Tuesday 12 Jun
Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Our first proper alpine hike
After coming to the conclusion that we could actually die out there & not relishing in the thought of having to be rescued... I only have so much good underwear after all... we decided to be a good little boy & girl and organise a guided trek complete with crampons, ice axes, walking sticks etc
Good thing really, as things were actually a bit dodgy out there in parts & you become quite attached to your axe when you realise it is the only thing that is keeping you from slipping down into a snow covered crater. We went with Adrift NZ , a professional guy called Stu who provides a complementary guiding service along with the equipment. We were typically lucky (I know - how much good luck do 2 people really need?) with the weather & we got the best of all worlds. Firstly, we got to see blue lakes but with snow all around (the lakes get snowed under in winter) plus because of the issues of the previous day's mishaps we had the place all to ourselves. This is a walk that can see up to 1000 people a day in summer, so you can imagine how special it was. The photos will give you an idea of why it is so popular - click here to check them out.
Pretty ridiculous views hey?
The man upstairs decided to show us who was boss again by a heavy downpour on the 2 hours walk down the mountain. However, not even 'more rain on the downhill' than Stu had ever seen in the 500 times he had done the walk could dampen the high of what we had seen & done in the craters.
The guy who ran our caravan park, Callum, turns out to be the 2nd fastest mountain runner in the world & he managed to do the crossing in 1 hr 25 min. We managed it in 7 hrs 30 min!!! Just to make us feel a little humbled by our achievement. Although I would like to point out in our defence that we did it in winter conditions...
More info on the Tongariro Crossing
Again, we slept like babies...