We woke at 5.30...brewed our coffee with the last gas and had a cup each of our patented power breakfast...a blend of muesli, Budget Brand Cocoa Pops, chocolate flavoured protein powder (hideous on its own) and whole fat milk powder (who takes trim milk tramping?).
Just blend with pure stream water and ignore the potential of didymo.
By the time we left Derelict at 7.30 we only had two muesli bars and two jelly beans to get us back to civilisation...oops...that's right...we had a handful of broken crackers and a chunk of Parmesan too.
We didn't know whether we could stay at Ohau Lodge where we were to pick up our bikes, but we knew there would be a feed and probably beer.
The last of the cold snap had blown over and the morning started cool. We walked in the shadow of the Ohau Range through soggy tussock and rock fall paths.
It was a gentle climb up to the pass that overlooked our destination. Lake Ohau.
As we stopped at the top for our lunch, Swiss Sobo, Antoine, floated up the mountainside towards us. He came across as one of the most content walkers we'd met.
His happiness was helped by the almost perfect day and beautiful valley we sat in.
Cool blue sky. Still cool air. A movie set mountain stream.
All this sat above a valley full of remnant beech forest that overlooked the cliché blue of Lake Ohau.
Thinking back...we may have been just about as content as Antoine...
We finished our cracker crumbs and made our way down through the forest...to the fierce heat of a MacKenzie Country drought.
The path to the Ohau Lodge was a TeA detour of about four kilometres along the new Alps to Ocean (A2O) Cycleway. Yet another natural link between walking and the well-on-its-way National Cycleway.
We usually walk into tourist lodges and swanky hotels feeling like Martians. It's not really our scene. But we were too tired and hungry to worry about that this time.
We also had business to attend to. The bikes we were hiring had been delivered to the lodge and our almost empty packs were going to be picked up and delivered from there.
All our preconceptions were left at the door as we walked in.
The lodge is friendly, unpretentious and kind of cool in a 60s and 70s retro way. The staff were really welcoming.
Guests were a real mix too. Contiki kids. The well-heeled. Mountain bikers, locals and passers-by stopping by for a beer or three. Us in our best gear...
It didn't take much thought to accept the lodge's offer of a three-course-meal-double-bed-continental-plus-cooked-breakfast-deal. Yeah we blew our "budget"...but...
Anna was sitting on the deck - vlogging or something - and we soon had the beer we had fantasized about. Followed by an enormous plate of nachos.
It was official...we were now happier than Antoine.
We were joined by one of the women (Lynne?) from reception. Like Anna, an English girl with a passion for New Zealand's tracks and trails.
Anna is like a good-luck magnet. If there is a Tiger Moth flying overhead doing loops, she's probably in it getting a free thrill...well she was the other day in Wanaka anyway.
At Ohau Lodge she'd managed to swing a table in the packed dining room with the owners, Mike and Louise Neilson. We went along for the ride.
Actually...that sounds a bit wanky. We had dinner at a table with a great bunch of people. We would've all enjoyed ourselves almost as much in a dimly lit backcountry hut eating dehydrated meals too.
Actually...that sounds like an insult to the lodge's chefs...ummmm.
Anyway it all ended better than any hut meal I've had when Mike bought out a couple of really nice bottles of Kurow red...Ostler.
Mike is chairman of the Alps to Ocean bike trail and Louise reckons he's spent about 75 percent of his time over the past couple of years working on the project.
Ohau Lodge is now more than a ski lodge. It's becoming a bike lodge too.
Bikes are big around here. Tomorrow we'll be finding out why.