Monday, October 19, 2009

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Monday, October 19th

So it's a little harder to sleep on the top bunk in a room full with 8
girls who all have different sleeping habits.

I got up before 6 to get ready and eat breakfast - so I am ready to
sign up for the shuttle to and from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. I
packed my day pack last night so that I could grab it and go. The
staff at the YHA kept asking if I had enough layers and rain
gear...and then they offered to let me borrow some crampns. If I used
them then I would pay for them, otherwise, I could just give them back
at the end of the day. Crampons? I haven't used crampons before.
There is section at the top of the climb that is snow covered and
since it's pretty cold these days...the crampns would help me walk
over that section.

I was able to catch a few pics of the sun rising over Mt. Ngauruhoe
(LOTR's Mt. Doom)which is still an active volcano. That's where my
hike will be around today along with two other multiple vented active
volcanoes - the latest of which erupted in 2007.

The hostel shuttles 4 of us out to the trailhead- myself, Claire from
Chicago, & Nick & Mike from California. The trek is about 20 k's-
which is close to 12 miles. It starts off pretty easily over some
small hills with the view of Mt. Ngauruhoe's single cone to the
right. I hiked ahead but would wait in a location with a view and
sunshine. The hardest part started after the 1st was long and
up. And then we got to the section where we could have used our
crampons but the snow was soft enough that we didn't need them . But
it was still hard work! Pretty slippery and you could sink through
the crust of the snow anytime.

I went by the Emerald lakes and hot springs and the red crater... It
was amazing. You could feel the warmth from the volcano through the
ground and see steam constantly.

I also met an amazing couple from Germany...Uli & Jurgen Muth from a
town outside of Frankfort. Uli and I talked a mix of German/English
for a couple hours. She let me ask how to say things if I forgot...we
talked about faith, healing, chinese acupuncture and more. I hope to
keep in touch with them - we exchanged info so we will see! I love
that I can speak German and experiences like this remind me how much I
loved living in Germany.

The entire hike took us about 7 1/2 hours...I am currently riding back
in the shuttle back to the hostel. Next up: a big dinner.


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