What is it about mountains, majestically towering in the sky and often dusted with a layer of snow, that is so seductively irresistible? Whatever their attraction, I simply cannot avoid the urge to wander into the mountains. It’s like I’m gravitationally drawn towards them. Whenever I see a mountain, I get this uncontrollable need to go there, to be amongst the peaks, on the top, to be part of, even if its just a small blip in, their greatness.
On a recent business trip to Auckland, we decided to make a quick stop on the way back just off the Desert Road to wander towards Mt Ruapehu and the nearest hut, Waihohonu, on the Northern Circuit Great Walk Track.
The weather was miserable, it was raining and misty, completely covering the mountain. My only consolation was that I knew it was there, with Mt Ngauruhoe by its side. I could feel their presence. Walking on the wet and muddy footpath, I was again in awe of the vast network of trails that we have available. Everywhere you go, you’ll find some or other walkway.
We knew we were nearing the hut when we could smell the wood burning from the fire place. Reaching the hut after 5.5km, the sky was already turning darker, so without fussing about, we turned around as droves of trampers were making their way to the shelter and warmth of the hut. It can host 28 people and being a very popular great walk it is no surprise to get what looked like a full house on an arbitrary time of the month in the middle of the week.
We had a flashlight just in case we didn’t make it back in time, but luckily it wasn’t needed. It was terribly cold, windy and rainy and we never saw the mountain, but just knowing it was right next to me, was enough of a treat on the eve of my birthday.
Some pics of our 11km round trip: