[NOTE: I wrote this post in October 2009 - I realized I had never finished writing my posts about New Zealand, which is a crime because the Tongariro Crossing was one of the most exhilirating experiences of my life. I think I was trying to think of enough eloquent things to say about it, but there simply aren't words - at least, that I'm capable of writing - so for now I'll at least get the photos up here and allow them to speak for themselves...]
Photos are in chronological order… hover over the group photos for titles.
We took a shuttle bus from town and got to the trail head around 6:30am.
2 hours in…
This was one of the scariest (but coolest) things I've ever done. The wind was blowing so hard across the snowy ridge that I crawled up the final slope (see the wet knees)!
This is the mountain that played Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies… (sans snow of course)
6 hours in (after waiting for Alex to come back down from Ngauruhoe)… beginning to descend.
After 7 hours…
After 8 hours… (warming back up as we came down)
At this point, we semi-jogged the rest of the way because we were nearing our cut-off time to make the return shuttle (due to the summit trips).