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Hike: 17km (759m)
We couldn't quite face a long cycle when we got up, so, as the weather seemed a little better, we decided to go and tackle the Pinnacles walk in the Kauaeranga Valley. We viewed this as a bit of a rest day, but unfortunately the cycle to the start of the walk (and the walk itself) were rather more demanding than expected!
The cycle to and from the walk was absolutely stunning - through beautiful valleys surrounded by forested and grassy mountains. The roads were quiet and undulating with fun sweeping corners and interesting bridges. The final 12km up to the walk was on an unsealed road which made for a challenge - especially for Claire who was still getting to grips with her bike. Saying that, Scott was the one who crashed into the verge after professing that you shouldn't ride in the soft gravel!
The walk itself was amazing. The track was the best we've ever walked on, being amazingly well cut and maintained. The ascent to the Pinnacles Hut was very tough (especially as we were, as ever, racing against the light) with big steps all the way. There were several great single person rope bridges crossing the river as the waters were high! The final ascent up to the Pinnacles themselves was amazingly steep with hand and feet bars drilled into the rockface, along with a set of vertical ladders - there was no way to do it without them! Unfortunately the summit itself was shrouded in cloud, but it did make an eerie place to have a snack! The views on the descent were spectacular, and well worth the effort. All in all we did the 6 hour walk in 4:40 and were safely back to Pac'n'Save to buy our dinner before dusk! The cycle back was beautiful and very enjoyable since it was mostly downhill, and the bikes weren't loaded with our kit, so we could really appreciate the experience.
In the evening we got chatting to a nice couple from somewhere in the middle of Canada - Jonny and Sarah. They're on their honeymoon too, so it's not just us!
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