It’s been a while since I posted! I’m not as attached to social media as I probably should be to be a proper blogger! There is so much to catch up on, and I feel the only way to do this to give all my experiences the attention they deserve is to break up my travels into a series of blog posts!

This blog post will cover seeing the beautiful Tongariro!

So on one of the first weekend’s here in New Zealand, a few friends and I decided to journey across what is known to be New Zealand’s (and subjectively the world’s) finest day hike, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. We also wanted to try white water rafting in the Tongariro River!

After a disaster picking up the rental car (that could be a blog post on it’s own), we decided instead of leaving late Friday night, we would wakeup super early Saturday to be better rested to drive. HAH! Try getting 4 girls in their early twenties to wake up before 8 a.m and you have performed a miracle. We did our best though!

We arrived just in time for our white water rafting adventure! After dressing in our Scuba Steve uniforms, it was off to the river! The girls and I were on our own raft with our tour guide Anthony, a kiwi who was our age which made it a bit more fun. After almost dying (not really but kinda) twice, and a jump into the cool crisp water off a little cliff, we successfully made it down the river alive! It was easily one of the most fun experiences I ever had. Not what I’m use to, the safety and security of the “River Rafting Rides” at any given theme park.

The next morning, it was time for what would be the greatest shlep of my young life. A 9 hour hike on the Tongariro alpine crossing, past Mt. Doom. Mt. Doom is a very famous volcano that was featured in Lord of the Rings. Some insane people enjoy taking an extra 3 hours to climb up and down it. NOT ME. Two of us wanted to, but my friend Naomi and I decided against it. OH HOW RIGHT WE WERE. Not only was the crossing itself challenging enough, but one of our friends who climbed Mt Doom tried texting us a “final text” in case she actually died. I cannot believe they just let any old person climb that mountain without any warning of how terrifying it gets, especially with falling boulders!

After what seemed to be an eternity of walking through the dessert, with beautiful New Zealand scenery to remind us we weren’t actually in hell, we finally made it to the GLORIOUS Emerald Lakes! The Emerald Lakes get there gorgeous green/emerald color from minerals mixing with the crater they are perched on top of. The smell of hard-boiled eggs filled the air, thanks to the sulfuric pools, as Naomi and I tried to enjoy our under packed lunches. Don’t let my sarcasm fool you, shlepping the 4 hours to get to this point was TOTALLY worth it. As my pictures will show you. A little further down the way was Blue Lake, the biggest of all the pools. So gorgeous!

On the way down to the end of the trail we had a GORGEOUS overview of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake!

As with most things in New Zealand, words are far to simple to capture how beautiful these places are, so please enjoy these pictures to paint a far better picture!

Overall, the trip was wonderful. I feel very proud of myself. I don’t consider myself unfit, but if you were to ask me before that weekend if I would be able to do such a hike, my answer would have probably been no. 12973516_1139061516114426_2146832173456360466_o-1 IMG_4160 IMG_0247 IMG_3957 IMG_4061 IMG_4187

I'm a psychology major focusing on art therapy as well as gender and sexuality studies. I've never left the country before aside from a couple of trips to Canada, so going to New Zealand for an entire semester is a huge jump for me! I find leisure in art, music, beaches, outdoor activities, and writing. I hope to incorporate my interests in art, gender, and sexuality in my future and I will be observing these key elements especially while abroad!

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