Peered out of the window on the day of the skydive at 7.30am to find lots of cloud and definately a stronger wind than yesturday evening. No chance, i thought. I didnt even wake Gemma. Decided to give the centre a call just to get confirmation, only to be told we were on.....we had 10 mins!! We didnt even have time for breakfast, although that was probably for the best. I still thought it may be cancelled when we got there but the first group were ready to go - we were next.
We watched a video on what we were about to do, tyen it was time to get kitted out. During this time the weather got better and better with only a few clouds in the sky. On went the all in one jump suit, harness, helmet and safety goggles. As i was gona get photos and a dvd, (I wanted evidence) I had my own camerawoman to jump with me. I met my tanden guy, steve, and we were off. We got in the most rickety tiny plane ever. I was glad to have a parachute. Our jump would be from 15,000 ft. I thought we must have nearly reached the correct altitude. I looked at steves altitudeometre...2,000ft! that was all. It took 20 minutes to reach 15,000ft. I wasnt too nervous. I guess because it was out of my control, all I had to do was lie there.
The doors opened and the freezing air rushed in. It was -5 degrees outside. I was strapped on very tightly to Steve, it actually hurt. Before i knew it my legs were dangling outside the plane and the rest is a bit of a blur. I got such an immense rush as we tumbled out of the plane, I could really feel that we were falling fast. It took me a while to get my bearings, catch my breath and settle into position. We free fell 10,000 ft in 60 seconds. I screamed the whole time. We did a few spins and before i knew it the parachute had been opened and the rush suddenly stopped.
It was only now that i began to take in my surroundings. It was awesome, we were still above some of the clouds an dcould see the lake below. My ears were killing me. It was so peaceful just drifting around in the sky. I was even allowed to take control. It didnt feel like we were getting any closer to the ground right until the landing. Back on the ground the whole group were congratulating each other. I think we were just so glad to still be alive and I was buzzing all day.
The tongariro crossing is rated as one of the best 1 day hikes in the world. It is often cancelled due to bad weather. Tom and I were up at 5.00am to beat the crowds. There was not a cloud in the sky. In fact it was the best day they'd had here for a long time, we were so lucky. The path took us over and alongside a couple of volcanoes, one being Mt doom from the lord of the rings films. The landscape was so unusual - I guess a bit like the surface of the moon - dusty and barron with huge craters, one of which was red. There was smoke rising out of the ground randomly as we walked.
Once over the red crater we worked/slid our way down to the Emerald lakes. There were four stunning bright green lakes, vibrantly glistening, standing out from the grey volcanic back-drop. We continued down the north face of Mt Tongariro past one more blue lake and downhill all the way to the finish. It took us 7hrs in total to complete the crossing, was well worth it tho.