Tongariro Crossing

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Tongariro Crossing
March 10th, 2009

The Tongariro Crossing is a 19.4km (12 mile) hike touted as one of the world's best day hikes, so we were certainly looking forward to it, despite the fact that we'd just done an Ironman a couple days before! We also hoped to add on the summit side-trips up Ngaurahoe and Tongariro. We started out early and although there was cloud part way up the mountain, we hoped it would clear as the day went on. As we climbed higher though and entered the cloud, it became rather windy, cold, and wet! Fortunately the wind was at our backs though, so we trudged on. Occasionally we caught glimpses of the landscape around us - it truly appeared to be spectacular! For a while we thought we might not see anything, but as we crested the final ridge before dropping down to a couple of small geothermal lakes the cloud finally started to break and we were greeted with some spectacular views that made everything worthwhile. I'm sure it would have been even more spectacular if it had been a clear day, but at least we did get to see some pretty spectacular sights! The hike down the other side also yielded some great views of the surrounding area, plus a section in the rainforest. One day we hope to get back and do the full hike in good conditions!

Mike at the trail head just before we start.

Bright and early at the start. The coffee obviously hasn't kicked in yet!!

A picture of the map - in case we got "lost" along the way we could reference the camera! It came in useful for scouting out a toilet!

Mike heading down the path.

Mike in the volcanic landscape with a stream off to the left.

Slowly gaining elevation.

Early on in the hike.

Early on in the hike.

Our first glimpse of anything in a while as we'd been in the dense cloud/wind/mist. We thought this might be as good of a view as we'd get - luckily things continued to clear! This is comind down the ridge towards the small lakes below.

Me on the ridge as we approach the lakes and the cloud begins to clear.

On the ridge with the lake in the background. The cloud is just finally lifting a bit and giving us some views!

Mike on the ridge - obviously it's cold if he's bundled up this much!!! There was ice on some of the trail markers we'd just passed!

The cloud continues to lift and the splendor displays itself!

A view of the plains off to the left of the ridge.

More clearing.....

Mike in front of the inviting lake.

Mmmm....the smell of sulphur! ;)

Vistas out beyond the lake.

The side of the ridge and the volcanic beauty.

Mike running down the ridge.

Mike along the ridge.

Mike along the ridge.

The ridge we came down.

Mike stopped for a break to try and thaw out!

Where we just came from - one minute it was in cloud, the next it was beautiful!

The beauty of volcanic rocks.

The lake in yet a different hue.

The lower of the 2 lakes from down below looking back up at the ridge we came over.

The lower of the 2 lakes.

The lower of the 2 lakes from down below looking back up at the ridge we came over.

In front of one of the lakes with the ridge we came down in the background.

Beautiful water!

Mike with a great vista behind him.

Wow!!! What a stunning sight! I'm so glad we kept on going and that it somewhat cleared briefly!

The ridge to the right is where we came down.

Behind a sign near the lakes.

Looking back over the plain towards where we came from - still stunning! Ngauruhoe is in the cloud behind.

Mike in front of a small geothermal stream on the way down.

Views on the side of the mountain.

Views on the side of the mountain.

Coming down the trail through the colorful wildflowers!

What a view! Views of a lake below, plus Lake Taupo in the far distance.

Re-entering the rain-forest with a babbling brook to follow.

Another waterfall - they're everywhere in New Zealand! :)

Mike in front of the waterfall.

We made it! Safely to the other side where Aunt Joan was waiting to take us back to collect our vehicle at the start.

At the end of the crossing.

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