When I suggested to my family that we walk the Tongariro Crossing in October this time last year, I didn’t think there would be snow around. I actually never considered it. As it turned out there was fresh powder on the track and even snowed a few times throughout the day! It was a day of family adventure and we all absolutely loved it.
Whilst it was a year ago my cousins (and Facebook) reminded me over the weekend what a special adventure it was. Doing it together was epic. The Tongariro Crossing is a must do. 19.4km of spectacular scenery and New Zealand at its best. Being with my loved ones whilst conquering the famous track made it even more memorable. There is a magical feeling being out in such beautiful surroundings with your loved ones. Add in some snowfall interspersed with sunshine made for a memorable day.
A couple of my cousins had completed The Crossing before but for the majority of our group this kind of adventure was new. A chance to stretch the comfort zone and stretch the legs courtesy of the Devil’s Staircase and other landmarks along the way. There was certainly a mix of excitement and nerves leading into the day. Everyone prepared well for our goal and had the right gear. We were not short of snacks or lunch (Samoans don’t generally go hungry!).
The weather reports leading up to the day did not help calm the nerves with predicted wind gusts of 65km/h up on the red crater. Having done The Crossing twice before but once with horrendous wind gusts on the ridge up to the summit. We certainly wouldn’t have risked dangerous weather conditions having anyone blowing off the mountain. Our lovely bus driver Karehana wisely said as he dropped us at the start of the track “if you need to turn back do, the mountain will always be there”. Fortunately the wind did not come and we smashed out The Crossing with no casualties (except for one iphone). Due to the weather there was hardly anyone on the track – benefits of being crazy enough to go it when it’s tough.
Our cousin adventure was not about breaking records but crossing new ground together active as a family. Being together in the environment smashing out one of the Lonely Planet’s must-do’s in NZ created a tremendous sense of achievement. As tried (and relieved) as everyone was getting back into the van back to our accomodation we were all stoked. It’s a long day on your feet but its funny what you can achieve as a family unit when you have a goal in front of you. I could not have been prouder of everyone.
A year on today I still feel the same sense of pride. This weekend was one of my highlights from last year. Seeing one of cousins making snow angels on the mountain, the realisation of accomplishing something significant and the satisfying feeling of fatigue was perfect. We are lucky to have a family who get after life and support each other in doing the same. Being able to support everyone through the day and the lead up was super cool. It was motivating to me to see everyone so keen to get after it. I highly recommend ticking off The Crossing soon or any walk really with your loved ones…I’m sure my cousins would too (maybe just not in the snow)