The Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Trip Start Mar 12, 2012
57Trip End Jul 10, 2012
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What I did
Before being allowed to do the Crossing, we were given a stern talking to about all the dangers of the walk. Then all our gear and clothing was checked to see if it was up to standard. Then it was on the bus again to be dropped at the start. Time for a last toilet stop before setting off for our 19.4km walk
The start of the Crossing was pretty easy. Nice and flat, with some good views of Ngāuruhoe, and through some beautiful scenery. Then we got to 'the stairs', as they're known. This is where the real Crossing begins. There's even a sign which asks you if you're prepared for it, and if you're not, turn back! A little bit daunting, but of course, we carried on. We then climbed the steep stairs for an hour or something.The landscape around was rocky, barren, and very dry. It was straight of Lord of the Rings. It's where they filmed some of Frodo and Sam's journey through Mordor, so imagine those scenes, and you can pretty much picture the landscape.
Anyway, it was a touch climb up the stairs, we had to have a lot of breaks! We got some great views on the way up though. Then it into the South Crater, which was amazing! It was so big, with all the mountains and the craters edge surrounding us. It felt like we were walking on another planet. Very surreal. We also passed the point where you turn off to climb up Mount Ngāuruhoe
We then climbed up and out of crater, and stopped for lunch and well earned rest. I had lots of 'energy food', including some Mars and Snickers bars - a trick I'd learnt my Dad's walking expeditions. Well, that was my excuse for buying chocolate anyway! After lunch, we continued down to the amazing blue/green lakes. The track down was horrible. It was really steep, and made of loose gravel, so you had to slide down it. I constantly felt like I was going to slip and tumble down the mountain side. So I was very happy when we reached the bottom
The track then slowly climbed back down. But it felt like we were walking down hill forever. It took us so long to reach the bottom. We ended up running it, because it took less effort that way, and we just wanted to get to the end! Finally, after 6 hours we reached the car park. Yes! The first thing we did was collapse on the ground and eat! I was so proud of myself for completing the Crossing. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do it, but I did, and it was a great personal achievement. I don't think I've ever walked so far in my life!
I was glad to get to our hostel and relax in the hot tub for a couple of hours though! A lot of effort, but totally worth it!