Saturday 24th February 2018, 1.15am, in the middle of the night at the North Egmont Visitors Centre. We started out on our mission with 10 people, prepared to hike to the summit of Mount Taranaki to watch the sunrise. If anyone knows the first part of the route up the translator track, then you will understand how this part, especially at this hour of the morning, unfortunately stopped three of our crew from continuing 😦
The rest of us went on to tackle the mountain. Through the rock covered hongi valley, up the steep stairs that feel like a never ending stair-master, up and across the evil scoria slopes to the rocky ‘lizard’ ridge, climbing up into the crater across the ice and the last little scramble up more scoria and rocks to the summit. It is a hard slog made even harder having only a head torch to see with.
We arrived at 6.05am! Minus 6 degrees and plenty of time to watch first light (Nautical Twilight) turn into sunrise, and the shadow that the mighty mountain cast across the land (clouds in our case).
…Breathtaking – the only way to describe it.
I’ve seen lots of sunrises and done lots of hiking, but this is, was, will always be, one of the most breathtaking moments in my life. It felt surreal, to be sitting on top of the mountain seeing the sun rise across the country, with a group of my friends.
Not just relying on our head torches to see anymore, we started our slow decent. Even with tired muscles we tackled the ‘evil scoria’ in a new way. On advice from a seasoned hiking veteran, we took a different route and were able to run down (felt like running on the moon). In the daylight some of the crew were blown away to see what we had actually climbed up! Turns out it was a blessing in disguise, not being able to see the track ahead!
What a day, what a view, what an achievement!
To all the crew – thanks for a great hike, all sticking together and helping me tick another item of my bucket list (and everyone’s bucket list).
than the silent balance
between yin and yang”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching