Thursday, 21 June 2007

Day 4 - Through the frozen zone

About 65km. Riding time 6 hours. Official time will show 7 hours, but we stopped at Mariazell Mission just short of the support station to have a look around.Mission stations with the most beautiful churches are dotted across this part of the country. They are often of small cathedral standard, some with a history of over a hundred years.

Now back to the frozen zone:
We left Masakala support staion at 6h30 toward Mataliele a few km's away across a flood plain. The temperature kept dropping, finally settling at 6 below zero. We were squeeling like pigs, because while we have warm gloves, they are buried away in our backpacks. and they are so tightly packed that finding the gloves on the trail would have been a time-consuming exercise. Eventually we stopped and searched through our packs, and spent a long time trying to put them on with lifeless hands.

Today, while short, included a spectacular section that entailed dropping into a grass-covered plain and heading mearly 20km's using various cattle trails that cross it.The instructions on how to enter the plain were typically imprecise (meaning: every group entered it a sifferent way). All around we could see the various groupspicking their way through the tracks, finally converging on the same spot on the other side. All in all, a great day out! I'm now chilling (editor: haha, funny dad) at a support station overlooking mountain ranges lightly coated with snow.

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