I wrote earlier about how I’d planned on doing a “simple” out and back on Houghton Track but it turned into a trek over the mountain to get to the Cascade Kauri Regional Park.
So it’s probably apt to do a blog post on the track that by no means was “simple”. 😉
From Lake Wainamu Track, Houghton Track ascends steeply up spur to the main ridge, then climbs gradually to Wainamu Junction.
2.1km 1 hour (Source)
The track starts approximately 1km along the Wainamu Loop Track (from the dune entrance), it’s located on the right when you reach the first large (and in Winter, very muddy) clearing just before the you reach the small water crossing.
I had read the description on the Regional Park website so I knew that the track started with a steep ascent, but I didn’t realise that the main ridge would be so far away! This track just climbs and climbs and then climbs some more and when you think you’ve reached the “top” (in that you can peak through the trees and see how high you’ve come) there is still more climbing to do. I’d go so far as to say that I only recall two tiny sections of flat(ish) in the entire 2.1km and they were in the root strewn forest section.
Although Houghton’s track is steep I think it would be extremely do-able if it was dry underfoot even with all the pot holes, but alas, it’s winter in the Waitakere’s so suffice to say it’s wet and EXTREMELY slick underfoot – which is the only reason I decided about 1km in that I wouldn’t be going back down the hill, my knees are pretty shit on descents and even more shit on slippery surfaces, so it’s just asking for trouble if I decide to add the two together.
Obviously if you are an agile dare devil type that slides down the hills with ease then just ignore my entire blog post and just look at the pretty pictures 😉
I will say that when the track turns left you notice the lack of track markers. It’s not so noticeable on the first section as you are on a clearly defined steep and muddy track but when you enter into the forest section there is no track as such so I headed in the direction that made the most sense to me, which obviously worked because I made it and in pretty good time all things considered.
46 minutes to ascend (it probably would have taken me twice as long to descend though).
Till next time