360 Panorama view north of Ada Flats and the Waiau river valley  from half way up Spur Saddle (Scroll right to view full image)360 Panorama view north of Ada Flats and the Waiau river valley from half way up Spur Saddle (Scroll right to view full image)

The next of the Cycle Trails to tick off the list was the St James Cycle Trail. With two vehicles between the four of us we were able to leave one vehicle at the St James Homestead and start at the Mailing Pass entrance and cut out a 25km road bash.

Day One was a short 20km climb (=420m) up to Mailing Pass before a fast descent into the Waiau and on to Lake Guyon Hut. A rocky section of the descent had a rear tube on John.H's bike pinched in two places due so out came a new tube. Lesson learnt - increase tyre pressure... The trail down to the river from the carpark was a 4 wheel drive track that had seen plenty of traffic over summer and the single track thru to Lake Guyon hut was equally well used and easy to navigate. We also had a ride up to Stanley Vale hut, details can be found here.

Day Two (45km, +820m) had us quickly back down to the main track and enjoying the spectacular views down the valley. The single track was a tad rocky in places and necessates a soft-tail if you don't want your arse hammered. We encountered a heard of wild horses on the slopes of Spur Saddle which didn't seem to mind us riding thru the middle of them. We has a lunch stop at Pool hut before crossing the swingbridge and continued down the river to the terraces. After a steady climb up to Charlies Saddle we had a great fast descent to Scotties hut. It was a bit of a grind from there up the Edwards valley and then an ugly, steep climb up to Peters Pass. The payback was a fabulous 7km descent down Peters Valley to the homestead.