Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Pinnacles

While touring Coromandel Peninsula with my folks we saw the Pinnacles from the far side and I found them quite intriguing. So, in celebration of being in New Zealand for one year, we tramped to the Pinnacles! This was our first real tramp in NZ, and while it is considered an "easy-medium" hike, I gave it a solid 6.2 on The Kauai Tunnels Pig Track Scale (1 being a walk to the fridge, 10 being the hike to the tunnels on Kauai, guaranteed to make you cry and swear and wish you were giving birth, unmedicated, to a 12 pound, OP baby instead).

You can read the full, detailed description of the Pinnacles tramp here, and I recommend you do. We didn't manage to take any pictures of the stone steps that went on forever, which is too bad because they truly were impressive and I was very grateful they were there because without them that hike might have been an 11 on the KTPT Scale.

P's favorite part of the tramp were these swing bridges.

The hike takes you into the bush on a track that was created for loggers. There hasn't been any logging in that area for at least 30 years so the vegetation is thick and lush and you feel like you really are out in the middle of nowhere, except this power line follows you everywhere you go and interferes with all of your pictures:

A fun part of tramping in NZ are the huts. We were going to stay at a campsite along the way as the huts require reservations made well in advance in the summer, but as luck would have it we were able to get in. This is the hut:

The hut has 80 bunks, a full kitchen, a BBQ, nice eating areas, clean toilets (but not the flush kind), and cold showers. Here is where we slept:

I was a little sad that we were going to stay in the hut when I found out that a local high school tramping club would also be staying in the hut with us, but then it started to rain:

and I was once again happy to be in the hut! The high school kids were great, by the way, and I actually enjoyed all their giggling and silliness (Should I wear the pink stripe shirt with this, or the yellow one? Has anyone seen my cherry blitz lip gloss?!).

In the morning we headed up to the Pinnacles along a very groomed trail with 561 wooden steps. Note the cloud obscuring the view of the peak.

What you can't see in these pictures is the ocean, but I tell you it is there and this was a beautiful sunrise!

Towards the top the stairs end and you have to scramble up the rocks the rest of the way with help from an occasional metal ladder/staircase.

Nearing the top, we entered the cloud, and this was our view from the peak:

Click on the picture below for a video of the windy wind:

We took the Billy Goat track back and descended some of the most intensely steep stairs I've ever encountered (30 minutes my ass!). It was a great hike and now we're all looking forward to more trampin' and scroggin! (scroggin is trail mix.)

No comments: