No Turnin' Back
Driving out of Christchurch, we made a detour to Mt Hut. The turn-off was deceptive. A well paved road rapidly deteriorated into a steep gravel road with hairpin turns. The gradient grew so steep that we had to down shift to second and then first gear to continue climbing. LC was driving and was naturally anxious as the road become increasing more hair raising. She suggested that we turn back. I thought that the road was too narrow to attempt turning around and said that I’d take over driving to press on and find a safer spot to turn. I didn’t fancy driving of the edge of the cliff trying to turn around on the narrow road.
This picture was taken at the spot where we stopped to change over the drivers. We are so high you can see the curvature of the earth in the picture! Not really though. The curvature in the horizon is really from the barrel distortion due to lens of my camera. After taking the picture, I realized that there was a burning smell from the car. Engine overheating from the prolonged run in first gear? Who knows, but we were certainly anxious as we pressed on to find a place to turn around.
We finally found a place broad enough to turn around here, but I suggested we press on as we seemed to be near the top. I had quickly forgotten the stomach clenching drive up to this point and assumed the drive would get easier.
It was at this point that we were passed by another car. You can see it in the second picture as a tiny white dot. It turned out, we were lucky this car passed us and car drove on ahead. The driver of the other car eventually turned around and told us that there was ice on the road ahead as he passed us going back down. We might have run into some trouble with the ice if he hadn’t told us. As things turned out, we managed to get safely back down after our little adventure.