Ben, Jono and Max
Mount Te Aroha Rise and shine, the weekend’s over which can only mean one of two things... You have to slog your way through a rough day of work/study/chill orrrr you can get out there and climb mountains like the #mondaycrew. This week our crew celebrate a few minor (let’s be honest they’re major) achievements.
Following on from our first few posts and the millions, (Max even thinks this could be billions) of subscribers and readers we have amassed, we have managed to get an international following.
Today’s mission up Mount Te Aroha sees the Internationalisation of the Monday Crew with a Belgian (Flore) and English (Steff) injection. We’ll sign autographs later. The drive over to Mount Te Aroha, Jono’s maunga, was made slightly longer due to a few directional mishaps. You’d think with the highest point of the Kaimai's clearly visible ahead, that there’s no way to get lost. #mondaycrew - “making the impossible...possible”, it has a ring to it. We eventually got back on the right track and parked our waka at the base of this glorious maunga.
Our shoes were laced and we were ready for the many gaspy breaths to come. “Allez” and “is there a pub at the top” were the calls to action from our respective Belgian and English members; we were off. An energetic 30ish minutes later and we had made it to the beautiful Whakapipi lookout. It had been an initial gravel track, turning to a moderate sloped green and scenic (lots of beautiful trees) path which had got us to this point. The views of the Waikato were well worth the initial beads of sweat, with views of the mighty Morrinsville, Waihou river and distant mountain ranges providing a beautiful vista. This initial trek was almost enough to satisfy our daily hiking needs - fortunately, the #mondaycrew drive kicked in, making us carry on to the top.
The track had been a bit slippery until whakapipi but conditions underfoot worsened from there on in. It certainly didn’t curb the shoeless bandits' enthusiasm (Ben and Max) as they trudged on through. The mud did make for a few hilarious falls and “knock us down” but like the 90’s classic “you’re never gonna keep me down”. Team spirits were knocked when passing by American tourists told us we had two more hours until the top. Not realising the sheer determination and mountaineering experience of us seasoned climbers (*don’t be frightened away from this walk by our over-inflated descriptions), we reached the top in just over 1 hour from a bald spur.
It became clear why this maunga is called Te Aroha, as we were certainly feeling ‘the love’ on top, sharing some much-needed scroggin and taking in the angelic views of the Bay of Plenty. The cloud made the Waikato side slightly hard to see, but there were still some good opportunities for group summit photos, taken by our new friend Reg.
It seems that on each of these walks we have made a new friend, which ties in nicely with the #mondaycrew plans to connect with both the people and countryside in our beautiful Waikato region.
The way down was a quick descent, with a number of shortcuts taken and a few falls mixed in for good measure. Our English companion, Steph, took most of the falls for the group, reminiscent of the English football team in past World Cups!
An hour and a half later and it was high fives all round at the base and time for a much-needed pie. There is also the option of a natural spa and hot pool experience at the base but given our ravenous appetites that will have to wait for our next Te Aroha trip. Kevin’s bakery was today's pie destination, and just like our Haak's friend Kevin from Katsubi, this bakery did not fail to deliver culinary masterpieces. Pies, doughnuts and a side of L&P for our foreign friends were chosen to top off a glorious day, with our glorious company choosing to conform with our strict mountaineering diets.
It wouldn’t be the #mondaycrew without some form of a mishap on the ride home, as a nail in the tyre slowed us down momentarily before a quick change saw the Monday Crew drive away into the sunset for another week.
Walk Time: little over 3 hours return
Driving time from Hamilton: 45ish minutes*
(*add an hour if you have directional/vehicle issues like us)