Today was the Tongariro Crossing which is one of New Zealand’s top day walks. We climbed the equivalent of 366 flights of stairs. 22km in about 8 hours. 38,000 steps.
We walked the opposite direction to most people keeping with the Southbound route of our Te Araroa. Because we started at a lower altitude to the usual we had another 350 meters of altitude to do. Because rain was forecast for later in the afternoon there weren’t too many people to pass on the track. Maybe only a 1000 or so. In saying that I did run out of my ” Hellos and “thank yous” by about noon.
Swiss Roman joined us for most of the day. He is a 50ish year old machine who has been travelling for about 5 years and has completed many long thru hikes across the world. Hi pack is ultra light. He survives on a packet of cigarettes and a couple of packs of noodles a day and lots of beer when he reaches towns. I do wonder if this holds the secret of thru hiking.
We had to climb up a very steep part covered in scoria which I usually come down very quickly in ski like fashion. This time I plodded up, 3 steps up and 1 back.
I spent the day remembering all the people I have done the Crossing with before. This is a magical place to make memories.
The White Island eruption was only a week ago so looking at the active stream.vents and crater lakes made me very aware about how vulnerable we are in places like this. However I did not dwell on this and enjoyed the day.
The drizzle came as we began our decent down to Mangatepopo which meant we didn’t stop for a lunch break, just topping up on the go with protein bars and nuts and dried fruit.
The TA continued on for another 3 hours to Whakapapa but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) there was no accommodation left there so we had to go to National Park village for the night. We had done 8 hours of hard slog and were cold and hungry so Dave called the YHA and they sent a car out to drive us the 13 km to National Park Village.
I showered and headed off to meet Dave and Baxter at at the only restaurant open. Then it was sleep time. I had been going now for 8 days without a rest day so I was a bit tired. We had our canoes booked for Tuesday which was 4 days away. There was only 2 days walking in between so we had a whole 2 days to rest up.
Day 52 and 53. 13 and 14 Dec. Rest days
We were now 2 days ahead of schedule so lazed around doing our housekeeping jobs such as washing clothes, updating websites, eating, drinking, eating, drinking and catching up with the tails fro. Other hikers.
We will leave tomorrow for a 2 day walk to Whakahoro where we will pick up our canoes for 5 days on the Whanganui River. This is very weather dependent and currently it is not looking too good for us. But we will walk on and hope that Garry buys the Weather Gods enough beers to get it sorted.