As I touched on in my last Postcards Home post (if you haven’t read it already, check it out here), last week I trekked the Tongariro Alpine Crossing – a 19.4km trek through extraordinary volcanic terrain, mountains and lakes.
We began the walk at 7am following the Mangetepopo Stream along flat boardwalks, which were sunken in towering, rocky mountains, until we reached the aptly named ‘Devil’s Staircase’. I’m not going to lie, when my information sheet read ‘prepare yourself mentally for the challenge ahead’, I wasn’t filled with hope.
We began to climb the devilish steps trying our hardest not to pass out on the way up before reaching the start point to Mount Doom. The information sheet also said climbing Mount Doom ‘is extremely dangerous and should only be attempted if you found the Devil’s Staircase easy’. I was out.
Waving to the brave climbers who now looked like ants climbing up a rocky mound hill in the distance, we continued towards South Crater. The crater was surreal. Completely flat and sparse apart from a few tufts of brittle greenery and giant, rugged black boulders, it felt as though we had been transported onto another planet. We strolled through in silence taking in the tranquility until we arrived at the next hill…
After trekking up and down a couple more steep mountains, we soon reached the Emerald Lakes. A spurt of vibrant colour amongst the otherwise dusty terrain, the Emerald Lakes were outstanding.
Getting their colour from their high sulphur content, the lakes omitted a similar eggy smell to in Rotorua however, their beauty made this smell more than bearable. We enjoyed our packed lunch with the vivid, crystal clear lakes as our backdrop.
The last leg of the journey was arguably the hardest. After six hours of walking up and down steep inclines my legs were beginning to seize up and my feet felt as though I’d been wearing heels for the entirety of the trek. I hobbled the last section of the track before collapsing on a grass mound at the end point.
I HAD DONE IT!!!