Saturday, June 23, 2012

How not to find the Pineapple Track (on the first try), but still have fun anyway

Once upon a time, someone told me I'm just like my dad.  He had this, "I'm going to X place at Y time with or without you" 'tude.  Unfortunately, I also inherited the Dennis Boucher curse... something that should take 30 seconds ends up taking 3 hours.  In my case, I decided to go on a quick walk to the Pineapple Track when my other weekend plans fell through.  That quick walk ended up requiring a 2 hour detour 6 miles away...

Each day that has passed since I arrived in Dunedin back in February, I've looked out my window to see a pretty mountain that gets prettier depending on how the clouds, sunset, snow, etc. alter its appearance.  Often, I say to myself, "I want to go there and check it out."  Today just happened to be THE perfect day to do just that.

I've been to the Ross Creek Reservoir a few times and no less than four people have told me, "Just take the road past the reservoir to the start of the Pineapple Track."  It sounds so simple, doesn't it?

I decided that I'd start walking towards the track around 10am and then take my time on the mountain until I was ready to come back.  I packed enough stuff to be prepared for anything: map, rain coat, rain pants, flashlight (a.k.a. "torch"), two sandwiches, two bags of nuts, mueslix bar and an orange.  Off I went.

Hard to believe that today is the Mid Winter Carnival when it was this green on the way to the reservoir...

Now, here's the point where things got a little hairy.  I walked past the reservoir and followed "the" road.  But, I didn't find the start of the track.  I did find a mountain biking path that would take me to the start of the track, but no walkers were allowed. Hmm... I noticed the light gray dashes on my map, indicating trails that would take me to the Pineapple Track, so I started walking down Wakari Rd to look for signage for one of these little trails.... and I kept walking... and walking... and walking...

New Zealand needs a little help in the signage department.

I realized that I had walked past the three trails that would get me to the track. *grumble* It seemed easier to just walk to the car park at the start of the Flagstaff summit walk. So I did. This meant a drastic change in scenery...

 I walked through this residential section for so long that it reminded me of the orphans who walked all the way to Daddy Warbuck's house in search of Annie.  (They walk forever, realize they found the correct street, and get terribly sad because they have to walk many, many more blocks to the correct house.  Sorry, couldn't find the related YouTube video.) Eventually, this sign gave me hope that my adventure on one of Dunedin's great Skyline Walks would soon begin.

There was still more walking to be done before I reached the track, so I chowed down on my cottage cheese/beet root sandwich (I know, How delicious! you're saying to yourself) and enjoyed the sunshine.

A nice couple was walking their beautiful fluffy white dog when I reached the start of the track.  They told me to avoid the mucky trail and take the one with better views instead.  I think they did a good job pointing me in the right direction!

Only problem (and it was minor) was the wind.  I tried to pick a video with the least amount of wind whooshing in the background to share.

The trail was VERY easy to follow.  I'd recommend it as the perfect trail to walk if someone wants to get out and has to go by him/herself.  There were few enough people that it was peaceful, but enough people that if I fell and broke a leg I wasn't worried about being stranded.

This is where I had to hang right to head back to the city.  Someday I'll see where the trail on the left goes.

Total trip time was about 4 1/2 hours.  Total distance walked was about 12 miles.  Absolutely worth it!

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