A few weekends ago, I was able to take a trip up to one of New Zealand’s 10 great walks. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is said to be one of the most beautiful day hikes in the world. This hike lived up to its expectations.
I embarked on the hike at 6:00 a.m. with a group of 16 people from America, England and Germany. When we started the day there was little light and we watched the sun rise over the volcano, Mt. Ngauruhoe. This hike was made famous in The Hobbit, as the scenery was used to shoot some of the movie. The first part of the hike looked like another world. The plants surrounding us were unlike any I had ever seen. To me they looked like a coral reef on land. The air felt cleaner and smelled fresher than anywhere else I had been so far.
We reached the summit of the hike around three hours in after walking by the volcano and a strange desert-looking land. Once we reached the top, we could see the beautiful, bright green and blue Emerald Lakes. Their color comes from the sulfur in them. The crew stopped for a lunch break before we got a closer look at the lakes surrounding us. Then we continued on and the surroundings changed as we kept going. We passed some of the plants we originally saw at the start and by the end of the hike we were in a forest.
The hike took us eight hours in total and I logged 37,000 steps. The early wake up was definitely worth it. It was one of my favorite things I have done in New Zealand so far.
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<p>I am a biomedical engineering major and a studio art minor. I play field hockey for the University of Rochester and I love to exercise and be outdoors. If I'm not playing field hockey my exercise of choice is running, Crossfit, waterskiing, wakeboarding, skiing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and anything else that gets me outside.</p>