If you haven’t done so, you can read Bridget Jones does the Tongariro Part 1 here.
7.45am – Embarking on the devil’s staircase/slippery slope of death
Am about to climb a right-angle complete with treacherous ice. It is clearly designed to slaughter the clumsy members of the human race (ie. me). Think I might die as I am not wearing crumpets (or whatever they’re called) on my shoes and I have no walking sticks.
Have managed to do a pretty nifty video of me walking though. Always good to have artsy videos for Instagram. Am the next Bear Grills, after all.
Was just tottering along with my camera making very astute David Attenborough-esque commentary, imagining my glittering future career as journalist and film maker, when I stumbled on an icy rock. Fell flat on my arse.
I swear I heard my frozen fat crack.
The only blessing is that there is no one around to witness such a mortifying occurrence.
My arse hurts. I wonder if it is appropriate to have a fag whilst trekking? After all, it would be medicinal (to distract me from the pain).
Have lit medicinal cigarette and resumed walking. I decided that given the circumstances and the lack of judgmental human company, having one small ciggie to keep me going with this journey is perfectly justifiable.
Oh, thank you! It took a million years but have finally reached the top of the awful stairs and slope.
Had to stand at the top and marvel at the view for a few moments. There’s no one in sight for miles. Feel like an intrepid explorer on a quest of self-discovery.
I am not sure about the etiquette of smoking in the Great Outdoors so have created a cigarette butt zip-lock doggie bag.
But no. It gets worse. There is actually a smooth and steep slope made of nothing but snow and ice.
The world hates me.
Cannot even take photos as am too busy trying not to die.
I am smoking another tactical fag whilst I work out my next move.
Have worked out an almost-fool-proof plan: if I step into the foot holes trodden into the snow by the early bird hikers then I won’t step onto the fresh snow that suddenly gives way, leaving me waist-deep in the cold, wet powder.
I am a genius trekker, though certainly one with a slight limp from falling over.
I can’t believe it.
I was just pausing for a small break when someone suddenly appeared. He is now almost level with me. Where the hell did he come from and how on earth did he catch up with me so fast?
He is clearly German – cannot tell you how I know (must be my backpacker senses).
I just had to squint to be sure, but the fool is wearing shorts in minus temperatures and a singlet.
Lordy, Mr half-naked German has overtaken me. He is streaking ahead in his heavy-duty trekking boots. Cannot work out whether he has crumpets on or not.
Am so happy – Lord of the Ring’s Mount Doom is in view. It is right there! Right there!
Can feel my twelve year old self jumping up and down for joy. Am glad that there are no other adults around to witness my childish, nerdish excitement.
This is why I am single.
9.15am – At Mount Doom.
Have stopped to take photos. Half-naked German has already got his snaps and is preparing to hare off further along the track. Lord knows, he has to keep moving or his half-naked body will freeze.
I am about to self-consciously take my elf ears out of my raincoat pocket and pop them onto the tips of my ears. Am aware that I look like a incorrigible LOTR super fan and crazy person – especially as am walking alone without fellow supporters – but looking like an elf at Mount Doom is more important than self-respect.
Have donned the elf ears and am now approaching a lone ginger-haired Irishman who is already at Mount Doom’s base to take a beautiful picture of me in all my elf-eared glory.
I feel so awkward posing and I am sucking my belly in so hard – I think I am breaking my insides.
The Irishman laughed at me, but he apparently understands my Elvish ways as he (perhaps stupidly) thinks my humour is brilliant.
It’s nice to know that there are still some fools in this world. Hurrah, perhaps there is hope for me yet – my mother will be pleased.
Mr Ginger (ie. the Irishman) and I continued walking together. We have been having great discussions about the great outdoors and so forth. Well, he talks about his vocational outdoors and environmental course and I grunt incoherently as I pretend to know what he is talking about.
We walked across a flat snow-covered basin in between the mountains. It really does feel as though we are in the midst of another world. The snow makes everything feel fresh and clean and new.
I am a lazy lady reborn.
I was in the middle of pretending that I walk up mountains all the time to my Irishman when we came up to the steepest incline of all time.
The path was nothing but a mass of snow and ice, and I could not see where on earth a footing was to be found on the bloody thing.
I found myself quite literally on all fours, spider-crawling up a mountain side, arse stuck out to the cold air.
Mr Ginger laughed at me and had to climb back down to get me as I could not move without falling back down the mountainside. I was in the middle of a pool of ice, all hands and feet flat on the ground, arse still protruding out into the sky, no crumpets on my feet.
I am sure that my butt looked like an overly-large flag for stupidity.
“You don’t actually ever hike on mountains do you?” he asked as he took my hand.
“Er, no,” I admitted.
Hurrah! We have reached the top!
Can finally see the awesome lakes below in front of us and survey the incredible sight that is Mount Doom rising behind us. The lakes are these gorgeous pools of bright turquoise water. I cannot tell you how beautiful the sight looks.
There are mountains all around us. For some reason, most likely because of my family’s watching endless re-runs of Lord of the Rings, I only think of Bilbo saying, “I want to see mountains, Gandalf, mountains!” Because here I am, Ms Attenborough, with nothing but snow-capped mountains flanking me on either side.
I can see half-naked German gallivanting around down there by the lakes. Not too sure what he’s doing in his short shorts…
Mr Ginger descended the other side of the mountain at a rapid rate, using the loose rocks to slide down quickly and efficiently.
I sat on my arse and rolled down on the rocks.
It was only half-way down that I realised that I still had my elf ears on.
After staring at the beautiful turquoise pools, Mr Ginger and I walked to the Blue Lake before settling beside the water for a civilized picnic and rest.
The water is so dark that it is a pure navy blue colour with a pristine reflection of the sky and the clouds. Am literally sitting in the middle of a perfect winter wonderland.
Neither I nor my new friend can believe how breathtaking the scenery is.
I have taken a million pictures for my Instagram and am writing this as a an accurate record of all that is occurring on this marvellous and unprecedented adventure. I can already see the million filters that I will be using to make them look Instagram-worthy.
As we sit munching on our sandwiches, I can see the crowds that were building behind us spill past us. Literally hundreds of people are walking along the flat ground sporting their heavy-duty raincoats and hats, pom-poms bobbing in the late morning sunshine, stabbing their walking sticks into the ground.
Cannot believe the volume of people walking the trek, especially as it is now off-season.
My Ginger and I have been dawdling as my bus is not due to pick me up until 3pm and it will only take me a few hours to complete the rest of the trek.
Cannot believe everyone told me that this trek would take 8 hours or more: I am a slow-paced snail with a shell of lard, and it still does not take 8 hours.
Now that I am full on my nutritious lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and cereal bars (am starting to feel that perhaps my lack of housewifely abilities is possibly a big reason as to why I am still single), I am ready to continue onwards.
Hurrah, can see Melanie and John from the bus. Melanie looks thrilled with the state of affairs and John is patiently holding bag for her. They look very professional with their walking sticks. I am glad to see them – it is nice to have company on these lone hikes.
Mr Ginger is heading back the way we came as he wants to climb Mount Tongariro, because he is a crazy Irish fool. So we bid one another a fond farewell and part ways.
Suddenly realize I am desperate for a pee but there is nowhere to go. Everywhere is an open space covered in pure white space and there are still crowds of people milling around.
Oh, dear. Am literally about to wet my pants. Literally. Far too literally for comfort.