Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas and elation on top of a mountain

With Birthdays and an anniversary consuming pre-Christmas days, Christmas came and went so fast I think I almost missed it. Unfortunately the credit card bills and the endless receipts in my drawer are a constant reminder that something went on around mid December. I tried hard this year to get my children thinking of the real meaning of Christmas and also to think of others and somehow give to those less fortunate than themselves. A number of things came up like giving toys that we no longer played with (though all of a sudden 'we' played with a lot more)to those in need and giving our dinners that we didn't want to eat seemed a popular choice, however I did manage to get my children saying 'What I would like to get" instead of "What I'm getting" and to also look around at others and make them feel happy even if it was just a friendly smile and a Merry Christmas to a passer-by. I was very proud of their own little progress. On boxing day (the day after Christmas we packedc up and headed south to a region called Taranaki which was home to Mt Taranaki, a mountain that my Father-in-law and I decided was a great adventure and something we could do no sweat!!!!! We trained for about a month in the lead up and somehow convinced ourselves and our family that we were up for the challenge. I thought, 'sure I've done nothing for over a year, but hey I have three boys they keep me busy I'll be fine !!!!!!' anyway we were shocked to see such a beautiful and bloody huge mountain in front of us as we arrived at our destination, that was Sat evening just in time to quickly set up the tent (a very cool big tent that actually fits us all in and you can even stand straight up in) Sunday we drove up to the visitor centre and got a closer look, though the mountain was shy and hid himself in the clouds for the most part. We went back into to New Plymoth and hit a hiking store to grab some new items that we now decided we HAD to have and quietly sweated, all the while thinking I hope i can keep up with the other one. 6.30am rolled around very quickly and we found ourselves at the visitor centre carpark pondering whether the questionable weather would hold up and were asked if we wanted to postpone til the next day NO!!!! I could not imagine having to mentally prepare again for the next day so off we went two unaware little creatures setting out on a fabulous adventure. Our guide and one other companion who was even more mentally unprepared joined us on our way to the summit which was 2518m high. It trully was amazing and to be totally honest the ascend was not even that bad, we made good time and had a great time getting there Step grasses sections followed by steep scoria then steep rocky paths that lead to more steep rocky paths that carried up the hill til we reached another very steep rocky climb this led us into the crater that was still covered in snow. We donned crampons and carried ice axes (what were we doing?????) I hadn't even held an iceaxe before now and crampons were for serious snow climbs. Once we trekked over the crater we had to ascend a very steep snowy face and it was only then when there was no more land above us did we see and clamber upon the summit. I think we technically stood on a rock next to the summit due to the Maori peoples belief that the summit is actually a sacred site. In respect to that our guide let us touch the 'actual summit rock however we stood on a rock next to it. The descend was alot more harrowing down very steep rock faces and more rocks and the horrid very unstable scoria where I believe if you could ski well would not be an issue but it bothered me that I had to nearly run face foward done this slippery dirt/rock face all the while dodging big rocks that weren't going to move for you. Despite the hardwork the scenery was magnificent and I recommend it to everyone. We managed the 10km trek up and back well in under 11 hours and it was only the last leg of the journey (maybe 4kms) that we all were physically challenged taking step by step down the track just managing to keep our jelly legs upright. Exhausted but elated we drove home to share our story. I am proud of my father-in-law and myself and have a new sense of just what can be achieved if you just start the journey. I am posting some pics so you can see just what I am talking about


JO said...

That is fantastic!! What an accomplishment. Thanks for posting the pictures, I love them.

Gabrielle said...

AMAZING pics!! So happy for you and your f-i-l.And you did this Without KIDS??Good for you! Did the fam travel with you and remain at the bottom?Miss you tons and happy to see your shining face today:) Hugs, Gibs