The weather keeps going that bad for almost a week, I know it is unpredictable but certainly I should plan ahead of this by checking the forecast. The whole way from Pipiriki to Raetihi I am riding in the rain, all my clothes and gears are WET. Once I arrive Raetihi to buy some food, the sun comes out and shine for an hour, then it hides again.
I am planning to do “The best one day trekking in NZ – Tongariro Alpine Crossing”, a 17km trek which pass through 2 volcanioes, Mt. Tongariro and Mt. Ngauruhoe (also known as Mt. Dome in The Lord of The Rings). Along the trek, you can see the craters and the famous Emerald Lakes in between mountains. You can also climb to both summits which takes you around 3 hours return for each one. If the weather is fine, I would definitely do it! People can obtain most update weather information in the i-site in National Park Village. The staff tells me tomorrow it will still rain, but less than today, and Saturday the sky will become clear. I don’t have much time to wait, but let’s see what would happen tomorrow.
Riding through the rocky Mangatepopo Road until the carpark, there are a number of campervans waiting as well. It is not allowed to camp there, actually I can hardly find a flat ground. Randomly I pick a place beside the carpark but definitely it is a wrong pick, the ground is full of rock and thin soil that one cannot put the tent firmly. I put rocks on the corners of the tent to try holding it and not being blown by the wind.
It is the worst night ever! Yes, I am camping under Mt. Dome like Frodo and Sam on the way to destroy the ring, and indeed it is as SCARY as them, the super strong wind try to blow over my tent, and I am worried the whole night that it would finally COLLAPSE! Thanks God it doesn’t collapse but it is miserable to stay inside awaken by the wind and rain.
The next morning wind and rain remain the same. I convince myself to wait until noon and decide if I should do the trek or not. Suddenly I hear someone saying: “Hello, is everything alright?”, I reply “Yes”, and he tells me he is just checking if I am still ALIVE! Haha, probably he sees my halfly destroyed tent and worries if he would find a frozen body inside…Thanks him anyways! I love my bulky -10 degree sleeping bag at the moment which keeps me warm.
Rain stops at around noon, I get out to go to toilet and see some other trekkers coming down. They tell me they see nothing because the clouds are too thick, totally disappointment! Therefore, I almost give up my hope to try walking the trail, my last hope is to cycle to Ketetahi carpark where the trail ends and see if I could do it the other way tomorrow. Therefore I follow State Highway 47, turn into 46, reach Ketetahi road, check the weather forecast and decide NOT to stay one more night as all my later schedule will be distorted.
It is such a pity that I don’t even see any of the 3 volcanoes, so if you are planning to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, WEATHER is a crucial factor, as bring enough clothes and trekking gears, a few trekkers did get injured or killed in this route.
I carry on passing Rangipo and reach Turangi, it is just a supply spot for me, after the shopping, I pedal a few more km until Lake Taupo and camp at the shore. It is always nice to sleep while listening to the tidal sound!
Day 28: Pipiriki to Parking at Mangatepopo road 76.8km
Day 29: Parking at Mangatepopo road to Turangi 44.7km