Hey, me , sarah and claire have got back from our day doing the Tongariro crossing, a challenging trek for 8 hours, 18.5km. We went from Mangatepopo valley to the saddle between Mt. Tongariro and Mt. Ngauruhoe. It climbs to Red Crater (1886m), then drops down to the vivid emerald lakes. Then it descends the northern slope of Tongariro in a zig zag to Ketetahi, then down through heathland and through forest and rainforest.
It was an amazing walk, and parts of it were very challenging- especially as it rained and was pretty windy (with our waterproof jackets on we sounded like helicopters lol), for most of the day! It was also very foggy, we were right up in the cloud. It cleared towards the end though. The only bit I wasnt so keen on was trying to walk across a narrow track with huge drops on either side, and try to stay on the slippery, muddy path while the wind tries to blow you off down the cliff! But it was better than turning back! Devils staircase was hell, thats when it rained heaviest aswell, so steep, and slippery. The name suits it. We saw a guy who had had a heart attack, just before devils staircase, and I think a few people slipped and fell along the way.
There was alot of loose scree to get down after the red crater, pretty long walk down there. I kept using the rocks to stop me slipping but they just tumble down with you lol. None of us three fell though, we did really well for time actually- got the bus back an hour earlier than we planned.
We got a few photos but didnt want to use our cameras much as our bags were soaked through. Me and claire had soggy feet for most of the walk, our shoes got drenched- sarah has a very nice pair of North Face shoes that are waterproof so she was ok! All of us got wet to the skin despite a few layers (I had 5 layers lol). It wasnt that cold on the mountains, not as cold as when me and sarah did the highest mountain in OZ, which was higher, but we got way colder because despite our waterproofs we were drenched! We only sat down twice for quick breaks and it was horrible, you froze and didnt want to move again lol. But once you got going you loved it, and the sun came out- just after we had descended Tongariro!
At the end though it didnt feel like I had walked 18.5km at all, I felt hyper actually! I think maybe cus we saw so much, like the volcanic lakes, and steaming vents and rocks (I found a hot rock and sat onit for ages lol, steam coming up around me), it made the walk really interesting and it flew by.
Were on the bus at 9.30 tomorrow, a really good lie in for us. Slightly tempted to go out tonight but we are shattered, the girls in our dorm went out last night and said it was good- though they did waste the whole day today cus they just stayed in bed! How bad is that? Might just go out for some food and sit by lake taupo. Its stunning here, so many good walks and climbs to do around Taupo. Im glad we did one of the most challenging, it was worth it!
p.s. we got to River Valley tomorrow, where were doing white water rafting- its claire and sarahs first time rafting xx