Sunrise at the Crossing
A few years back, my cousin Rachel and I conquered The Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
This weekend, we returned back to re-do one of the great walks of New Zealand, but this time we wanted to see it in a whole new light.
At 9.30pm on Friday night we left Auckland, south-bound. Staying awake with the help of coffee, custard donuts and 90's pop music, we drove through the darkness to the deserted Tongariro National Park.
At 2.30am we bundled up in thermals and braced the cold, beginning walk through the Mangatepopo under the light of the full moon. It was different doing the track this time as there were no signs of other people on the track and our echoes rung through the silent valley that surrounded us.
At 5 am, the sky turned an intense hue of dark orange. As we reached higher ground, we began to see a sea of clouds rolling through the valley below us. Onwards and upwards, we kept climbing as the sun rose, giving pink and purple tinges to the mountains around us. Thermal steam danced around the volcanic terrain and we slid town scree smothered slopes towards the most beautiful coloured pools.
We reached the Mangatepopo carpark, shattered, sleepy and starving. Was it worth it for views like these? .... HECK YES!