MOUNT KARANGAHAKE RUN
It seemed as if the God’s were against us from the start. Two over-aged running wannabes aiming to complete the North Circuit of Mount Ruapahu. Planning for an assault on the Northern Circuit had begun in early September and everything had been planned to military precision. Permission had been granted from wives, children care arrangements had been organised and detailed gear lists had been drafted and edited to perfection. Then with 3 weeks until ‘D Day’yours truly was involved in a horrific bike incident which saw his lunch box become stuck in his front wheel and his body thrown over the handlebars. the result was 2 fractured ribs and a bruised ego. Training partner Watty was less than sympathetic when he heard the news but boot was on the other foot when he badly twisted his ankle one week out from our planned departure date. Added to the walking wounded was the weather which was forcast for rain and cold winds. Therefore it was decided to
We started our run at Dickies flat, a simple DOC camping area around 60mins from Tauranga and 10 minutes from Karangahake Gorge. The initial part of the run took us back to the Gorge following the Waitewe pipeline track. The track is well used and around 1km along the course there is a 150m underground tunnel which is around 1m wide and 7 foot high. A torch is handy but not totally needed.
The run back to the Karangahake Gorge is visially and historically stunning. the area was mined haevliy for gold in the 1800’s and the numerouse tunnels, pipes and old machinwery testify to this rich past.
Once we hit the Karanhake Gorge we turned left into the Karagnhake Gorge Historical Walk which hugs the cliffs and follows the river for about 1200m. This walkway continues to an old Battery site but for todays run we turned left and went through the old railway tunnel which is about 1km long. There is lighting in the tunnel and the track is perfect for running or cycling.
After coming out of the railway tunnel we headed back to the main area of the Karangahek Gorge and then turned right and began our assent of Mount Karangahake. Firstly we had to negioatiate Scotsman’s Gully. Today it lived up to its name with the recent heavy rain causes the track to be extremely wet under foot and a little rough in places.
Scotsman’s Gully only takes about 10minutes to pass and from that the track links up with a wide 4WD track which actually meanders its way back to Dickies Flat. Today however we travelled about 2km until we took a sharp turn and really began the steady climb up to the top of Mount Karangahake. The track is pretty standard fare; nice and wide with plenty of tree cover, although added to today’s recipe was mud sludge from the rather wet weather which made the going a little slow.
A top of Mount Karangahake the view is apparently impressive. We would have to go with people’s word as today there was nothing but thick fog. Following the top it is a long steady downward trek back to Dickies flat. We found the going a little tough on the way back and the constant twists and turns and mud puddles in the track make it difficult to get any sort of rythym going. The track home is a mixture of wider 4WD styles tracks and thin running paths.
About 4 km from the end the track joins up to the another. We took the right hand turn down into Dickies flat through a native forest and then back onto the Pipe tunnel track.