It's Saturday, it's cold and rainy, and my parents and brother and sister-in-law have departed to drive around the North Island in a camper van, and to New York, respectively and the house seems super-quiet, except for Hazel and her friend Chloe playing My Little Ponies in the living room. Thank goodness for other only children who are equally bored on rainy days!
In between the beach and now I had a little adventure up on Mt. Tongariro in the middle of the north island. The Tongariro Crossing is a famous day tramp up and over a volcano (when it's not erupting) and it's also where they filmed the Mordor sequences of Lord of the Rings (a little known fact about me is that I'm a huge LOTR nerd). Classed as "challenging" I think I'd personally say it should be classed "if you are unfit and have bad knees just stay home" but hey, I did it when I was 12 so why not at 43? Haaaaahahahahahaha! Ahem. So yeah, it's been 3 days and my upper thighs have finally unclamped enough to let me walk normally and I don't shriek with pain every time I stand up and start walking. At one point going down the 50 million stairs at the end I actually stopped and had to work very hard not to cry with the pain in my knees and sheer exhaustion, but oh boy the adrenaline when you finish! The weather was pretty crappy and we didn't even glimpse Ngaruhoe or the main peak of Tongariro, though I knew they were up there in the clouds - but we got some exceptionally atmospheric views of ragged clouds and a blasted landscape so I guess it's amazing in all weather.
I'm currently planning a few projects to get started on, who knows if I'll get any time to sew with summer holidays for another month!
In the meantime here's some Tongariro crossing photos (google it if you want fine-weather photos, it's pretty freaking spectacular):
Looking down over and across lava flows (can you see those itty bitty people on the trail down below?)
Across the floor of the Southern Crater
Descending from the Red Crater on Tongariro, the crater is on the right.
We couldn't see the red crater for cloud but even the rocks along the side were pretty cool
Emerald Lake at the bottom of that slope
Looking back to the Red Crater, you can see the trail going up the ridge towards the right, it skirts along the side of the crater.
Some guys taking a photo break - and being photogenic in turn.
Looking out over Lake Rotoaira to Lake Taupo in the distance. Taupo is a caldera formed by the largest volcanic explosion/erruption ever. And it will explode again at some point, some time. Wooo.
Water drops on tussock grass