|OK, slowly but surely we're getting the hang of this. Pack, unpack, pack, unpack, then, pack and unpack some more. Shift a little. Stuff. Hook. Sling. You'd figure that we would become experts at packing the bags by now, but somehow nothing fits back together the way it was. It's like when I took apart a transistor radio when I was a kid. Maybe it's extra humidity or something I DON"T KNOW! Eventually, I'll find some technical reason to explain this perpetual backpacking problem. Well, maybe.
Today we did the Tongariro Crossing from a small (very) town called National Park in the centre of the North Island. This is the area where all of the Lord of the Rings films were made, and man, the place looks the part. So do I. I have been growing my Aragorn hair for many months now and I fit right in. The locals think there's a fourth movie. I smile and play my part and tell them it will be out soon. Hey, is that Peter Jackson? I hear he's trimmed down and gotten a shave...
I digress. The Ontario is just amazing, although, we did almost all 17 km in the fog today. Unfortunately we saw very little up close of what we were tempted with from the highway below as we rolled into town. Nevertheless, it was still spectacular. I've decided that New Zealand's summer is really winter (they're just tricking everyone) and that winter here is when they take everyone to the moon so it will be colder. That's why there's nobody here most of the time. They are always in transit. The sheep always stay behind though, so you always see them.
It's never really warm. The good part on the T crossing though is that we got the first test of all our cold weather gear - all that stuff that we were dragging around Fiji finally made sense to use. Most of the gear faired well, especially the new boots. They are great, and were ESSENTIAL. Can't say the same for the wash in waterproofing restorer for the Gortex. I think it worked - a little. Thumbs down on that movie. We will likely have to get our hands on some shmocks or garbage bags or something for the rainy bits. 17 km was a bit tough - too long really and a lot of it would be what I would call difficult" hiking over unstable volcanic terrain (well, it is a volcano) and if we could have seen the knife edges we were walking on we probably would have freaked!
We're heading off to Napier next to check out the Art Deco stuff.
See ya there