Day 271 – 27 October 2010
Chris and I set out to clear our heads from studying for a couple days by tramping in the bush. Originally wanted to do the Tongariro circuit but camping costs $20/person/night! That’s as much as a good hostel! Considering Chris only has 100 left in his account we opted for a cheaper trip. So we decided to do a little summit sampler- Mt Pirongia, Mt Te Aroha and then the Pinnacles.
First day- the track up to Pirongia was good- took us about 5 hours from start to finish including breaks. Although the weather was decent (not raining) the mountain was covered in clouds and views were limited. We then hiked down a bit to Pahautea hut where we stayed for the night. We got there early enough that sun was out, so we got some things to read and laid out on the trail.
Day 272 – 28 October 2010
We hiked out a different way- via the Bell Track. This track was longer than the other one- suggested to take 8-11 hours. We were confused why it should take so long because it was only 10 miles. But then we read the hut visitor log which had multiple entries like, “Bell track = mud mud mud mud mud mud”. Unfortunately, it had rained during the night, so our experience was similar to the trampers before us. There were some parts of the trail that were complete swamp (I fully submerged a foot at least 4 times). It sort of reminded me of the forest in the Princess Bride when they kept sinking into quick sand (minus the ROUS). Eventually it got better (we were hooraying for solid mud patches) and we made it out in good time (8 hrs total). We drove to a free campsite at Dickey’s Flat where we have camped before with Johannes on a previous trip.
Day 273- 29 October 2010
We set out to climb Mt Te Ahora. Had some sleep deprivation (from sleeping in the car) but otherwise felt pretty good. We thought the climb was going to take 6 hours total, but it only took 2 hours to summit. Chris was quite tired and was carrying his tramping pack (for some eagle scout reason?) so I led the way. I felt great. I think my frequent running in the Domain and on the treadmill (on hill setting of course) paid off because I was moving straight up hill at a steady pace for an hour without needing to stop . At one point I stopped waiting for Chris to catch up and went on ahead by myself. It was a really nice trail- well maintained- but it also reminded me of a sort of mystical, fairy tale type place. There was fog sitting on the mountains around us and the forest was thick with trees smothered in moss and vines. Plus there were many ferns that were sprouting new branches so they had that sweet curly shape at the top (I took lots of pictures to make up for my bad description). I kept thinking that both these trails were the epitome of how I imagined my time in New Zealand. After the hike, we went and got delicious fish and chips (pan fried with capers..mmm)and, having nothing else to do, sat in the park for several hours and napped and read. It felt so good to sit and relax in a park for the day without worrying about anything. When it got colder we drove back to Dickey’s flat again for the night.
Day 274- 30 October 2010
We had intended to hike to the Pinnacles in the Kauranga Valley but when we arrived in Thames, the weather looked very poopy. It rained on us while we waited for the isite to open and ask about the weather. The lady said it was supposed to clear up by the afternoon but it was too late- I was already in a bad mood. So we drove back to Auckland which ended up being a very good idea because it took us the entire day to clean up the car (vacuum, carwash etc) to get it ready to sell. Plus there was an Indian Festival in Auckland (good, cheap Indian food) and the next day was Halloween, so I had to start preparing.