|The Blue Lake at Tongariro Alpine Crossing|
We started the hike in the rain, met blistering winds and freezing air in the middle, and finished in short-sleeves in a sunny rainforest. What amazing climate and terrain changes. We were hiking in the clouds through the summit, but just around lunchtime we entered the Emerald Lakes area -- the most picturesque on the hike -- and the clouds gave way to some blue sky and incredible views. The views were especially amazing considering that we couldn't see 20 feet ahead at some points in the hike, so we really didn't know what to expect if the clouds parted. This hike is often said to be the best day hike in New Zealand, and David and I agreed that it was pretty special. The best way we could both think to describe it during several parts of the hike was that we felt like we were walking on the moon. Feeling like I could get blown off the mountain at some points (probably not literally, Mom) added to it for me -- I always love a good experience and a good story!
|Sara staying low to fight the wind at the peak of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing|
|David at the summit of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing|
We did it! The entire hike was 20 km and took about six and a half hours -- we earned our dinner that night.