A couple of weeks ago, Elijah organized a four wheel drive trip. He bought a souped-up Surf last year, and badly wants to use it, and has been wanting to go on a particular track for several years. It is called the Power Line Track, and goes from the Buller Gorge, over the mountains to Denniston, north of Westport. Five vehicles went on the drive, including Elijah’s Surf and another young man’s Surf, Simon’s L300 Mitsubishi ute, one friend’s Land Cruiser troop carrier, and another friend’s 4WD Mitsubishi van. They took off from here reasonably early one morning and got back late in the afternoon.
They took off from this bridge, the Iron Bridge, over the Buller river between the Upper and Lower Buller Gorges.
Ready to go! Elijah’s Surf is in the lead, and Simon brought up the rear.
Simon driving his ute, with Mr. Imagination in the coveted front middle seat.
They hadn’t gone very far when Elijah’s Surf stalled and smoke came out from under the bonnet. The ground wire had burned through and they had to jerry-rig something. No problem–there were five mechanics on the trip!
They came across a DOC camp, where people were checking on the local kiwi population.
The Surf made it through the deep river crossing!
As they approached the river crossing, the spare tire fell off the van.
This crossing was rather exciting–several people took videos of it! Everyone was worried that the van wouldn’t make it across, or that water would get through the air intake, since the van didn’t have a snorkel. If you watch the video, you’ll see our James leaning out of a window behind the driver’s seat, watching the intake to make sure water didn’t get in, and even putting his hand over it at one point. They had hooked a strap from the Troopie to the van to pull it through, in case the water got too deep and the van had to be shut off suddenly to protect the engine. No problem; it made it through–but as they came out the other side, the strap wound around the front axle and it was a challenge to get off.
Partway through the trip, the group came across this coal bank. There was an old chimney beside it; apparently, the people who lived in the house mined coal from here to heat their house.
At the end of the trip, the group drove up to Denniston, a former coal mine. This was the newest building up there, a bath house, which was vandalized after the mine closed.
Everyone who went on the trip enjoyed it! Esther and I enjoyed staying at home and getting some things done here without being jounced around for hours on a rough track.
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