Today we headed out to explore Hira Forest. We headed out of town on the Maitai Walkway – a nice little gravel track that follows the Maitai River. We left this track and travelled a short way down the road before turning into Hira Forest.
We rode up fire roads for nearly an hour before reaching the top of the Ground Effect Slingshot. A singletrack the Kennett Bros book described as one of the “few tracks in New Zealand that return as much for your hard-earned elevation.” This track must have been in much better shape when they wrote their guide because it was rubbish! The track was overgrown with grass and gorse, rough and bumpy, and littered with loose rocks.
After the track thankfully finished, we entered Scottwood Wiggles. This track started out very similar but improved greatly when it entered the forest. This track eventually turned out to be pretty fun.
After the wiggles we made our way to the top of Ching’s Highway. This was described by the map as an intermediate grade descent back to the main forest entrance. In the end it turned out to be the worst trail any of us had ever had the misfortune of riding. It was overgrown with gorse, steep and rocky in places and we had our first casualty of the trip with Sarah going over the handlebars and grazing the inside of her mouth. Fortunately there was only minor damage to the bike, but I think her confidence took the biggest hit!
View from the top of Chings Highway
Can you see Helen?
I think we had better take the advice of the guy in the bike shop next time and go with a local! Sounds like there are lots of good, recently constructed, tracks out in the forest, you just have to know where to look!