Alpine tramping is something John and I had zero experience with until this week when we marched twenty-one arduous kilometers in Tongariro National Park. We walked the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It’s right in the center of the North Island, on our drive from Wellington to Auckland. I read about it back in June or July and decided it was a must. Thus, we planned our road trip up the North Island around this trek. And it was worth it. It was worth the money, the blood, the sweat, and the tears. Thankfully, there was no actual blood. The tears were tears of joy. And the sweat mingled with the constant precipitation of the day. The rain soaked through my backpack, and John’s feet sloshed around with puddles in his hired boots.
Overall, we were out there for about eight hours. Some of that time included the ice axe lesson, lunch, a rundown of LOTR’s CGI edits, and some geological chats. It drizzled, rained, misted, and sprinkled for about seven hours and forty-five minutes. We opted to go with Adrift Outdoors, and our crew was fantastic. They provided the ice axes and other gear we didn’t own (waterproof trousers) as well as crampons and helmets which we didn’t even use.
The views were spectacular. Shades of white and light gray as far as the eye could see – white snow merging into white fog and light gray overcast skies. The views were spectacular. Being the end of winter, we were able to go to the emerald and blue lakes, but both were mostly frozen over. You could see hits of emerald and blue underneath the ice, but mostly the lakes just served as a spot to take a rest (and throw a snowball or two). Toward the end, the last several kilometers of the walk felt like a totally different environment – rainforest, greenery, and mud. Altogether, it was an utterly exhausting experience that I would highly recommend!