After the excitement of waking up to snow which had fallen overnight in Ranfurly, we headed off to check out the countryside. We thought we’d take the river road and head back along a different route towards Kyeburn Diggings where we could also check to see if the falcon was hunting again. Kill two birds with one stone so to speak!
The scenery is stunning; a monochromatic winter wonderland of snow covered paddocks, bare willow trees, Mt Knobbler and the Kakanui Mountains hidden behind the fog (don't forget to click on the photos to enlarge).
The main road is clear of snow & ice and there’s only the odd vehicle and us out and about.
Further down the road and the mountains poke their heads through the fog.
And this is what happens when I shout to David "Stop!"...
....I need to take another shot….(it slid down off the roof).
We turn off the main road and head down the very muddy and ochra coloured Kyeburn River Road.
Stopping again to take in the views…
When out of nowhere the Rural Postie comes flying past trailing a spray of muddy water behind him and over us. We’ve seen him several times while we’ve been out exploring and he must be wondering who the heck are these mad people that are always parked on the side of the road in the strangest of places.
More sheep waiting for their feed and keeping out of the mud by standing on a high point …
Ahead of us as we near the end of the road is the snow covered Ida Range.
The spot colours of a hay-baler and a silage trailer break the snowy scene just before we turn right onto the Danseys Pass Road.
It's lucky we explored the Danseys Pass just two days ago…
…when this was our greeting. It’s hard to believe it’s the same place.
We head over the Kyeburn River….
…stopping to check out the scoured and now snow covered cliffs of the Kyeburn Diggings…
And then continue on towards the poplars where we’d seen the falcon the other day.
The hawks are still there, gliding, diving and stirring up the thousands of finches that were feeding in the winter feed paddock, just like the other day. But with no falcon in sight I left David scanning the horizon, while I walked down to the bridge….
To take another photo of the river and cliffs…
Which certainly looked very different to the other day.
As I was walking back I heard a vehicle approaching, it was the Rural Postie again, his run probably took him up to the Dansey Pass Hotel and back.
He called out a greeting as he slowed to pass us and then he’s gone, he’s got a run to finish.
Can you tell it’s bitterly cold? My ‘Little Black Stick Man’ is back, although it appears he has put on some weight…no wait, that’s his multiple layers. And still he was cold. Mind you, you know it's cold when the water bottles in the side pockets of the car doors are both frozen!
The falcon failed to make an appearance and so I took one last photo of the Kakanui Mountains (my favourite shot of the day)…
…before we headed off towards Naseby, which certainly looked like an alpine village as we drove down the hill.
We stopped at The Royal Hotel for a late lunch (no soup on the run today), the town was deserted again but the pub had a warm fire roaring away in the fireplace and the barmaid was friendly and welcoming. We ordered our meal and sat at the bar to wait. An old timer opened the door behind us, shuffled in and sat on a stool near us. He called out a greeting to the barmaid and she poured him a drink without asking what he wanted; he was obviously a regular.
We got talking to him and he told us The Royal was his local even though he lived on a farm near the Danseys Pass Hotel, 30kms away. He had lived all his life in the Danseys Pass Valley and would be buried in the historic Kyeburn Diggings Cemetery (the one we visited the other day) overlooking his favourite river. The river where he had a gold claim that he worked regularly now that he’d sold off the farm keeping just the house and home paddock for himself.
After a bit of chit-chat and passing the time of day he must have felt comfortable with us because he told us he was off to the Gold Office in Arrowtown to sell the results of his latest efforts in the river. He reached into a small pocket on the inside of his jacket and brought out a glass vial containing hundreds of flakes of gold. He told us he thought he'd get about $1200 for this little lot and then let us hold the vial to feel the weight, his hand hovered about underneath in case we dropped it. What a surprise, it was quite heavy in comparison to its size.
He carefully tucked the vial back into his pocket, as we retired to our table to have lunch, and then carried on quietly supping his drink. We certainly meet some interesting characters on our travels.