We woke up bright and early to attempt the 40 minute hike up to the Pinnacles Peak.  The fog and moisture were pretty bad, but we set out anyway, hoping it would burn off as we made our way up. We had to use our headlamps for the first 20 minutes, as it was still really dark out. The hike got steeper and more slippery as we gained altitude. The hill transitioned into stairs, which transitioned into tall ladders, which turned into metal rungs installed directly into the rock mountain face. We were greeted by one obstacle after another, around every corner, each more intimidating than the last. To top it off, there was no end in sight. Nothing was in sight. The fog was too dense to catch any views, and it had started to pour on us. When we reached a series of boulders with more rungs, almost at a vertical angle, we decided to call it. Neither of us felt comfortable proceeding without the proper gear. Not to mention we were completely alone on this mountain top. It was a little frustrating being so close to the end, but we found comfort knowing that even if we had proceeded, we wouldn’t have been able to see the sunrise we were chasing to begin with. We counted the stairs from the peak just down to the hut- a whopping 550!

The few hour hike back down the mountain to our cars was great! We were pretty proud of ourselves when we made makeshift ponchos out of garbage bags at the DOC hut. Despite being a little wet, we really enjoyed the rain, as it offered a different hiking experience than the way up. The change in scenery was really refreshing and exciting, which would be necessary to get us through the next four hours of hiking on empty stomachs. We hadn’t realized it the day prior, but we had taken the harder route up the mountain- Billy Goat Trail. It was no wonder we were pooped! We decided to take the easier Webb Creek route back down on day two- not only for an easier time, but for a change in trails. Although this is considered the “easier” route, it is not for the faint of heart. It was steep, and rough on the knees and legs. We passed quite a few people attempting the hike up, who were struggling. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves though, and soon forgot that we never got to reach the very top. All we could think about was how true the saying was about life being about the journey and not the destination…and what a journey it was!

After reaching our car, we made our way back down to the town of Thames and chowed down on hamburgers and chicken sandwiches at the Thames Brew Cafe, hard earned grub! Took advantage of the free wifi & let our families know we had survived the hike!

We made our way from Thames to the beach town of Whitianga, where we would spend the next few days…another beautiful drive. Checked into Turtlecove Hostel, made some spaghetti dinner, and turned in early.