Horoeka reserve to top of Stokes Valley
So I was just starting to get over a cold which had been going around. It was the start of the weekend and I really needed to get out for a run. Oh no, I think I have finally got the running bug. Now I understand what people mean when they say they just have to go for a run, even when they shouldn’t.
So I put a post on the Wellington running forum asking people what runs they had planned for the weekend (trying to get ideas of places to go and see if anyone was available to run with). 
Well…someone asked if I wanted to join them in a loop of Stokes Valley. I jumped at the chance as it is an area I know a bit and wanting to find out more trails.
So the run started at the Horoeka scenic reserve. It was so nice seeing this track in the daylight, as i had only run it 1 other time, but that was at night by head torch.
It is a really nice track, not too steep, some root sections and stream crossings but nothing too bad. Only problem was, I still wasn’t fully over my cold and so was struggling a bit with the hill and getting my breathing controlled, so there were a few sections I needed to walk.
We finally broke out of the top of the track and started running up the 4-wheel drive track we had come out on. There was another bush section we had to go through before we finally got to the top of the hill, which was a really nice section, although just before the very top, we found there was a new section of 4-wheel drive track which cut into our track.
We decided to follow this new track to see where it goes and explore a bit. After a while it came out further down the ECNZ road at the top (where I had previously done a night run with the Wellington running group).
We carried on running/walking the track which undulated a fair bit till we got to the end on Stokes Valley.
Oh hang on a minute. I recognize this turnoff. This was where I lost the group during my Rata street night run the other week!
But at least I was able to finally see the Mt Ken trig, and a bonus, see it in daylight!
After taking a few photos we headed down the steep track down to Stokes Valley.
After reaching the bottom, it was just a 2km run down the road back to the car. I must say, this road run was the hardest part of this while run! Think I can officially say that I have fully converted to a trail runner now!
So to summarize, this is a really nice loop within Stokes Valley and one I can see me doing again.
Maybe next time, I will try to find the track which continues round to the other side of the valley (so I can avoid most of the road section), but that will be a separate adventure!

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