Simla Track –
From the Ridge Road Track, Simla Track follows along the ridge. Views of the Anawhata Valley unfold just before the track descends extremely steeply to Smyth Stream at the old kauri dam site. 35mins – 1hr to ascend. (1.7 km)
You can reach Simla from either the Ridge Road or Sisam Tracks and I entered from Ridge Road. The entrance to the Simla Track is approximately 200 metres from the Ridge Road/Fenceline/Long Road junction.
Ridge Road is basically a continuation of the Long Road Track. Both are very wide (they are disused roads as opposed to actual tramping tracks) and both are water logged clay.
The Simla Track on the other hand is much narrower but no less water logged, in fact in places it looked more like a stream than an actual track and by the amount of moss I saw flourishing, I’d say it stays pretty damp all year round.
Firstly, it’s so quiet and I expressly noticed how alone I was, in fact it’s one of those tracks where you often think to yourself (as you once again, lose your footing) “shit, if anything happens I doubt anyone is going to just wander past to help me”.
Secondly, this isn’t an easy track to run along, not only is the majority of it water logged which I tend to skirt around as my shoes aren’t goretex (I’m undeniably going to look into some of those for running throughout winter) but there are tree roots underfoot, low hanging foliage overhead and fallen trees everywhere. If this track is widely used, there isn’t any evidence of it.
Although hard to run along the first kilometer isn’t too arduous, it undulates, but the climbs weren’t anywhere near as steep as the tracks I had been on to get here, the main thing slowing me down was the technicality of the track itself (oh and the narrow and slippery cliff edge parts didn’t help either). 😉
HOWEVER (and it’s a BIG however), the last section is very steep – in fact, so much so that I’ve decided if I ever read “track descends extremely steeply” on the Auckland Regional website again, I will replace those four words with;
“You will without a doubt, spend a good majority of your time praying to your God for protection”.
In my defense I pressed on (way beyond the point where I thought it was a good idea) because there were sections of the track that was no more than bare rock face and to get this far I had slid down the slippery rock like a slide and I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to get back up, although it turns out with some thought (and the odd wayward tree root) that I could. But I guess you gathered that from the mere fact that I’m alive to write this blog post. 😉
I could tell I was getting close to the end of the track because the stream got louder the further I went along but when I came to yet another sheer rock face (this time without trees to line the edge, which you know, helps you from plummeting to your death), I hesitated. I was so close! All I had to do was get down this bank ..
And then what? Try and get climb back up it?
I could tell from the sound of the water that the stream was full and I that I’d never cross it alone, therefore I’d have to return the way I came. And what was I going to the end for? A photo of a stream for the blog?
Yeah .. nah .. I’ll try again in summer (with a husband in tow) it’s a good reason to make a return journey.
The descent took 45 minutes and the return was 10 minutes less, I’d say much of the extra 10 minutes was when I stood on the edge of the extra steep sections praying.
Till next time