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Here it is! Our tramping tale of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing amongst the volcanic giants in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand.

We never imagined to encounter this deeply dry, volcanic and sulphuric landscape in New Zealand. We always think of majestic mountains with beautiful views of the water, streams and oceans beneath. This was a new view of the country!

The Crossing spans the length of the active volcano Mount Tongariro and runs next to another active cone Mount Ngauruhoe, famously known as Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings. It's pretty intimidating in person, too!

In all honesty, the day was bizarre! We felt like we were in lines at Disney World or Ikea, only on a volcano. The hike was a slow, single file line of thousands of trampers navigating the Crossing one after another. We were a tiny pair in what seemed like four thousand. We had to stay strategic, though, to remain ahead of hundreds of teenage girls on their adventure camp's culminating trip. Ah! It was a hilariously different hiking in nature experience with the girls' blasting speakers following us for the climb. " Too hot... too hot...'Cause Uptown Funk gon' give it to you. Saturday night and we in the spot. Don't believe me just watch!" Ow!

 Beautiful day for a hike! Mount Doom showing it's composite-cone-self above.

Beautiful day for a hike! Mount Doom showing it's composite-cone-self above.

 Here we go! Mount Doom straight ahead!

Here we go! Mount Doom straight ahead!

 What?! We ran into our friend Alister who we met a month earlier on the Pinnacles hike. This country is a small world!

What?! We ran into our friend Alister who we met a month earlier on the Pinnacles hike. This country is a small world!

 The smell of sulphur permeated the air. Nausea building...

The smell of sulphur permeated the air. Nausea building...

 Going up and up in a world of desolate rocks!

Going up and up in a world of desolate rocks!

 What a dag!

What a dag!

 The looming Mt. Doom was working the camera all day!

The looming Mt. Doom was working the camera all day!

 Work it...

Work it...

 Plateau before the summit. 

Plateau before the summit. 

 What I imagine the moon like- dry, dusty, lifeless. 

What I imagine the moon like- dry, dusty, lifeless. 

 Can't stop staring. It was like finally looking at the volcano we saw in our school books. 

Can't stop staring. It was like finally looking at the volcano we saw in our school books. 

 Hit a saddle and could see the other side of the mountain. 

Hit a saddle and could see the other side of the mountain. 

 Now, just straight to the top. 

Now, just straight to the top. 

 View at the summit looking back at all the steps we'd covered. 

View at the summit looking back at all the steps we'd covered. 

 View of the way down. 

View of the way down. 

 Away we go skiing down! The blue lakes were just stunning!

Away we go skiing down! The blue lakes were just stunning!

 Aren't they?

Aren't they?

 The sulphur smell still building...

The sulphur smell still building...

 The colors were so brilliant!

The colors were so brilliant!

 So pumped!

So pumped!

 The view looking back at the volcano. Looks like the top blew right off!

The view looking back at the volcano. Looks like the top blew right off!

 See the dark black area? Recent lava flow... crazy! Right?

See the dark black area? Recent lava flow... crazy! Right?

 Last of the blue lakes. 

Last of the blue lakes. 

 Made it to the other side of the mountain with no eruptions in sight! All down hill from here. 

Made it to the other side of the mountain with no eruptions in sight! All down hill from here. 

 The volcanoes are still steaming. An eruption could happen any time.... but not today! Thankfully!

The volcanoes are still steaming. An eruption could happen any time.... but not today! Thankfully!

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