Host to Northlands highest peak, and may I add, the muddiest (!) - Raetea Forest is steep, rooty, rugged and most definitely not for the faint hearted. It really does make you feel 90 Mile beach was in fact a relaxing holiday in paradise. With a turn in weather and the brewings of a storm blowing in, my hike up was humid as hell! It was great to chat in passing to so many female hikers taking on the TA, YOU GO GIRLS!
Article by Natalie Gallant
I said farewell to the wonderful Allison at Cape Reinga Lighthouse and trotted off down the trail…only to stop 10 minutes later to trouble shoot some seriously annoying pack jiggle! For those of you who know what it feels like to run without a bra, yeah you can sympathise with my issues! I explain more in my video below…
Q. Is my eleven year old child a talented runner?
A. It is impossible to know. Is your child having fun with their running?
I am going to assume for the purpose of this article that the answer is yes. If it is no, then that is a whole different kettle of fish.
When Richard Ford finished the Godzone adventure race in Fiordland a couple of years ago, he felt neither elation nor disappointment.
It's finally happened, we have either cracked the code, or we have completely lost the plot. Zebra stripes meets Good Night Kiwi with all of the colours of the rainbow making up the Test Pattern Tee, Singlet & Socks. You're certainly going to stand out. Get yours while you still can.
Mark Watson would likely describe the Routeburn Classic as 25km of hope, 7km of truth. This is the home stretch, and if you manage your intensity for the first 25km, this section will be a breeze.
The track is soft under foot, slightly downhill and follows the Route Burn through beech forest that in places appears to be growing in nothing more than a thin layer of moss.
What goes up, must come down, and it is all downhill from here to the finish line, well, kind of.
Have a look at your watch as you come over Ocean Ridge. By time, you are approximately half way.
From Ocean Ridge to Deadmans Track you will have a majestic alpine vista across to the Darran Mountains, and down the Hollyford Valley towards the deserted paradise of Martins Bay. A manicured surface, and undulating terrain make this one of the fastest sections of the event.
There is a good chance you will hear and see Kea during the event. The large mountain parrot is recognisable by its shrill ‘keeeaaa’ call. The clown of of the mountain will likely be hanging around scavenging off anything it can get it's beak onto.
As the gradient flattens from Earland Falls, you be will rewarded with an ancient forest draped in moss and lichen, with an emerging backdrop of Darran Mountains as the sun lights up the western side of the Hollyford Valley. It is worth noting that because you are on the eastern side of the valley you won’t feel the warmth of the sun on your back until you leave Lake MacKenzie. Gloves, arm warmers and beanie might be a smart choice.
For those who are struggling to contain their excitement, there is a conveniently, though bizarrely located toilet a kilometre after Earland Falls.
The picturesque view across Lake MacKenzie and up to Emily Pass, is one you will often see in brochures and magazines. Lake MacKenzie is also the location of the last known sighting of the Moa, as recently as 2003. For competitors, Lake MacKenzie serves as an aid station, and compulsory gear check.
Leaving Lake MacKenzie, above you to the west is the imposing face of Ocean Ridge, which serves as your next climb. The climb can be broken into two halves. The first half in the forest with rough uneven rock cut stairs. The second half a series of heart breaking switch-backs in open alpine daisies, and buttercups.