Tramp Number Two

Trip Start Sep 04, 2006
Trip End Jun 12, 2007

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Last week I did another long walk, this time 4 days walking around the twin volcanoes of Mt. Ngauruhoe and Mt. Tongariro. I did this walk solo as I didn't meet anyone else who was doing it (the weather forecast wasn't too great!). The first day was a long, fairly flat walk across swampland inbetween the two aforementioned mountains and Mt. Ruapehu, where the skifields are. I arrived at the hut totally soaked as usual, but there were other people there and the fire was going, so it was very cosy. I had a really enjoyable evening playing cards by candlelight and listening to the songs and stories of our Maori hut warden. The second day we woke up to snow outside, which increased in depth as I climbed higher towards the second hut. I was forced to stay behind rather than continuing on to the next hut because the snow had just got so deep, and the wind was blowing cold rain and hail all over everywhere. I went to sleep to the sound of the storm on the roof of the hut, but woke up in the early hours just as the rain had stopped. The sky had cleared completely and I saw the starriest sky, and a bright half moon lighting up the peak of Mt. Ngauruhoe (which I hadn't seen before due to the cloud). A really beautiful moment. Day three was much less isolated, as the track I was walking met up with the route of a very famous and popular one-day walk called the Tongariro Crossing. I went from walking on fresh, untouched snow, with no footprints except for a few possum prints, to passing around 150 people all walking in the opposite direction to me along the main track. The views from the top were absolutely superb, and I enjoyed ALMOST climbing Mt. Tongariro (1967m). I climbed up to the secondary peak (1961m) but decided that it wasn't worth the risk of climbing to the real summit just to gain another 6 metres, because the slope looked very icy and treacherous. But I now have a new 'highest mountain' record!
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