Ben, Jono and Max
The alarm went off and with a quick check of the phone, I realised it was Monday. This of course meant that I had to get out of bed at the nasty early hour of 10am. Early bird climbs the mountain I thought… Benny G was cooking up a nice breaky of eggs when I got into the kitchen, much needed energy for the monumental journey we had ahead of us today.
The Haakarimatas, a mammoth mountain north of Hamilton, set beside the bustling metropolis of Ngaruawahia was the mission. Knowing that the tribal haks were nearby meant that there would be no ‘P’* stops on this journey, so we needed to keep a close eye on our water consumption (note that from herein the * will represent a poor dry joke from Jono).
This truly is a majestic walk and well worth the time for any walking enthusiasts.
We pulled into the carpark below the Haks and got off to a terrible start. Trying to get a bit of local support and motivation, Jono waved to a number of children at the Haakarimata kindergarten which made one of the poor girls burst into tears. She was either frightened by Max’s moustache or just unsure if she would see these brave mountaineerers return from their intrepid journey. What heroes…
It was time to get into it, our pick axes were packed, oxygen masks fixed and the only thing missing was Max’s shoes. This was picked up by so many of the passer-bys that we may need to eventually rename The Monday Crew to Shoeless Max and The Boys. The Monday Crew will stay for the moment though.
Fortunately our mountaineering training at altitude had set us up perfectly for the trek. The path turned out to be beautifully maintained, with well-constructed stairs, motivational quotes along the way and even park benches where we had timely breathers. This truly is a majestic walk and well worth the time for any walking enthusiasts.
Our only problem was that the weather wasn’t completely on our side. The top was completely clouded over which made our summit photos a little less impressive. We did make a friend on top though. Our Japanese friend Kevin was more than happy to first take a photo of us and then join us for a photo. Such a nice guy, I recommend you visit Kambuchi at Chartwell for a bit of masterly cooked Japanese food from our new fellow Monday Crew member.
The way down was an absolute breeze. Skipping down the steps, telling terrible jokes and greeting passerbys with a pleasant “Kia ora” we made it back to the small waterfall near the start. Benny and Jono got down to their jocks and had a spiritual dip, while Max awkwardly watched on like a disappointed father. Maybe he’s the smart one; fingers crossed we didn’t both contract giardia from our Haakarimata baptism. What a way to top off a quality walk with quality company (referring to Kevin and not the other lads). The final stretch of the walk was completed in a team sprint, taken out narrowly by Ben ‘the fast footed hobbit’ Good.
No better way to put the icing on the cake then by doing a sneaky pie run on the way back through Hamilton. You may be interested to know that The Monday Crew was hurried down the mountain to ensure young Benny made a tinder date in town. Stay tuned for the outcome in next week’s edition of The Monday Crew.
Approximate walking time: 1hr 20 mins