Coromandel Pinnacles Tramp
Trip Start Oct 18, 2006
117Trip End ??? ??, 2008
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John and I finally got the car thing sorted out on the 31st, and drove to Thames, staying at a little backpacker's hostel, which is really just two older houses from this small town of Thames. Checking in at about ten at night, I met a German, a Netherlandian, a Swissian, and a Canadian. (sic sic) What a diverse traveller stream there is around this country! Hung out with a couple of folks watching Lord of the Rings (I'm going to that area soon!), and met an engineer from Wetaskawin who is also having an early-life-crisis. In the morning, we packed the car and headed to the Pinnacles Trailhead. The New Zealand DOC (Department of Conservation) has a great system set up to limit traffic in certain tramps (Hiking is called Tramping here), and we bought a pass to stay at one of the huts on the trail
All that aside, the pinnacles tramp was great! The weather was perfect and sunny, the trail was lush with 'tropical' and 'boreal' mixed forest, and there are thousands of steps carved into the granite of the hills and those made of small stones piled up, mortared with the soil and moss of many years. The foliage here reminds me of the west coast trail - as though someone had drawn lines, the forest quickly changed types at the most unexpected moments. Trees hang overhead, making a beautiful canopy that shades one as he moves along the moss covered rock. There are waterfalls everywhere, below, above, beside the trail - often accompanied by wet, dark, green moss that feels ice cold. The path really makes me feel like a hobbit walking about in a beautiful middle earth garden. Large, hard rock formations jut up into the air. These formations are volcano 'plugs which were left when the softer volcano around it slowly eroded.
John and I are busy marvelling and taking pictures of the scenery and florae, and discussing the universality of music, and how our culture has undermined the value of art, music, and the expression of the human soul.
The hut warden is a friendly Maori fellow who lives there eight days on, eight days off. He was chatty, and got us to help him upgrade his "clotheshanger" tv antennae to a 'flashier' version for his little six inch bland white tv. I never thought I would be repairing an antennae at a remote hut in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand, but hey, anything goes on this trip I guess.
We summitted the 'pinnacle', thinking we were in the middle of nowhere, seeing only trees and rolling mountain-hills, but in fact, we are on the edge of nowhere - far off in the distance, we see the ocean. A third hiker is out here - Jerome, an American from Bellingham.
The hike back in is a bit arduous and hard on hardly-used hiking knees, but captivating nonetheless. And so we plan our next journey - The Tongariro National Park.