Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mt Ruapehu - Mt Doom

I hate driving on The Desert Road.  I dislike the tight corners, and I always seem to be caught on it in the worst weather.  Once the rain was so heavy I couldn't see past the bonnet of my car.  Another time, the fog was so dense I couldn't see past the bonnet of my car (get the idea how bad The Desert Road is?).  I've been over it immediately post-winter when snow ploughs have been there just prior to me.  I'd never touched snow, so got out of the car and threw a snowball.   I would never ever travel on the road in July and August, even if you paid me.... well, maybe if you paid me, but it would have to be heaps. 
Goodness, I'm such a wimp.

When I travelled past Mt Ruapehu along The Desert Road a couple of weeks ago (both to-ing and fro-ing), I couldn't even tell the mountains - Ruapehu, Tongariro, Ngarahoe - were there.  The clouds and drizzle were bad.  The Desert Road is at a very high point and is usually cold, even in summer.  It is desolate and there are notices everywhere warning people not to pick up live shells and about wandering around because the army base is right at the beginning of The Desert Road and the guys are always out doing exercises.

Here's a pic I took last year, from The Desert Road, of Mt Ruapehu.

Mt Ruapehu was "Mt Doom' in the 'Lord of the Rings" trilogy.  The actors were filming on the mountain for quite some time

There is a tourist walk called The Tongariro Crossing but so many tourists under-estimate it, and just set off for the day walk wearing jandals (flip-flops or thongs, depending on which country you're from) and shorts, with virtually no water or warm clothes.  The bad weather can close in very fast on the mountains. 
The tourist companies from roundabouts, ie, Taupo, Ohakune, wherever, get blamed for not emphasising how bad the walk is.  The buses drop off walkers at the mountains,  and leave them to it.

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