Sunday, April 25, 2010

Taranaki: This Makes 3 Mountains in 5 Days

Back in New Plymouth at the library.  Two days ago, after sitting right here, we went to the North Egmont Visitors' Center, packed our bags, parked the van, and hiked in to the Maketawa Hut.  The New Zealand Department of Conservation maintains hundreds of backcountry huts, which are very convenient for hikers and trampers.  This was my first night in a DOC hut with my brand new, shiny backcountry hut pass.

thumbs up!  DOC hut!

At first, I wasn't sure if we'd get to climb Taranaki, due to the clouds covering the mountain.  But when we woke up in the morning, the summit was clear, so we decided to give it a try.

whoa...  that shit is STEEP

First the track takes you up a steep road to an alpine club hut.  Then it climbs through a little gorge to a series of stairs.  From the stairs, you drop out onto the scoria slopes (steep slopes covered in gravel and sand).  Last, you climb a steep, old lava flow nicknamed "The Lizard" in a long scramble to the top.  At the top, you cross an ice- and snow-covered crater to get to the true summit.  Except we didn't stand on the true summit, as it has religious significance for the Maori.

above the clouds :-)

After getting my butt handed to me by Ruapeho, I was so happy that this day went well.  The climb is steep and strenuous, but it's definitely "do-able" by mere mortals, like myself.  The hike rises 1.6 km--one vertical mile--in about 5 km (~3 miles).  I've now climbed the three major peaks on the North Island in the span of five days.

Here are the rest of the pictures from the day:

We're going to head toward Wellington later today, then on to the South Island and all of the wonderful hiking and tramping there!  I've written a few posts to automatically post over the next week or two, but maybe we'll find another public library soon.  Until then...  onwards and upwards!

1 comment:

  1. Love the picture with you above the clouds. I would like to get a print of the picture. How can you send it to me so I can print it out? Dave and you are seeing more of New Zealand than half the population that has lived there all their lives!
    Safe journeys, Love Mummers xo