With two months of Heaphy Hut track counter and DOC booking data available, a profile has begun to emerge of the typical Heaphy rider.
From an estimated 700 riders in May and 400 in June, 92% were New Zealanders, 64% of whom were men. The majority were in the 36 and 66 age category which really points to kiwi elder being more likely to stay overnight than kiwi younger. The figures are largely based on beds booked so there is no record for day-trippers.
They are on record in the Nelson Mail of June 21 however, where DOC Buller area manager Bob Dickson said that "rude, arrogant and abusive" behaviour would not be tolerated from them and that DOC would prosecute those who ride after dark.
While their is no statistical evidence to show how many day-trippers were abusive and arrogant, it is fair to say that in every group, there's always one. Overnighters would have their own brand of arrogance which would probably involve hogging the gas ring and snoring.
Frustration may be growing but it's more to do with the mud than the mud-slinging.
West of the Lewis Hut was reported to be a mud bath by a range of day-trippers, over-nighters, weekenders and trampers who were welcomed into the Kohaihai by the sound of Karamea Sound Machine over the equinox weekend. DOC have stated that the track was not showing any greater signs of damage than having large numbers of trampers go through, the last 10 days in Karamea have been warm and dry which will harden the old sod right up.
Top Tip: Wash your bike in the Kohaihai river. It's much easier than messing around with a hose in a shed when you should be enjoying a hot shower and a cold drink in Karamea.