12 September 2007
Huia Ridge Track
Short report: don't try this one unless you are on top of your training, unless you've got good strength and fitness in your ankle and knee stabiliser muscles, (and have your hiking poles along).
Boots are essential: they are going to get wet; and they are going to get filthy.
ARC track notes write this up as a "walking track", which, when you put it alongside the Goodfellow track or the Kitekite Falls track, is just plain miscommunication.
At least the guys on the ground have it right:
The track is advertised as a 2hr 5m trip to Karamatura Forks,
but I reckon you'd need to be an athlete to do that in the prevailing
Also, unless you have alternative transport organised elsewhere, and there are numerous possible options, this will be a walk in and walk back exercise. The track is often steep, and mostly boggy and slippery, at least along the first 90 minutes in, (fatman time).
The parking area on the Piha Rd is minimal, with slightly more room on the other side of the road. I suggest you use Lone Kauri Rd, where there's a two car parking area where the track meets the road. I parked here, and walked the first section twice, there and back.
It is advertised at 10 minutes each way. Fatman time is just over 20 minutes each way. I'll deal with this section first, though in fact I walked it at the end of the day.
It is a good deal more friendly than the other. From LK Rd it begins as an open track through scrub
If I wasn't a gardener, I'd probably enjoy the spring flowers a good deal more...
Actually, I have used wild onion as a spring onion substitute before. Just a little stronger in flavour, but otherwise perfectly acceptable and definitely not poison as the common myth has it. None of the onion family is poisonous as far as I know.
Make sure, though that you can tell the difference between these and snowflakes/snowdrops (Leucojum)
The blackberry and wild onion give way to scrubby natives.
and we enter, briefly a small patch of bush.
The track is wet and sloping to one side and slippery, but relatively firm underneath, nevertheless. I pick out a way along the top.
We emerge into more open scrub, and, to my delight, a specimen of bush lawyer in flower.
The last time I saw this kind of profusion was a huge spray of flowers overhanging the deck at my neighbour, Phil Percasky's, many springtimes past.
I take a little time to enjoy the delicate flowers.
A few metres on and a hangehange is just about to do it. Next week perhaps...
God, spring is exciting.....
I think this might be the fence referred to in the ARC notes that the track follows from the Piha Rd, but this one is parallel to the road. In fact the traffic noise along here is quite close.
We sidle down the hill towards the main road
There's a creeper with heart shaped leaves that I keep meeting along these paths and I still haven't identified it.
Another old fencepost signals a U turn in the sidle as the track heads on down
I wonder whether this might be a variety of asparagus fern, which is not a welcome visitor, anywhere.
A kiokio sprouts a lonely leaf from a clay bank
We head on down and the traffic noise is really loud.
September and the Piha Rd is waking up again after the winter.