Tim & Anja's New Zealand Adventure travel blog

Our 'boxed' accomodation before our hike

the beginning- notice, that we're relatively dry

The view from the top of Devil's Staircase

Tim in front of the Emerald Lakes- behold the fog!!

What the Emerald Lakes should have looked like- sorry for the blur-...

Another idea of what it should have looked like- check google out...

Getting close to lunch- and below the fog

Look- there's a view now!!

Thermal activity

What weather do you prefer for a nice, long, rewarding hike? We bet never in a million years would you pick the atrocious conditions we experienced today. I suppose it could have been colder, but no way could it have rained more. What a wet day!!!

And it's not like we didn't plan for it. We checked the forecast, we even got on the bus to be dropped off at the start when it was raining, and we knew it was unlikely to stop. You see, this was the day we planned to go, so it was now or never. We bundled up the best we could, but mother nature just got the best of us.

We still had a good time, but honestly we're disappointed we didn't get to see the amazing views we had read and heard so much about. This was supposed to be THE best one day walk in New Zealand. Three active volcanoes, glacial valleys, lava flows and stunning vistas. Good thing they invented postcards!!!

As you can see, we swiped some pics from google to give you an impression of what we missed. We thought the elevation was pretty impressive, about 6,200 feet was the highest we reached, and we started at about 3,700 and ended at about 2,900. All together, we walked 17 km and it took us a good 6 hours, four in the morning from 8 to 12, a break inside that was warm and dry for lunch, then 2 hours back down to the bus pick up area. And wouldn't you know it, by the time we reached the bottom, the sun was out!

We were supposed to walk through two craters, the red and south, and view some impressive caribbean blue emerald lakes (a group of water filled explosion craters), but yep, you guessed it, we saw fog!!! The tramp is rated as fairly easy, and despite the weather, most of the walk wasn't too bad, except for a super strenuous uphill section called the devil's staircase. After reaching the red crater (the highest point of the day) it was fun to kind of slide down the gravel for a bit, which in our case was practically mud.

An odd thing we couldn't help but notice was that even though the weather was bad, the bus in the morning was full (about 35 people) and we saw other hikers on the trail all day. It was as if the weather was no big deal and almost everyone was rather chipper!! And we saw people of all ages, from 20-somethings to 60-something probably. Amazingly, we met a fellow Vermonter on the top- near the red crater. He came from Sharon, VT and was heading on his way home from two years in the Peace Corps in Tonga. We had a nice chat with him and chuckled about how coincidental it was to meet a Vermonter on the top of a volcano in New Zealand. But, this one urked both of us- after ending the hike and waiting for the bus, we saw lots of people light up a cigarette and smoke!!! How can they do that???

There will certainly be more hikes in our future, next time maybe we should do a rain dance and cross our fingers!

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