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21 April 2007

Forbes Track

page 1

From our point of view the best thing about the Forbes Track was that it was downhill, but that's got to be relative.

To reach Forbes track, find your way to McKenzie Junction, either from Glen Esk Rd or from Anawhata Rd, and take the Quarry Track out of the clearing. You'll only be on this for a few yards before you see Forbes Track forking off to the right. From here it runs downhill, then up and down for a bit before heading downhill quite seriously to join the Centennial Track a hundred or so metres from the river.

Apart from the seriously downhill section, which requires step by step attention for the e & s, it is comfortable tramping track walking, with lots to look at close up and wonderful views out from time to time.

Miranda stops to check out the view which is one of those large panoramic ones

and we head on down a track which at this point reminds me of the Marguerite track in lots of ways

As I said, it's comfortable walking if you keep your attention on the job.

This one caught my attention: a mangemange (climbing fern) climbing up a supplejack cane. (Lots of supplejack canes on this track.)

We hit our first stream crossing and discover that it doesn't mean wet or muddy boots.

Sometimes I'd like to be inside the heads of the people who decide where bridges and steps are needed and why. Sometimes the process is obvious; sometimes, as on the Cascade Track, at least inconsistent.

A lush hanging fern catches my attention. I need to have another long sit down with my fernbook, as names I should know are escaping me.

This is one of my favourite mosses. (Confession: I also enjoy selaginella for it's carpeting qualities in the Woodhill Reserve, even though that's a little like being fond of kikuyu grass.)

Corokia buddleioides in good health is a handsome plant.

The best days for tramping, cloudy to overcast, unfortunately do not always make for good landscape shots, but some of the views down the Forbes Track are spectacular, especially with some massedclouds for effect.


While the size of your tummy limits the distance you can raise your knees you've got work to do, and while the distance you can step sideways or forward is limited by the ability of your ankles and knees to absorb the impact and remain balanced, you have work to do.

Obviously, the heavier you are the more work your stabiliser muscles must do. But unfortunately it doesn't stop there. If your weight increases by 50%, the load on your muscles increases by much more than 50%.

In very approximate terms, the thickness of a muscle goes up 1-2-3-4. The strength goes up 1-4-9-16. The load to be carried goes up 1-8-27-64. Which is why monkeys and kids scramble through trees easily, and adult humans do not.

This, fortunately is usually easier to do something about than your size is.

Once you are confident that your knees and ankles and hips can handle step at a time stuff, you're home free, and much of the Waitakeres opens up for you. The only variables then are time and distance.

But you do need to build up to this carefully. See Tramping for the Elderly and Stout.

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Food for Tramping

General Advice:
Specifically oriented to the Heaphy Track but relevant to other long walks for beginners and older walkers

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