Hillary Trail: Week 2 – Fairy Falls/Old Coach Road Loop

Today, I climbed back into my car and headed out to the Waitakere Regional Park, which is quickly becoming my weekend spot. Today, I decided to walk the Fairy Falls/ Old Coach Trail Loop track. The weather this week turned out to be less rainy as forecasted, and today turned out to be a gorgeous morning for a walk. My buddy Mike decided to come and join me for the walk, and we headed 30 minutes out of Auckland and found our trail.

The Fairy Falls/Old Coach Road combo is quite nice. The first part was excellent. The trail was well-marked and gravelled. We came to the top of the falls, and then zig-zagged our way down through a series of stairs. Crossing in front of the falls once in the middle, and then at the bottom. Then, we walked down the stream a bit before climbing out of the valley.

A Map of the Fairy Fall and Old Coach Track loop. Length is 5.9kms

Fairy Falls – Old Coach Track

The end of the Fairy Falls Trail turned the corner to Old Coach, and the trail was more in line with the other trails I walked last week. They were good, but at times muddy. The ascent was challenging, and soon, we were back at the beginning, marking 3kms an hour for the walk. The overall walk was just shy of 6kms.

 

I felt really good about the walk and decided to do a second loop of the track. Mike headed on home, so I threw in some headphones and headed off.  The second time had the benefit of knowing where I was going, and I was thinking more in terms of my fitness and how I traversed the landscape. I did really well, cutting a half hour off my walk and getting to the 4km an hour mark.

Luckily, I had both my Fitbit working and my MapMyWalk app and using today and indication, I will need to revise what I walked last week. I suspect that I walked 10kms instead of 12 last weekend, because of today, my App was working and much more accurate. I will likely end up doing the Montana Trail again and make sure my App is working so I can get a better indication of the walk length. But today, I definitely cleared 12kms. The good thing too is that I was not completely wasted after the walk… which is super important.

A Graph that shows the change in elevation during the walk. Total elevation gain of 247.5 Meters

Elevation change of the Fairy Falls – Old Coach Loop

The other part I was happy about was the elevation. Generally, I am not a fan of huge elevation changes, but with my walking, I have become more fit, making these much easier and I am starting to see them as Challenges rather than torture sections. You can kinda see where the huge set of stairs were at the falls towards the bottom, and then the general ascent through the rest of the trail. I actually found this better as I got to avoid going up stairs like last week.

This walk was pretty awesome honestly. It was fun, relaxing, and gorgeous. It is also versatile, allowing me to bring friends for a loop and I can either do a second loop or move on to other trails nearby. I suspect that this is going to be a walk I bring people to when they want to do a walk with me. I did take a single walking pole with me, which came in handy during the Old Coach section.

I can’t say how much I like this trail.

Another good thing about this walk was that I saw what it was like to not push myself during the walk. With Mike, we kept a good pace and made great time overall. I know that for me personally, I tend to push myself pretty hard, and with tramping, that is no exception. The husband reminds me that this is a “Relaxation Sport” and he rightly points out my tendency to focus on results more than the process. One of my worries is that I am going to powerwalk the Hillary and not enjoy it as much as I should. Today was seeing me slow down a little, see more of the trail, taking some photos and have great conversation. I was happy with my progress… even if I did get to push myself a bit a little later. LOL. I will need to make sure I find lots of side trips for the Hillary to explore and see.

Track of the Day: Get Lucky – Daft Punk
On my second loop, I was walking through the trail and the familiar guitar/piano drum riff stars in. A broad smile broke out on my face as I looked up at the canopy. The light was streaming through, the smell of the forest, of the mud, and the hint of moisture was in the air. I took a moment, looking at the world of ferns, lichen, and moss on the trees.

I admit… I danced for a moment, lipsyncing to Pharrell.

I will leave you with one last photo. After the falls, we started our walk up, and towards the end of the Fairy Falls Trail, there was an opening in the forest, and we got to see a great view of the Auckland metro area. The photo does not do it justice. It is a reminder of why I wanted to do this… to see the awesomeness of New Zealand.

Have a great weekend, and talk more next week.

A view of the Auckland Metro Area, with a view of the Harbour with Rangitoto behind.

Auckland City Skyline view from the Fairy Falls Trail

One thought on “Hillary Trail: Week 2 – Fairy Falls/Old Coach Road Loop

  1. Pingback: The Hillary Trail: Week 5 – Planning | Wandering ExPat

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