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Published: November 22nd 2005
I'm writing this diary entry while sat on top of an active volcano - Mount Tongariro to be precise - 1967m above sea level. My bum is starting to burn a bit and I'm having to regularly change cheek just to cool it down.
It's around 1800years since Taupo's last major erruption and whether that means another is due or not, I don't know, and don't really care since 'death by being launched into the air by a firey errupting volcano' would look pretty cool on anybodies death certificate.
Steam rises from the ground around me, adding to the dramatic alpine vista visible in every direction and the clear aqua-blue sky means with a turn of my head I can see both the West and East coasts of the island from this central peak.
The rock ranges in colour from ash-black pummice, to blood-red iron oxide, to yellow-green sulphur, the latter having permeated into four varying sized pools and lakes in the valley on my left, each a different shade of vivid emarald.
The seven and a half hour hike wasn't as challenging as we'd thought, and we could have easily completed it with hours to
spare, but with the bus departure time set, we took it slow and decended leisurely through the snow-covered heather.
By 19:00, we were back at the hostel, thought sadly not 'hostelized', since they were fully booked, meaning we had to move to Burts Backpackers down the road. We dumped our stuff and headed into town to catch the 9:30 showing of he cheesy horror 'Doom'; which seemed like a fitting end to the day, having just climbed, and dare I say 'conquered', Mr Jackson's 'Mount Doom' from The Lord Of The Rings.
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