Mts. Hobson and St. John

It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper picture of Auckland, hasn’t it? Time to remedy that! (Also, remember how four posts ago I posted a picture of Auckland and said it was from next post’s adventure? And then two posts ago how I said that the next post would have pictures of Auckland? Yeah, that’s this post. Things got reordered.)

Mt. Hobson is one of the many volcanic cones along the Auckland landscape; we explored the largest of these a little bit ago. How did I choose Mt. Hobson? Well, I live on Hobson Street, so I felt a slight kinship. Yes, that’s the sort of deep, piercing analysis that goes into these decisions.

Getting to Mt. Hobson is a bit of a doddle; it’s about a block from the Remuera train station. I didn’t even drive for this one! The hike starts with some lovely (if somewhat damp, in these photos) stairs.

Once up the stairs, there’s a nice footpath for some of the way up the summit. You may notice that it’s a bit rainy. Well, right after I got under the cover of those trees in the background, the skies just opened up. I stood there for maybe five minutes, wondering if I should press on through the rain or just bail. And then the rain stopped, the skies cleared to a beautiful blue, and if the ground wasn’t sodden, I honestly would not have known it even rained.

One of the best moments of this walk is rounding a bend and suddenly…Waitemata Harbour and Rangitoto. And see what I mean about the skies clearing up? New Zealand weather, yo.

The dirt paths continue around the volcanic cone and up to the summit.

And once you reach the summit, you look out and…oi. What’s that now? A little Hobbit hole? Let’s use our patented Zoom and Enhance technology to inspect closer:

Not quite Hobbitish, but not what one would expect to find in a volcanic cone, either. Unlike Mt. Eden, Mt. Hobson has no signs forbidding exploration into the cone itself. Let’s have ourselves a look.

Gandalf would be hard-pressed to carve a rune into this door. And what’s that painted on the wall? Some joker’s idea of a window?

The door is locked, but with some careful flashlight work and about three hands, I could see that there was some sort of pipeworks back there. No dinner parties or warm hearths at all. Pity.

I took the opportunity to find a different route up to the summit again. The sky has, by this point, changed properly to a blue Spring sky.

Perhaps it should be called Mt. Hopson instead! (This is unquestionably the greatest success of any success I have ever had at photographing an animal in the wild.)

It’s such a clear day that looking out to the Northwest we can see North Head, Devonport, and Mt. Victoria (right to left). You can see a bit of Rangitoto Island there on the right, and far in the background there’s…something. Perhaps Little Barrier Island? In any case, I like this photo because of all the shades of blue!

I had to do some flying around on Google Earth to figure out exactly what I captured here. Mostly because I couldn’t believe my camera captured all that! I believe we’re looking at Hobson Bay, followed by Mission Bay, followed by Brown’s Island and Waiheke Island. Wow!

(Also: helicopter in the upper left. Didn’t even notice it when I was taking the picture. Doh!)

There’s Mt. Eden to the West; too bad I posted those pictures before I made this trip or else I could have used that as an outro pic :)

One Tree Hill and Cornwall Park. Y’know, I’ve climbed One Tree Hill on several occasions, but it hasn’t made its way to this weblog yet. Maybe I should change that one day!

And yes, dear ol’ Auckland. (That red building in the middle distance is St. Michael’s Church, in case you’re curious).

The world’s most photogenic city :)

But wait, we have one more hill! (And it’s a photo I actually like taken from my phone camera!)

That’s Mt. St. John.

It’s quite close by.

And quite small.

With quite a narrow path…

And quite a steep drop!

When I choose places to go, I’m not generally thinking about this blog. I’m thinking about where I want to go. But I will admit, the primary reason I wanted to go to Mt. St. John is because I wanted to get a shot of Mt. Hobson for this post. But once I came here, I had an odd sense of deja vu. And on the narrow path, I realized: I had been here before!

When I visited Auckland a year ago, a couple of friends from the church took me on a short hike. At the time I had no idea where it was, but it was, in fact, Mt. St. John! I didn’t even realize I would be revisiting old territory until I saw that narrow track.

2014-11-29 16.35.46

And yep, here’s a photo from November of last year of my lovely companions and I hiking along the same precarious pathway!

Anyway, that was a fun and unexpected trip down memory lane!

And here’s the photo of Mt. Hobson I went to such lengths to get as the closing photo:

I am a truly lucky man to live in a land of such beauty.

Next time: make like Fievel and go West.

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