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When Chris Bayne and Sandra Cain drive around the Otago hinterland, they know what lies behind the hills.
For they have been there, among the tussocks, during their combined involvement of more than 50 years with the Otago Goldfields Cavalcade.
The two trail bosses are preparing to head off on this year’s event, which will see hundreds of riders, wagoners, walkers and cyclists arrive in Patearoa next Saturday.
Mrs Bayne’s light wagon and riding trail will meet today at Ardgour, near Tarras, while Mrs Cain’s walking trail will start on Wednesday from Ida Valley Station.
Mrs Bayne (69) will mark 25 years as a trail boss, while Mrs Cain — who quipped she was "slightly older" — is marking 20 years, although she has completed 26 cavalcades — 25 walking and one riding. It is also the 25th anniversary of walking trails.
By the end of next week, Mrs Bayne’s husband Les would have taken part in all 28 cavalcades, along with fellow trail stalwarts Alice Sinclair and Brenda Harland.
"That’s just marvellous. Really it is unbelievable just to think they can come back year after year," Mrs Bayne said.
Their son Robin was also marking his 25th cavalcade, so it was "a bit of a family affair as usual".
Both women agreed leading a trail was a big undertaking. "It’s massive. I don’t think people realise how big it is. If they could see the stuff in my house ..." Mrs Bayne said.
"It’s the phone calls, the phone just goes continuously," Mrs Cain added.
But the rewards came from the countryside they traversed and the people they met. "For me, it has been a most awesome experience," Mrs Cain said.
This was her last year as a trail boss and she was looking at possibly doing a wagon trail so she had experience of the different trails.
Mrs Bayne, however, scotched any suggestion that she might lace up her tramping boots and tackle a walking trail.
"Don’t be stupid. How silly are you when you’ve got transport like this?" she said, indicating the Baynes’ cart pulled by Pippa Middleton, named because the mare’s hindquarters were apparently reminiscent of the back view of the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister.