Middle of Middle EarthBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Gabor Szikszai
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Front country - easily accessible
Out and Back
Native bushOpen farmlandsOpen ridges/tops
Beginner - Intermediate
This is one big 7+ km uphill slog, but it's worth it for the downhill, views, bush, and serenity. Ahhh, the serenity. I'd liken it to a mini Mt Holdsworth, a mix of the Rain Gauge Track and Rocky Lookout. Perfect if you don't have time for a Jumbo-Holdsworth loop but want all the benefits.
You start with a 900m uphill section on the gravel road. Take a sharp left turn (there's a small green signpost) and head straight up the grassy hill towards the pine trees. From here you are in climbing mode for the next 6km. There are some short respites of 'flat' (its all relative) sections or very small downhills, but nothing to get too excited about or to build up a rhythm. For the most part you are running/hands on knees power walking in the native forest, where it is sheltered and incredibly peaceful. The only disturbance is the awesome chorus of birds. Stop and enjoy them if you can. At times you'll pop out into small clearings on the ridges. At the same time the running surface turns rock, and is often twisty and turny. Worth a moment to enjoy the views, and catch your breath. In some of the exposed sections gorse extends onto the trail, so wear long socks or calf guards & gaiters to minimise scratching.
At the 5km mark is a sign "Coal Stream 3 wire bridge has been removed". Turn left. This is the only navigation required. At the 6km mark you hit the middle of middle earth. CHOICE! At 7.2km you reach Mt Reeves. It is not sign posted, but you're obviously at the top and can see the Tararuas, Lake Wairarapa, the southern end of the North Island and plenty more. This is the turnaround point, and where the real fun begins.
The return to home base is great as it is (mostly) all downhill. It will test your technical skills over all sorts of terrain. Be ready for lots of roots that can trip you up, running in or on the edge of the water race, moss, rocks, twists, and turns. This will help you hone a technique of fast small light steps, along with your ability to pick straight lines instead of strictly following the camber of the trail. Once back at the car park you can pop down to the river to cool off.
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Features of interest
Hard work is always rewarded. Keep your climbing legs ticking over because 6kms into this run you will find yourself right in the geographic centre of the extended continental shelf of New Zealand - the middle of middle earth!
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 50%
Moderate Single Track: 25%
Easy Single Track: 15%
Gravel Road: 10%
At the south end of Greytown, take the turn off Main Street onto Humphries Street (at the corner of the Challenge Petrol Station).
Follow this road onto Woodside Road, and continue past the Woodside train station. At the next T-junction, take the right turn onto Waihine Valley Road.
Follow Waihine Valley Road - which soon turns into a gravel road - right to the end, approx 3.5 kms.
There is parking right at the end of the road, on the right hand side of the main gate
At the 5km mark is a sign "Coal Stream 3 wire bridge has been removed". Turn left, and head on down before heading up again.
Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map, Gaiters.
River water is a short walk from the car park
I ran this at the end of a very dry summer and the trail in the native bush was still soft underfoot.
In winter I suspect you'll be dealing with running water at times.
You end up at 900m so it'll be cold at the top on a windy day.
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