Lady and the (Alpine) Tramp
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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Where I stayed
Tongariro Base Camp Holiday Park
We arrived 20 minutes later at the Tongariro Alpine Crossing start point in the 79,598 hectare covering, World Heritage listed, Tongariro National Park
We made it to the summit of Red Crater at 1886 metres and breathed in a huge, deep sigh of relief – if the tramp wasn’t hard enough the snow was making it much harder and in some places some would say treacherous (we had originally laughed at talk of crampons, ice picks and walking poles). A couple of times on the way up we heard a few ominous rumbles and I have to say we were scared (Andrew Edit - Erica neglects to mention the large warning signs that the volcano is still active and what to do if it erupts this gave me something serious to worry about when we heard the loud noises). Even the Swedish girls and the French couple in front of us turned round and we all shared a look of horror but kept going for lack of knowing what else to do. From here we could see the Emerald lakes mostly covered in ice and snow but revealing deep green edges. We stopped down at the lakes for lunch and ravenously ate a tub of our pre-made pasta between us before setting back off down towards Ketetahi hut, a DOC hut on the mountain where you can stay over night, in parts this bit was really scary. The paths were still covered in deep snow and we were forced to walk on the edge in the people ahead of us’ footsteps. As we walked along the steep hillsides snow would fall away from the edge where we had just stepped and roll all the way down to the rocks below. I couldn’t get the image of my body doing the same out of my head.
We arrived at the hut and ate the second pot of pasta that we had brought over looking a beautiful lake fringed by hills with Lake Taupo, the largest fresh water lake in Australasia (in fact the size of Singapore), visible in the distance bathed in sunshine, it was an amazing view. The rest of the tramp was easy and all downhill along clear tracks amongst scrub that gave way to forest. It was at this point that it started to rain quite heavily (we had just got down below cloud level) so we upped the pace a bit and made it to the end in under 6 hours. The bus wasn’t due to leave for another hour and a half, but by this stage the sun had come out so we lay on the benches on the grass and took our socks and shoes off to give our feet an air. Andrew’s feet were disgusting, all pale, wrinkly and peeling, we have included a photo for your viewing pleasure you lucky things. We got chatting to another English couple doing a similar trip to ours in reverse so they gave us some tips for South America then we were back on the bus to go back to camp. On the bus we found Emma and Stuart the lovely couple that we had met the other night, they had stayed around Taupo to do the walk too so we had a wine or two back at our van while they waited for the keys to their van to be dropped off and we promised to meet up for a drink when we were back in Manchester.
After they left we booked ourselves in to the on-site spa to ease our aching muscles and didn’t speak for about half an hour as we just lay there comatose