Dawn wasn’t looking very promising. The weather was cold and misty, and Karel didn’t exactly bounce out of bed. The hotel proprietress was knocking on our door and asking after his well-being, however, and she bundled us into the dining room. Never mind what we ordered; they stuffed us with the deluxe breakfast and sent our trail guide off on some 15-minute errand so we’d have time to eat it. By then, Karel was feeling perkier and decided he would join me for the first part of the hike.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of New Zealand’s best day hikes, in a land where hiking is taken very seriously. For the past few months, the second half of the route has been closed due to volcanic activity, but the first half can be done, with a guide with appropriate safety training, as an out-and-back, taking you all the way to the high point and fantastic views of the volcanic landscape, distant mountains and volcanoes, and even the Pacific Ocean.
The weather was clearing as we reached the trail head, as high pressure swept across the island. Karel stayed with us until the terrain became too difficult for his knees; then he returned to the van and went off instead on a guided photo odyssey. I slogged up into the cratered landscape. By the end of the day, I’d gone 17.5 km (about 12 miles). The pictures tell the story best, and the captions will fill you in on some of the more interesting things I learned about this amazing landscape, some of which featured prominently in the Lord of the Rings, and may be the site for a future episode of Star Wars.This entry was posted in Honeymoon 2013