October 8, 2022
Departure from Ketatahi
I arrived around sunrise at an empty Ketatahi Park and Ride. Several other hikers pulled in as I waited for our 7 am shuttle to Mangatepopo trailhead. But the massive car park would remain largely empty throughout the day. Early October was hardly “high season” for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. And shuttle service was still fairly limited.
Continue reading “Tongariro Alpine Crossing”
October 7, 2022
A Haunting Landscape
Reluctantly, I left my cozy hotel in Martinborough, speeding off down country roads toward the coast. I drove through rolling, lush farmland, dotted with trees and fluffy white sheep. New Zealand’s North Island had reached full-blown spring. The route grew windy (as in winding), as I dropped towards the coast. It also grew windy (as in blustery).
Continue reading “Pūtangirua Pinnacles (The Paths of the Dead)”
October 3, 2022
Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
I woke up bright and early for a sunrise (ish) hike in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. By now, I had spent the better part of a week soaking in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. I flew into Queenstown and worked my way north, including a sunset hike near Mount Cook the evening prior. But these tall, rugged, glacier-clad peaks continued to feel nothing short of stunning.
Continue reading “Sealy Tarns Track”
October 2, 2022
I drove towards Mount Cook Village on a breathtaking, sunny day in early October. For nearly 20 miles, Aoraki/Mt Cook loomed over the landscape as I continued along the shores of Lake Pukaki. At one point I stopped to soak in the views. Not a trace of snow remained along the lakeshore and in the valleys. But permanent glaciers covered Mt Cook.
Continue reading “Hooker Valley Track (Aoraki/Mt Cook NP)”
October 2, 2022
I was a long way from home. 7,879 miles, to be exact. Strange stars covered the sky as I drove along the darkened lake shores. Before too long, I arrived at a small dirt parking area for the Isthmus Peak Track.
Continue reading “Isthmus Peak Track”