10 Nov 2010

Tongariro Alpine Crossing - Wednesday 10th

What a fantastic day! It started, for me, at 6am and from my bed I could see the light of dawn. I got up and entered the big kitchen of the backpackers place for a nice breakfast in silence. The kitchen windows facing all three vulcanic summits: Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. The sun were just about to rise between Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu and only a few scattered clouds in the horizon. What a wonderful sight and it felt like a very god omen for the day. As a matter of fact Mount Ngauruhoe was used as a stand-in for the fictional Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. And everyone knows that Sauron has left the building, the ring was destroyed, Mount Doom is asleep and no orch has been seen in the area since then. So, as the sun start to rise over Mordor I felt pretty safe and in good spirit.

The bus picked us up 7:15am and we reached the start of Tongariro Alpine Crossing about 35 minutes later. The weather were perfect and just calm winds. No need for a jacket when walking, but a shirt only. The track is 19,4 kilometres and takes about 7-8 hours to walk. The start is about 800 metres above sea level and the highest point of the crossing is about 1960 metres. To cut a long story short, the walk were just amazing and unforgettable, even though my legs says something else at the moment. I think the sample of photos below depicts  what words can't describe.
Sunrise at Mordor (e.g. Tongariro). Mount Ngauruhoe is visible to the left.
Mount Ruapehu, which reach 2971 metres above sea level.
Mordor and Mount Doom (Mount Ngauruhoe). The track is visible at the base and crossing the plain towards left.
Interesting colours near the Tongariro summit.
View from the Tongariro ridge. The Blue Lake in background and the Emerald Lakes lower to the right.
The beautiful Emerald Lakes.
The walk downwards at the second part. Lake Rotoiara in background.
New Zealand Pipit, which were the only bird species seen on higher altitudes.
A lovely stream in the woodlands before the finish of the walk.
Mount Ngauruhoe in the afternoon when we got back to the Backpackers place.

1 comment:

Ulf Ståhle said...

Fantastic landscapes! It looks as you have started off well.
Take care / Ulf