or “The black land of Mordor”
OK, whoever doesn’t like or even know J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” saga will probably have a hard time enjoying this particular post … but who are we kidding my precious? There surely isn’t any such person out there, right? RIGHT!
PROLOGUE The closer we got to Mordor, the more we were struggling to understand why those two hobbits had such a hard time finding the place. The roads are all fairly good and signs could be found all along the way. And seriously, who is getting fooled by that lame disguise of calling it ‘Tongariro National Park’ instead of Mordor? Duh! Did they smoke too much weed from Old Toby?
There are even maps describing the journey there and back again:
So on a sunny Tuesday morning at 7:00 am (!!!) we left the dark and freezing Whakapaka village camp ground and began our challenge of Mordor and Mount Doom!
KM 0.0 Sauron must have forgotten to pay his volcano power bills this week and Mordor felt surprisingly chilly in the morning.
KM 2.0 The first section of the treck rises fairly steep, but offers beautiful scenic views and was not gloomy or frightening at all!
KM 4.0 Orks were swarming all over the mountain and are blocking our path! Thank god hobbit-Gandalf was there to save the day.
KM 6.4 We finally arrived at the foot of the fiery mountain and after a short break began the tiresome climb on volcanic ash and sand: for every step up it felt like you slide two steps back down again. After about an hour of panting and sliding we managed to get approximately halfway up and faced the full wrath of … no not Sauron or hot lava flows but of below zero wind chills and Bea’s fear of heights and the steep walk back. And since Sauron didn’t seem to be home and we couldn’t find the entrance to the core of the mountain either we abandoned our original plans to climb all the way to the summit. Hey, those hobbits didn’t climb all the way up either and they were not even planning to hike another 13 km on that same day. By this point we were secretly hoping for some eagles to pick us up as well, but had to continue on our own sore foot when none showed up.
KM 7.0 The hobbits had already left on their Eagle Air return trip while we were still trotting across South Crater, leaving Mount Doom behind us.
KM 8.0 Kiwis just don’t have a human sense of temperatures! While we were wrapped in every jacket we brought for the exhausting climb to Red Crater some Kiwi girls passed us in shorts and tank tops: BRRRRRRR. Must be some weird hobbit-dwarf crossbreed that is resistant to the cold! Apart from our burning legs and knees it felt like we were slowly turning into icicles when we finally reached the summit at Red Crater.
KM 9.0 The breathtaking view of Emerald Lakes was the hard earned reward on the other side of Red Crater, where everybody was stumbling and sliding down a narrow ash and gravel path (well everybody except the pour souls who we’re walking the Mordor crossing in the other direction and had to climb that section UP).
KM 10.0 Central Crater and Blue Lake and there was just no end to our journey.
KM 11ish Oha! Apparently we’ve been looking in the wrong place for an entrance to the volcanic heart of Mount Doom. What a shame that Sauron has a deal with the local Maori tribe who prohibit travellers from entering this area … we suspect the Maori might be Orks in disguise!
KM ‘we don’t care any more – our feet hurt!’ … and then all that was left was the never ending way descending on the other side of the mountains! “Are we there yet?”
Back to Camp And just when we were on the way back to our camp and thought that everything was over, clouds came rolling in from the horizon covering the mountains in a thick blanket. Apparently Sauron had just returned from a day out on the beach or somewhere. At this point we couldn’t be too bothered any more and rather tended to our sore feet getting ready for another ice cold night at the dark Forrest camp ground in Whakapaka.
Sauron must have had a busy night and a bad hangover because Mount Doom was completely hidden in grey fog. We shall definitely return to this place and next time we will climb to the summit of that bloody mountain!