet descent to a gravel filled streambed, then loads of pig rooted ground and eventually to the hut. A couple of hunters in residence, brief chat, then onwards chasing Marie. Bit of trail re-arrangements in here, due to slippage and sluicing of rivers, through a strangely placed block of douglas fir. Back onto the trail we'd climbed and on down, blasting all the way. Lovely. Met Marie in the mineral belt zone, riding back up towards us cos she'd enjoyed that section of the trail so much. From here it was an easy blast back to the bridge then the open trails back to the car.
Into the river and cold water working on worn out legs was gooooood. On the road about 2pm, and home to the flatland smaug city by 7.