hike blog

TA Day 48, National Park to Katieke War Monument – 27 km

Morning is the best time for walking alone when the shadows are long and the birdsong is loud.
Morning is the best time for walking alone when the shadows are long and the birdsong is loud.

I’m having trouble sleeping as my birthday winds down. So many gifts of good weather, astonishing scenery, strong legs and decent track. But I feel lonely just now – and maybe a bit foolish, this woman now in her mid-fifties all on her own trying to recapture her youth.

Tom said something yesterday about missing love while hiking this trail. He has his eye on a certain female walker, but what he’s referring to in this case is the deep connection of his family and friends. I too miss the solid and tender person I married who always keeps me balanced and focused. Out here on my own, I’m a little bit lost.

hike blog

TA Day 47, Mangatepopo track to National Park – 30 km

The most famous sign in New Zealand, looking back at Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe and thunderstorms.
The most famous sign in New Zealand, looking back at Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe and thunderstorms.

I often wondered where I’d end up on December 14th while walking the Te Araroa. I’m so happy to wake up in the Tongariro National Park – and to be packed and moving right before the rain revved up again.

Last night’s spot was perfect to look up the valley and watch the thunderstorms. But I literally turn a corner and glacier-covered Ruapehu reveals herself in all her grandeur, a small trail of fog circling like a boa. I saw her flat top all the way from Mt. Puerora days and days ago. The snow is fresh, white, gleaming against the blue gray of her folds. She’s in my sights as I negotiate a severely eroded trail – an accident waiting to happen.

hike blog

TA Day 46, Te Porere Redoubt to Mangatepopo track – 27 km

A happy Blissful under clear skies at Tongariro National Park.
A happy Blissful under clear skies at Tongariro National Park.

I’m up and packing at 3 am. Friends, there are stars out. Glory Hallelujah. Fingers crossed we make the crossing before the storms come. Dark gives way to gray splashed with orange, a long road walk and it begins.