WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2015: "YOU GIRLS HIKING THE PINNACLES?!"

While researching must-do activities in the Coromandel Peninsula region, I read about The Pinnacles Hike- famous for its sunsets and sunrises. The best way to do this hike is in two days, booking a bunk in the DOC hut, which puts you just 40 minutes down from the Pinnacles peaks & their famous views. So, one day of hiking to the hut, a good night's sleep, followed by an early morning ascent to the peak to catch the sunrise before another full day hike back down the mountain. We had bunks reserved for the night, and were all set! Or so we thought.

First order of business was getting directions to the base. When we asked a Thames local for directions we were looked up and down, which was followed by comments like "good for your girls" and "hope you ate a big lunch". That should have been our first warning. In all fairness, we did attempt to buy some meals for the hike and additional supplies from a gas station on the way up, however had credit card issues. We decided that the bananas, granola bars, and almonds we had would suffice. Both of us were starting to feel anxious to get a move on, as we only had so many hours of sunlight to reach our beds for the night.

A 30 minute drive to the DOC welcome center, followed by another 20 minutes up a gravel dirt road lead us to the car park- which held all of 4 cars.

The first leg of the hike had us skipping from boulder to boulder across a gorgeous river. Two hours into the hike we were still pumped full of excitement and adrenaline from the most beautiful hike I've ever been on. We were un-phased by the difficulty of the hike, as we were in total sensory overload. I have never seen so many greens in my life! It was unreal. We went from walking on solid dirt ground, to loose gravel, to huge stone stairs, to hiking up old railroads that were once used for logging. We would hear babbling creeks that grew into rushing rivers, that turned into magnificent waterfalls tucked into the lush green landscape. Jess and I were blown away by the lack of bugs & creatures in this dense forest. Gorgeous trees, beautiful waterfalls, and no bugs?! Paradise found! We were even able to drink straight out of the river with my nifty Lifestraw...thanks Dad!

Hour three into the hike, and the workout started to catch up to us. We were exhausted, hungry, and a bit delirious at that point. Conversations from earlier in the day about how fortunate we were to be able to do this hike, transitioned into loopy conversations about the likelihood of there being a McDonald's and a hot tub at the top, or at the very least a cappuccino machine. We hiked and laughed the rest of the way to the hut, just in time for an amazing fiery sunset.

Upon reaching the hut, we were promptly greeted by more perplexed looks from the other (more prepared) hikers. "Where is the rest of your gear???" (insert confused stare). We missed the memo on hiking supplies. We didn't even pack changes of clothes...talk about clueless! We were left to sleep in the clothes we had hiked in, damp from sweat and rain. We rationed out our meager food supply for the next 24 hours, and salivated as we watched others cooking up a storm of foods they had so wisely packed. Turned into bed early & just prayed we would be warm enough in our sleeping bag liners to sleep through the night.