The Quest of Mount Doom!

What a day... :) I don't even know where to start! I'm in Turangi for a couchsurfing meeting, because I met this couchsurfer from Auckland at the local meeting and he invited me to join the 5th annual Tongariro crossing this weekend and, well, obviously, I said yes :) In case you're wondering what I'm talking about, check it out!

Link to the official website

We're all in tents and cabins at the Holiday park. Everybody arrived last night and today, we went up the mountain! 1886 meters on the top, 16 km there and back again, 7 hours including lunch.... and the worst part? The devil's staircase! A very appropriate name, if you ask me.... -.-

The devil's staircase
See those small color dots in the back there? Yeah, those are the people on the staircase.... As you can see, the mountain is not exactly walking-friendly... There was actually a a sign right at the beginning of the staircase that said "Do not go beyond this point if you're not fit enough" Kinda doesn't keep people from going up there though... We took our time and had lots of rests along the way, because it was just too steep to just climb up there. And the air is thinner up there too! But we had fun anyways :D

Rock-surfing in the wasteland
Again, when couchsurfers meet, there's always lots of stories to tell and infos to share, so no matter in which group I was walking, I always had fun! About half of our group actually did go UP "Mount doom" I mean, seriously people, Mount Doom! That path where they tell you "well, you'll only slip once..."
a little scary, if you ask me....
I decided one ridge is enough and "only" did the "normal" tour... yeah, well, there was nothing "normal" about this track ;) It was just flat out awesome!!! (and SO exhausting....)

yep, I went up there...
The view was pretty awesome!
that was the rock-climbing part....
We couldn't walk the entire way, because Mount Tongariro actually erupted a while back and part of the track is closed... When we were up there, we heard some rumbling noises, but we chose to ignore them. Some people even said it was just the army doing some kind of exercise... Yeah.... Se that "cloud" in the picture below? That's smoke from when the Mountain errupted again - today!
Welcome to the top!
What can I say? It was an incredible walk and we had some incredible views! We went to the hot pools afterwards to soothe our sore muscles and basically took over the entire pool, which was loads of fun as well :) I'd love to upload some more pictures, but I REALLY need some sleep now... The CS meeting is still going, so I'm sure I'll write some more pretty soon ;) We're actually gonna go wild water rafting on monday... New Zealand really is turning into my very own little "unexpected journey" :D

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