I’ve had a lovely Christmas break – although it wasn’t an intentional break, it just sort of happened.
Getting back on with getting back out there has proven a lot harder than I first thought it would be.
Admittedly, the weather hasn’t been entirely helpful. However, the weather has been entirely typical for this region and this time of year. By which I mean – it’s extremely changeable, and rains frequently with predictable lack of predictability.
There were several days when I looked up the weather at the start of the day, with a walk in mind, to read “Showers developing” or “Rain” – only for it to end up being a lovely, hot, sunny, and most of all, dry, day.
Lesson – don’t trust the weather forecasts.
Today, we’d already had both sun, rain, and hail, before I made up my mind to just do it and get out for a walk.
Because it had been raining, I wanted something that wasn’t merely a dirt track. On clear and dry days, I love the dirt tracks – probably best of all – because it feels most natural. In the rain, however, dirt tracks become mud tracks, and I am not a fan of mud.
So I decided to do Waitakere Dam Walk.
This walk starts at Scenic Drive, with a lovely parking area by the start of the walk, and is a paved walk down to Waitakere Dam.
The sign at the start was almost off-putting, for hill-adverse me.
However, the view from the start was a gently sloping road, fully paved, and clearly it was set up for vehicle access (albeit only authorised vehicles). So, seeing as I was already there (and that’s half the battle) I decided to just go for it. I had plenty of time, and was not against stopping for breath if I needed to on the way back.
There were a couple short off-shoots from the path that I didn’t expect. I figured the Waitakere Dam Walk was really primarily a worker’s access way to the dam, and they were merely nice enough to allow (or realistic enough to not bother to prevent) people walking along it. However, with the off-shoots, and the frequent benches along the way (clearly for hill-adverse people like me) it had a much more park-like, deliberate feel to it. One of these off shoots lead to a large Kauri tree, with a 7m girth.
As with most dam walks, I was expecting a good view, and was not disappointed. The journey to the dam was, other than the Large Kauri offshoot, fairly unremarkable and unspectacular. The road is wide enough that you don’t really get that “bush walking” feeling, even if you are at least away from the noise and hustle and bustle of the city. But the views are great, and I actually like the ‘feel’ of the dam itself a lot better than the Upper Nihotupu Dam that I’ve also done (pre-blogging days, but sure to be repeated).
What I hadn’t realised before starting the track (in part, I guess, because I didn’t look it up beforehand) was that Waitakere Dam Track meets up with quite a number of other tracks, although it’s not specifically part of any one of them. Notably, it meets up with the Montana Heritage Trail, by way of Fence Line Track (i.e., Fence Line Track is part of the greater Montana Heritage Trail), so therefore one could also connect the Waitakere Dam Walk to the Auckland City Walk, or any other number of trails in the wider Cascade Kauri Regional Park. I was sorely tempted to head off towards the Auckland City Walk, as I know from experience it’s a pleasant one, I wasn’t feeling tired at that point, and I was keen to experience the track that connects the two together (Fence Line track). However, by this time it was 6pm, the weather was still highly suspect (it hadn’t rained yet, but there were some pretty dark clouds in the sky overhead – patchy, but there) and the wind felt like it was picking up enough that if I had a long walk back – specifically, if I was sodden and having a long walk back – it might not be that pleasant of an experience. Plus I wasn’t really prepared for a longer walk. Therefore, with a small sigh, I turned back to head to the car.
I did, however, meet this wee blackbird. The bird was more friendly than most, and as long as I kept a couple meters away, didn’t mind my prescience at all – rather he/she seemed as equally curious about me as I was keen to watch (and photo!).