I left Palmerston with a bus to do a side trip to Mt. Taranaki, a free standing 2.518m high volcano on the west coast, which is not on the trail.

The bus dropped me off in Egmont Village and I started walking towards the mountain hoping for a ride. It was a 16km walk to the beginning of the park and my backup plan was to just pitch my tent in the forest if I would not make it. Nobody gave me a ride – I guess to many families traveling during Easter… Luckily there was a campsite half way and I decided to try to get a ride early in the morning. But the first clear view of the mountain was there:

  
Next morning a Czech guy and I got a lift directly from the campsite and at 8.30h I started the way up. The Dutch owner from the campsite gave me he tip to use an unmarked track on the western side which was supposed to be a lot nicer and with less scree. But – not to be used in foggy conditions!

 The clouds were hanging low and it was still nicely cold. I could feel the difference in weight of my pack since I left my tent pitched on the campsite with all I did not need for the climb. So I was flying up the mountain!

After a short while I reached the intersection to the unofficial trail.  

What can I say – I still did it ? And it was worth it! 

The clouds were still low and the ascent was great. Very much like the Killi (@ Pheily & Mr Newmann)   

     

After I joined the official part of the trail on the left hand side and roughly at the beginning of the scree field there was quiet a nasty part. Loose rocks in a steep slope – two steps up and 1.5 back. Was I glad to have my walking poles! After that the trail became rocky and it was a nice climb gaining a lot of altitude in a short time.  

The crater still holds a small snow and ice field. 

   
  
The last and final climb was steep again and a lot of loose scree. But once on the top the the view was fabolous! And I just made it on time – after 2:20h of climbing I reached the summit with blue sky and views before the clouds covered the mountain about one hour later.   

Tongario
    
  

  
I enjoyed the top, had a long break and my early lunch. And the. The clouds pushed in! Suddenly the view was almost zero, the temperature dropped and it got really wet. This is why people get in trouble in the mountains!

     

I started my descent and picked up a Dutch and a German girl who did not feel very comfortable going down. So I took the normal and marked route with them. There was so much moisture in the air – look at my beard ?  

What a beautiful mountain and worth the trip!
After I made it down I went to the campsite, took my tent down, a shower and tried to make my way back to Palmerston. Within three rides I was in Whanganui already but then it was just to dark for a serious chance of getting a ride. The last couple offered me to stay at their place in case au wouldn’t get a ride and picked me up again from the street. As always no comment ?

Left Whanganui early to organise my new shoes and to meet up with Anthony and Fiona today!

 

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