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Tongariro Alpine Crossing - Day 7
Even though I had been waking up around six every morning, getting up at 5am was really hard. But I manage to get up, pack all my food and lots of water and went out to meet up Mia.
She picked me up and we got down to Taupo, met up with her friend Luke and hop on the shuttle that would drive us the 1.5h to the beginning of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Normally you go across the mountain and get picked up on the other side, but as I mention in the previous post the northern part of the crossing are closed since they fear more eruptions.
Tongariro is one of many active volcanoes in New Zealand and this one erupted twice last fall so I was told that if it erupted while we were there I shouldn't run but try to be calm and get down.
Right before we got to the start of the track we stopped over to view the northern side and you can see all the smoke coming out. It was around now that I found out that this is were you can find Mount Ngauruhoe which you may recognize as Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings.
You are allowed to sidetrack and go up, but it is a very steep and mostly loose rocks and sand and you can only do it if the weather is clear since any clouds can get you lost up there and fall down. We thought about it but decided not to and I'm really not fit enough for that kind of walk.
The first part is fairly flat and easy and then you get to the Devils Stairs and that was a really difficult climb. I was really not fit enough to just jump up so I had plenty of stops during my way up to catch my breath and rest my legs. It was my legs mostly that wasn't prepared for this kind of exercise. But I managed to get up and then it was flat for a little bit before the last climb up. The view at the top then was amazing and worth the trouble getting there.
We decided to actually go down to the Emerald Lake (this was as far as we were allowed to walk) and had our lunch. After a short break we struggled to get back up again since this part were only loose rocks and when we got up Mia and Luke decided to go up the other summit and I decided to start my way back since my right thigh really started to hurt. For some reason the way felt much longer going down than going up.
The weather had been clear all day but now the cloud slowly gathered and you could no longer see the top of Mount Ngauruhoe. I got back 30min before the first bus back departed and when I finally got on I soon fell asleep and woke up right before we got to Taupo.
So around 4.30pm was I back in Taupo again and on my way back home a stopped to get a pizza to go since I was really hungry and in pain. The pain got lot worse and at the end of the night I could barely move my right leg so I went to bed early.