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Published: January 2nd 2016
New years Eve we tried to sleep around 10pm just after speaking to my parents and wishing them a happy new year and chatting about the day, we woke up to first midnight! So we did get to see the new year in after all! We then both fell asleep and the alarms went off at exactly the same time of 5am!! We jumped up, got changed and went to have some toast to get the carbs in BUT we walked to the kitchen and it was locked shut! You know what we did... Ate a piece of bread, had a handful of rice krispies and had a tiny carton of juice. We were ready for the Tongariro Crossing!! On our way down through the hostel, we saw a few sights (bearing in mind it was 5am, New Year's Day morning and everyone was still pissed, I won't mention what we saw through the dorm rooms which doors were open, but it wasn't pretty).
We got picked up at 6am and it was a fairly crisp morning, I looked like a typical tourist with my gym shoes, shorts with leggins on underneath, top and hoody and a big black rucksack
full of water and a packet of crumpets.
When we got to the car park at the start of our walk we had to have our photo taken just in case we never made it to the end... We had a quick wee in the toilets which were just one of those endless pits, yeah it stank.
So, we started walking! It looked like the wind and rain was going to hold off and it wasn't going to be too warm. Luckily the harsh weather stayed away and it was just fairly warm, when we got over certain mountains we would be hit by strong winds, it had gotten up to 45kmph, which is not what you need when you're hiking up and down volcanoes! There were 3 points on the map we needed to get to (like check points on a computer game). The first one was some more toilets and we got to that one within 20 minutes which was fairly quick! The second point was the Emerald Lakes, these were sulphur lakes and the walk over to them was horrendous, very steep and rocky climb, you were literally on your hands and knees climbing up,
basically you were rock climbing to get to the summit! (Pic attached) we also saw the red crater which was so very red! We got to the top and the view was so pretty. You can always smell the sulphur before you actually see it as it's a fairly strong smell!
We then had to make our way back down to safety as at the top was very windy, and a steep drop at every angle. Getting down was the hardest, me wearing gym shoes made the grip non existent which resulted in me practically falling down the volcano, we had to walk down sideways but it didn't really help, to be fair I was just laughing the whole way down thinking what an idiot I must look like to everyone else. I also fell on my bum a few times.
Anyway, I eventually made it and Charlotte was waiting for me half way down. This is where we had a 20min rest against some big boulders and ate lunch... Dry crumpets with a BBQ flavoured Shapes biscuit on top, crisps and some jelly sweets for energy, plus a tonne of water.
We went down the rest of
the way to a long path and realised we had to climb up again one last time up to the Blue Lake!
Anyway, we had the long hike back to the finish line and it took a couple of hours. We reached our third point which was the Hut where people could nap but not stay overnight, due to the high volcanic activity about 1km away (it erupted a couple of times and huge boulders were shot through the air and hit the Hut, luckily people weren't in the Hut at that time as they would have died. People now generally use it for snacking and resting ready for the next part of their walk. We sat here for 20mins or so and ate a couple of bites of food.
At this point we had done 14km and had 6km left to go! We had it in our heads that we were going to try and beat 5hours, and we had one hour to do this... We ran a bit, speed walked, overtook a lot of people. I'm not saying that it was easy, it was so so painful. Every inch of my body was screaming at me to stop and rest but we had a goal to reach!!
It let getting closer to the 5hour mark and it got to 25mins left and we had 2.9km to go. We ran. It hurt so much, then we didn't see any more signs so thought "ah we must be close".... Every corner we had our hopes up but the end was not near. We passed over bridges, down loads of steps and FINALLY saw the end. We couldn't run anymore. We cheered. We found a table to lie down on and eat the rest of our rations (pic attached). Napped a bit and our lift finally arrived but we had to wait for the last 2 people to finish the crossing (we waited 2 hours)!! They finally arrived and we slept most of the way back to our hostel..
We had 3 pieces of toast for dinner and a cup of tea, had a shower and got into bed at 7pm. The pub underneath us was in full swing so at 1.30am I was woken up by really loud music so I had to shut the window. My sleep has been so disturbed this past week by things going on. But, that's a backpackers lifestyle for you!
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