A few weeks ago I did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing here in New Zealand. The Crossing is, of course, internationally famous for being the filming location for Mount Doom and Mordor in Peter Jackson’s film version of The Lord of the Rings. It’s one of the big reasons that I wanted to visit the Tongariro National Park and do the Crossing for myself.
Before the crack of dawn, my friends Tina, Will, and myself rose from our slumber and set about preparing to trek across Mordor in the footsteps of Frodo and Sam. The bus arrived at 5:20am to take us to the departure area to start our hike and we were on our way.
The hike itself was around twenty kilometers (20kms) long and took us from roughly 7:30am to 3:15pm to complete with a nice little stop for lunch at the base of Mount Ngauruhoe (also known as the famous Mount Doom).
Not long after lunch, we came upon the spectacular Emerald Lakes and the Blue Lake, all of which are ‘tapu’ (sacred) to the Maori people of New Zealand and sit at about the halfway point on the hike.
The weather for the day that we went was absolutely gorgeous with nice clear views pretty much everywhere you looked. That unfortunately wasn’t the case for a couple of friends that did the Crossing the day before, when all they could see was cloud.
The last three kilometers (3kms) of the hike is actually the worst part. It just seems to go on forever through a forest and when you’re thinking that you’re nearing the end, you turn a bend and realize that you still got a ways to go.
All in all, it was a pretty amazing day and well worth it, regardless of how sore my legs and feet were for the following couple of days. If you want to know more about it, check out the website HERE.