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Tuesday – The Tongariro Alpine Crossing

I think we can safely say that some of us weren’t quite fit enough to be doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Peter and I were slow on the “up” bits (and there are a lot of them!). Kerrie was scared on the “high” bits; Sherry held her hand all the way and was an absolute angel. Peter and I just followed in their footsteps in the slushy snow; despite falling, we managed to *not* slide down the slope of the North Crater.

We did ok for old people, however – especially as the track had not been compacted after the winter and was in very poor condition. It’s lucky I took a torch, as we did the last few kilometres in total darkness – it’s a long way down many, many steps from Ketetahi Hut to the carpark, through dense forest. We contemplated staying at the hut, but decided we could get out ok.

Poor Bruce did a lot of running up hill that day. Earlier he had run up the ridge that leads to the Red Crater; he was checking out how far it was to see if Ariane and the kids should continue (wisely, they turned back; that was still a very long walk for them). Then, in the evening, he ran from the carpark up towards Ketetahi Hut to meet us coming out. Sherry and Bruce did a wonderful job of leading Peter, Kerrie and myself out in the dark (James and Ophelia were already long back at the carpark and had been able to tell him that we had made it at least as far as Ketetahi Hut).

Although Bruce is by far the fittest of the siblings, he suffered the most. It’s amazing that Peter and I were quite capable of walking around Rotorua the next day.