It took a few goes, but I’ve done it – I’ve completed the Tongariro Crossing. Not that I was stopped by my own limitations before – it was always the weather. No such problems this weekend, with superb weather across the country for the long weekend. Clear skies, 25-28 degrees during the day, light winds – perfect. Taking advantage of the long weekend here, I took off early from work on Friday, and drove down to National Park. Howard’s Lodge provided both accommodation, and the shuttle service to and from the track.
The standard deal is to get dropped off at the start, then picked up at the end of the day at the other end. Trying to do it any other way with a couple of vehicles is just a major pain. It’s about a 19km walk one way, across the saddle between Nguarahoe (aka Mt Doom) and Tongariro. It covers a crazy range of scenery – alpine, volcanic, tussock, and ending with two miles through native bush. It was a long hot day, and busy on the track, with large groups moving through – but I was happy to be there. Check out the view from halfway:
From there we had a clear view to Mt Taranaki – and surprisingly my phone was on the New Plymouth cell site, even though it was a very long way away. The second half was a long way downhill, and that can be pretty hard on the body. Harder on the muscles and joints, rather than the cardiovascular system.
By the time I got to the end I was pretty happy to sit down and relax – but Sunday was not for relaxing – I was off to ride the 42 Traverse (Hey! Look closely at the photo at that link – that’s me, my brother, sister, and brother-in-law! It’s from when we did it a few years ago. It also appears on some brochures in the area). It’s a pretty cool bike ride, mainly on 4WD forest tracks, often feeling quite out in the wilderness:
I don’t recall quite so much climbing last time, but there was heaps this time. Maybe it was just that it was much hotter this time – but it also meant that the swim at the end was much better:
I was pretty tired at the end of the weekend, but not too bad – I think that the mix of activities was good, no real muscular or joint soreness. Now it’s diving this weekend!