It was as though Mr. American Taco could read my mind. As soon the restlessness starting kicking in, he sent me a text asking if I’d be up for a day trip. After some back and forth regarding details, it was determined that we’d be meeting at Pier 2 to head to Rangitoto Island. We both figured that hiking around a volcanic island was a good way to spend a Tuesday afternoon and it didn’t take much to convince Diva to join us.
When purchasing the tickets, the lady behind the counter told us that we’d be able to hike to the summit in 45 minutes. There was an assumption made on our part that this meant 45 minutes from where the boat dropped us off and since she didn’t look like the most athletic person in the world, the three of us figured that we could do it in 30 minutes. Looking back, its funny how wrong we were. As everyone else on our ferry went right, we went left to goof off before starting our climb as we figured we have lots of time before the last ferry left the island at 3:30pm.
Sadly, the goofing off took us slightly off track and we ended up taking the long way to the summit. Eventually, we saw a sign that said 1 hour to the summit but in all our cockiness, we thought it was wrong. After every hill and every turn, we started wondering how much longer as we should be there by now. There wasn’t a soul in site and it was like we were stuck at the beginning of a horror movie. About an hour into our hike, we finally ran into a lady with a baby stroller who broke the news to us that once we hit the stairs, we’d have another 1/2 hour to the summit but she wasn’t able to estimate how far away we were from the stairs. Being the troopers we are, we trekked on. I started questioning what the kiwis called stairs. Was it the stones we were passing? Was it the lava rocks that never ended? Was anything within sight? Where the hell were these damn stairs!!!
We finally hit another sign on Rangitoto Island that said 20 minutes to the Lava Caves and 40 minutes to the Summit. It was 2pm and the last ferry was still leaving the island at 3:30pm and we had no idea where we were. Then like a mirage, a white pick-up truck came up the hill. Sure we’re not supposed to talk to strangers and hitch hiking is a big no-no but I was desperate. I flagged down the 2 kiwi men in the white truck and struck up a conversation letting them know that we’re Canadians and we’re lost. Amazingly, they told us to hop onto the back of the truck and they’d drive us to the stairs that would take us to the summit. Thankfully, my desire to talk to strangers didn’t end there. When we got to the stairs, I saw the guy with the tracker and made my way over to find out if he could give us ride back after we go up to the summit. Sadly, I was told that the tracker was going to leave in 15 minutes and if we wanted a ride then we won’t be able to the summit. Really? I started to think of what I needed to say to sweet-talk him to wait for us as getting to the summit was the point of this trip and I wasn’t going to turn around now. It might have been the pathetic expression on my face but the driver told us to make our way to the top and gave us directions to an alternative route back so we could make it to the ferry. This came with a strict warning that we shouldn’t linger at the summit for long as we’d end up missing the last ferry but he also promise that he’d keep an eye out for us to ensure we made the last ferry.
After saying our thank yous, we made our way to the top of the summit. The view is amazing and its one of those things that I think everyone should experience for themselves. The pictures we took at the top does not do it justice and in true misfit style, we started goofing off again and forgot about the time crunch we were on. Luckily, reality kicked in shortly after that, and we bolted down to the ferry as quickly as possible. We made it down in record time and had 20 minutes to spare before the ferry left. Big lesson learned on this trip – its okay to talk to strangers in moments of desperation.