This officially my first post of NZ experiences in 2017, stretching until January 5th.
So, continuing from Whakapapa around Mt Ruapeho, which also was used as scenery of Mordor with its black and jagged rocks, gave us the opportunity to experience seven wonders and an equal amount of weather conditions in half as many days. Now do that math..
Anyway, first day gave us drizzling rain and mist amongst bogs, lichen, conifer trees and rolling hills. I would imagine that this is roughly how Scotland looks like. Amazing day.
Slept in a crammed hut that night, met some northbounding TA hikers from Texas, also doing the round the mountain track.
Second day started as a misty and wet one, but around noon the mist lifted like when you take the lid of a pot of boiling water and the mountain we walked around appeared in all its glory. We walked this day in an gorgeous landscape that reminded me of Sweden, with snowmelt waterfalls and steep black cliffy ravines. Met a yoga teacher at our lunch stop and had yoga for dessert. Tasted sweet for a stiff hiker body. Skinny dipped in a meltwater waterfall, maximizing the shrinkage.
Third day we entered the desert. And deserts are supposed to be hot and dry, right? The Rangipo desert is usually dry, but not so hot. On this day not so dry either. We entered a rain storm, probably my first one ever, definitely in a desert.. Cool and humbling experience. Half my pack was soaked since the pack cover was blown aside, even though it was strapped thoroughly onto my pack. At one point I needed to stop behind a rock because the wind belted rain in my face so hard that it was impossible to see or breath. Taking a couple of blind steps at the time through that spot was the only way forward. Ended in Rangipo hut, after a staggering 9km, with the Texans and a good warm fire used to to dry out gear and regain the recognition of extremities.
The Orch army scenes outside of the gates of Mordor is recorded in Rangipo desert, quite fitting place for those recordings on a non stormy day.
Next morning all the clouds were gone and we experienced an amazing sunset. This was actually closer to a 'desert day', surprisingly dry after yesterday's rainstorm but still pretty cool, estimated 11-13°.
Barren landscape with the black and white beauty Ruapeho to the left and the spread out sand'n'skree landscape to the right, only interrupted by some stunted shrubs and eventually the Kaimanawa ranges in the far distance. Shear beauty.
I ended my desert experience with a cool dip close to the Ohinepango springs. Estimated below 10°, shock may be visible on picture below..