Looking up at the dreaded Mountain the path curves away to the left of the photo
Ok there was no Sam to help me this morning and no Gollum but I did not let that stop me getting up at 5:30 to get ready to tackle Mordor and Mount Doom or as you may prefer but I am sure you don’t The Tongariro Crossing and Mount Ngauruhoe.
So as I had no Lamas bread I made do with a breakfast of pasta and chicken as I watched the rest of the group at the hostel eating croissants oh well I guess they thought I was strange but I intended to blitz the trail and push myself to see how quick I could do it.
So after getting on my Hobbit feet and ears I knew I was ready to tackle Mordor but when I mean Hobbit feet I mean the boots the company taking us there provided and ears I mean IPOD.
After a fairly uneventful bus journey which takes 1:40 mins from Taupo we arrived at the start point which is called Mangatepopo I knew I had a good chance of doing the trek quickly as I had been running a lot and been not really drinking to save money so I felt
pretty up for it.
After starting off I soon released that I was only about the third person to head off as everyone was still messing about in the car park I had the luxury of doing this by myself.
The first part of the trek is about 1 hour and is fairly easy hike with very little increase in the gradient of the slope it does increase but not a great deal there is a small mountain to the right of you called Mount Doom, I found this part not too stressful and I noticed now that I had nobody whatsoever in front of me I was the first person on the trail that morning and would be the first to complete it.
After you climb past Soda Springs you reach a point called Devils Staircase it is called this as it climbs up very sharply to the bottom of Mount Doom and the start of Frodo’s journey. The Devils Staircase was probably the hardest climb and trek of the day as it ascends very quickly and sharply but I pushed on. Getting to the bottom of the peak I was now very far out in
front of the crowd below and they were just specks in the distance I was becoming pulled up the mountain by some unknown force or was it just my legs I am not sure. So here I was the quest for the ring was nearly over and I had just started my journey for the day. We were told not to climb Mount Doom so I didn’t attempt it but in hindsight I had the time and really could have got a little bit up it. Always the next time I suppose.
So after the Devils Staircase I moved along the South Crater part of the trek which is a flat piece that had just such a empty moon like feel to it, it was amazing having got to here but I could see that my next climb would take me higher and I figured more amazing views. Red Crater Ridge is the next climb and this was the pinnacle of the climb at 1886 metres it is one hell of a view once you get there it was icy cold on top but I was well wrapped up and felt it a little but the view up here
This is in between the two climbs a welcome rest
was breathtaking. Being alone up the top here was surreal just nothing but the sound of the wind in the air and the noise of the odd plane or helicopter flying over.
Descending from Red Crater Ridge was pretty sketchy as I was tearing down the hill and it was very loose and icy but I was descending down onto the lake areas which meant that all my hard climbs for the day were over. The Emerald Lakes and Blue Lake were pretty flat but amazingly picturesque the water is from geo thermal action and is an eerie sight this far up. After the Blue Lake the track is all downhill down the Rotopaunga Valley which gives great views out towards Taupo and the surrounding areas.
The Ketetahi Hut is the last checkpoint of any significance the height here is still 1450 metres, The hut can be used by backpacker who are doing the three day walk around the entire national park. The last part of the walk is past more hot springs which are privately owned. I descended the last part of the trek and was pretty happy with my performance for the day 17kilometres
Taken from the top of Red Crater Ridge
in 4 hours 38 minutes. The next group came in over an hour later
The walk was amazing and has to be one of the best things I have done in a long time the views were amazing and as most of the things I have done in New Zealand they are always going to be in my thought for a long time, the fact that at one point of the walk you are on a mountain which is covered in ice and snow and then at the end you are in a huge forest with streams is a huge contrast. As I said being alone on there was pretty cool it would have been nice to share it with someone but nevertheless I did for the last 2 hours listen to my IPOD and have some great scenery to go with some cool tunes. I would do the walk again in an instant but I have a little way to go to beat the fell runners who have done it in 1 hour 47 minutes
Superlatives cannot describe the views so I hope my pictures can.
Tot: 1.979s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 15; qc: 64; dbt: 0.0326s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
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