The next day, the 'rents shipped out to Queenstown, and on the other end of the country the entire Pacific Program piled on to 2 separate buses. The red bus, which is clearly the superior bus, was full of all the non BIO 2100 students (and thus Davis and I) and the yellow bus had a lovely ride with our fearless leader and sometimes dictator, David Garton. I was awake for about 7 minutes total on the 5 hour ride, while the yellow bus received a lecture from DG (nickname credits to Davis, which has now been adopted by the whole program) every 15 minutes, just to make sure that everyone stayed awake. But after a long ride and stop at the Tangiwai Rail Disaster Memorial Site, we arrived in Taupo to our "luxury" accommodations.
|The Memorial for the Rail Disaster|
After an evening of more good food (aka not Weir House food) we woke up at 7am to head to out on our guided hike to the Tama Lakes. Our guide, Daryl, was a part of local Moari tribe in the Taupo region, so he had lots of insights about the land scape around us as we trekked from the Whakapapa Ski Field to the base of Mt. Ngauruhoe. He told of Moari legends about how the volcanos had souls, and walked around to find a husband or wife, Tongariro being the biggest and most significant to their traditions. He also told us of Tama, one of the first of the Moari leaders to land on the North Island in his Waka (war canoe). The hike was gorgeous, with amazing waterfalls and pure blue lakes at the base of some of the coolest volcanoes you can imagine.
|Davis and I at Taranaki Falls|
|Lower Tama Lake|
|Upper Tama Lake|
Davis dropped me off at the base of Ruapehu around noon, and I set off to summit the beast. Mt. Ruapehu is the tallest Volcano in New Zealand as well as being the most active in recent history. The last major eruption was in 1995, with the most recent being in 2007. The hike begins with a ride on a ski lift from 1000m to 2020m, then a climb up a marked trail to 2300m, and a final rock scrambling accent to 2732m to Te Heuheu. Once you hit the summit, its a scenic walk on the crater ridge lines around the Plateu Glacier to Crater Lake, a body of water that has formed in the mouth of the volcano. Heres the pictures detailing my accent. Keep in mind, I was by myself, so most of the pictures are awkward self timer shots...
|Lunch stop at beginning of unmarked trail|
|Summit (Mt. Ngauruhoe in the background)|
|Summit Plateau Glacier |
(if you look closely at the right skyline, you'll see Mt. Taranaki)
|Crater Lake again|
|Beginning the windy descent|
The hike was absolutely amazing. It was one of two times I've ever seen something that was so beautiful, it quite literally took my breathe away and almost brought me to tears (the other being the finish line in Louisville). I'd recommend anyone who comes to NZ do this climb. It'll change your life.
Davis here! So after I dropped off Evan at the Ski lifts I was back in the car to get Hailey back in Taupo to go fly fishing. I grabbed Hailey and a bite of lunch and we stopped into the local fly shop to ask for some advice.
|Our "Hamster Ball" looking as cool as it ever will|
|Hailey's first awesome rainbow around 22"|
|This one was around 24" and starting to get a little spawning hooked nose|