The last side trip in this area. After my Team NOBO friends left me yesterday (I miss you already ?) I pitched my tent right at the beginning of the trail and started out this morning – of course not without a good breakfast and a few flat whites in the one and only cafe.
The first 15km today were quite familiar to me since it had only been three days that I walked them. So I really just tried to push through them quickly. Ngauruhoe looked different today. No snow on the top anymore and covered in clouds.


My new shoes definitely have more grip and also a firmer sole. I can tell they have to be worn in a little bit. Let’s hope it doesn’t take to long.
I had a long break at the first hut since I got into an interesting chat with a father who accompanied a school class on an outdoor event. Since the days are getting shorter and shorter I had to go after sitting in the sun for almost two hours. The sign said four hours to the next hut and it was 2h – sunset before 6h already…
I had a quick stop at the Ohinepango Springs where I also spotted this couple of ducks. The spring just comes out of the ground with a lot of force feeding the river from the beginning with a lot of water at 4C!




And then I entered the desert part of this area. What a change in scenery from springs to desert. But what a beautiful view and contrast!



Sometimes there were little streams flowing down from Ruapehu.



The landscape was so different and fascinating I couldn’t stop taking pictures…




At the end I had to cross a last hazard zone where apparently three bridges had been washed away by the stream so far.



When I finally approached the hut I could smell smoke already – somebody must have been in the hut making the place nice and cosy for the night. And yes, Isaac a Korean and Chris a Kiwi were in the hut with a nice fire going in the fireplace. We chatted a while about life, relationships (quite interesting perspectives between a single German, an old married Korean and a mid-aged Kiwi in second marriage with three little kids… ?) and the generation which is supposed to come up for our retirement payments.