Following yesterday’s grind on the roads this morning it was up with the Tui and off to meet Martin at the Cascades Kauri carpark for a run around the local.
Not sure what MM was keen for (he asked if wanted a LSR….. it sounded like a sandwich) I offered him gnarly and long or gnarly and short. Lucky he chose gnarly. We headed ‘up the guts’ as us trail runner sorts like to say (before staring off into the distance wistfully)by heading straight up the Upper Kauri track from the carpark walking and grunting and talking and moaning.
The ascent to the ridge is always a bit of a shock that doesn’t diminish however many times you run it. At the top we headed right onto Lower Kauri instead of continuing along the ridge and the crazy gnarly mud and technical trail began. I always love this bit of track (despite nearly falling to my doom here once – pre PLB) and although it’s pretty overgrown and hard to run for any length of time – please Auckland Council don’t go in and tarmac it as you seem to be doing with so many trails at the moment!
It’s messed up, no one goes there and that’s a good thing.
Up on to the ridge and in a moment of adventure and madness we decide to randomly head off onto the Wainamu Bush Track and make the loop wider since today being the Queen’s birthday means we have plenty of time (thanks ma’am by the way — even though I personally believe in democracy but not constitutional democracy). I’ve never run this trail before and it’s epic – twisty, technical fast downhill and despite a slight altercation with a bush, that leaves some great gouges on my right leg, i’m in paradise whooping as I fight to keep control on tree roots and mud and rock and zipping down the trail.
We arrive at Wainamu Junction all too soon (after a decent uphill stretch) and then it’s back to run the clay undulations of the Kuataika Track back to Smyth Corner. Onto the regular loop for a while before choosing a connecting trail back to Upper Kauri that again is one that is rarely explored.
After a while hitting wet duck boards I go over and manage to bend my fingernail back over on itself where it stays. Before the pain can set in I right it back into place (my top pain management trail tip there) and carry on across to get to Upper Kauri up the ridiculous stairs that now seem to turn the bush into a gym step work out – sans techno. Martin makes a good comment that he never expected me to break a nail on this run. It’s that kind of humour why I put up with him even when he wimps out of the 2nd lap of the Birkenhead trail run. No Martin I wont let you forget.
Heading down the Upper Kauri trail we meet our first folk of the day…overladen day trampers heading up into the loop. The lead lady is so surprised she lets out a little yelp!
Yes the muddy, bloody beings bounding toward her may look like big foot but we’re relatively harmless and only dangerous to ourselves it seems.
Down to the car park and done….3 hours of tough technical trail behind us and about 15km covered. Martin and I are both tired, muddy and blooded and have ridiculous wide grins on.
The meditation is over and now the day can start with all it’s chores and distractions.
Next time I’m on trail it’s randomly going to be in Yosemite after working in LA from the end of the coming week. Personally I can’t even begin to believe I’ll get to run the trails there. Also they have bears, snakes, wolves and even big foots (feet?) so who knows what the next adventure will bring! Promise to write even though my broken nail is distressing.