Trail Bokkies: Solo Missions in Newlands Forest
I awoke early on Sunday morning to a bright sunny bedroom and just stared at the ceiling. For the first time in weeks of regular Sunday Trail Bokkies runs, this week we were “too busy” to get out there because of weddings and other grownup stuff.
As long and as tough as these runs tend to be, I knew that I was going to miss my water cooler tale of adventure that I usually share with a puffed-up chest each Monday morning.
I rolled over and checked the time on my phone. It was only 6:15am. That’s when I heard the little voice in my head…
Little Voice: Mmm… if you can get dressed quickly, you could be at Newlands Forest for a run, smash a swim and still be back before we have to leave for the wedding at 9am!
Me: That’s right LV! Lone Trail Bokkie adventure here I come!
I slid out the bed, blew some air kisses to Aanikah and Babbar, got some clothing on and was out of there. (And Yes, I did brush my teeth)
By 7am I was strapping my water bottles on and heading up to the start of the Newlands Forest trails.
At Newlands Forest
The Trail Bokkies have visited Newlands Forest quite a few times over the last couple of months. Sundays are generally busier days at the forest with more people out and about – so the aim is to get there early to avoid crowded trails.
Newlands boasts the accolade of the wettest suburb in South Africa due to its high rainfall. If there is rain, be aware that the ground in Newlands Forest gets muddy and slippery quite fast, so you may need some extra grip on your shoes…and a jacket for the cold.
Today, I was early and my plan was just to run and (if fate would have it) maybe get a little lost 🙂
I initially followed the Skelmkoppad Gravel Road to the left of the parking lot. Going this way starts the run off with a nice gradual uphill section which you can follow for quite a distance. I then headed up the Fernwood Track to where a clearing narrowed into single track. This brought me to 1.5kms of warm-up. Nice and sweaty at this point
The nice thing about Newlands Forest is that most of the trails interlink, so you can just keep going until you do the required mileage / time that you are after. The trails aren’t too tough either so you don’t need a very technical shoe to run in i.e. road shoes will suffice (except for when it rains). The tall trees also provide a nice canopy against the sun.
I headed back down and took some random paths that eventually lead me to the Middelpad Road and up to the Contour Path. This section was challenging as it had some step ascents which forced me to take a few photo-op breaks along the way.
At this point I was just over 4kms into the run and I still didn’t get that feeling of adventure. So I headed back, took a random left turn and ventured into parts of the forest that I’d not seen before.
As the temperature was heating up, I kept my eyes on the trail – you don’t want to step on some poor Puff Adder while you are stomping around and it helps to look where you are going as there are some rocky sections that will provide some nice ankle conditioning (as Malikah puts it).
At the time, I didn’t realize that I was on the Woodcutters Path. This path is really a lot of fun especially if you are going fast! The trees feel closer and surround you a bit more tightly as you pass over the rocks and streams .
This was exactly what I was looking for. My Sunday Adventure was in full flight now as I dodged stray branches, hopped over rocks and whizzed past fellow visitors while extending a friendly “Morning!” to them. Add in some cool sights along the way and I was buzzing 🙂
I exited the Woodcutters Path and followed a jeep track down towards the Stone Bridge. Some of the paths looked familiar from previous visits and I quickly found my bearings as I headed towards the parking lot and exited at the Newlands Fire Base. The run was perfect – just over 7kms in about an hour (with photos:))
I even had some time for a quick 400m swim at the gym and was back home ready to roll by 8:45am.
Adventure done! Now for the grownup stuff 🙂