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Thread: Ruapehu challenge

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    Ruapehu challenge

    I just got back from my attempt at walking around Ruapehu in a day . I'll slowly add more pictures but basically the mountain looked like this the day before - and on Friday ....



    It's about 72 km around and wasn't going to let me off easy .
    After 50km I drank bad river water at the hut , apart form the fact that I had double blisters under one toenail that lifted it out of its 'mountings' - I'm busy going through the helmetcam pictures now .

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    Thursday night at Whakapapa camp kitchen , I had the laptop going and wanted to see what the gopro helmet camera could do in low light [ wb adjusted ] Exif says iso 313 and max aperture 306.88 !?



    Just before 5 am I walked past the camp shop , the beginning of my adventure . When I plan on waking up early I usually wake up
    at 3:00 am and then every half hour from then on so i was up at about 4:20 am .



    At 7:00 am the sun was starting to makes its presence known .



    By this stage I had twisted me right ankle [ about 6 :00 am ] . I've learned to roll my ankle all the way when this happens to avoid hurting it but it was quite a distance that my foot slipped and I managed to pull a muscle in my upper thigh at the same time . It hurt[s] every time I lifted my right leg from then on .... after about 3 hours I think my leg gave up sending pain signals to my brain but it did resurface later .

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    I never realized that my camera lens was fogging up , luckily it has a waterproof housing .

    The walk to the "New Waihohonu " hut is rated at 5 1/2 hours though these ratings are normally very conservative . I had to go slowly when it was very dark so I was satisfied with 2 3/4 hours .





    I made this my 'breakfast stop' and allowed myself 15 minutes before heading off again at 8:00 am .


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    The walk to Rangipo hut is rated at 5 hours according to the sign . I'm not so good on flat ground , mainly hills , so I battled to halve that rating and had to settle for 2 3/4 hours again - along with a 15 minute break .





    [I'll keep it at two images per post now ]

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    You have to cross the Tukino 4X4 track as well ...



    and this bridge






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    There's my shadow crossing the bridge



    And the Rangipo hut !





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    From Rangipo hut to Mangaeheuhu hut it is rated at 6 hours though on the map it looks shorter than all the other walks . The reason is that there is this huge valley you have to cross





    That's where my advantage comes in , I'm slow on flat terrain but tend to be able to maintain my pace up and down steep hills [ so far ] and I turned that 6 hours into another 2 3/4 hours .



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    Someone had built a wind shelter at the top of the climb , I needed shelter from the sun because it was an unusually [ for Ruapehu ] clear day !




    I was going through the only desert area in the country ...





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    Last edited by DesmondD; 03-04-2010 at 7:16pm.

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    I got some temporary relief from a small bit of forest before the hut ....



    By this time I had done "16 1/2 hours" in 9 hours including rest and I thought I had it " in the bag" since the total walking time is rated at something like 30 hours. I estimated that I could be back at the village before darkness [ 8pm ] . My calculations were wrong and did not include rest times - my mind wasn't too clear .
    I aired my feet out and put my socks and boots back on and decided to ignore the fact that my right shoe felt a bit stuffy in the front after that stop .....



    I headed off confidently .....




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    In areas where the vegetation is fragile they build platform/tracks to protect it from hikers .



    I went past the Waitonga falls as well , the sign had stated 3 hours to the road so i was happy , and confident , with 1 1/2 hours .




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    It was a really nice day and I got a few good views of Ruapehu



    It is amazing how much of a relief it can be to see a road and cars !






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    This is where the real adventure begins , things had been going too well so far . [ apart from twisting my right ankle 3 times by now , and the muscle tear on my upper thigh ] .

    Now you have to walk about 3 km up this steep road heading for the Turoa ski-field .



    but it was when I started going down this hill that I felt the pain that was building up on my right foot in the front where the sock was bunched up .



    I knew I was in trouble when a 1 1/2 hour rated walk took my 1 hr 10 minutes - it should have taken 45 minutes .


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    This area is well worth a day trip though , there's a white band of rock running down the centre of the water ....



    It might be a bit scary for someone scared of heights because you have to make your way down the ridges and jump across the river in places .

    And there's the Mangaturuturu where I was greeted by a sign that stated that it was 8-10 hours to Whakapapa village . It was 17:38 when I took this picture .



    I had been walking for 12 hours 45 minutes . In the early stages I was cutting the rated times in half and at that rate I should have been able to get back to the village in 4-5 hours but the fact that I was now limping and took almost the rated time to this hut meant that it may well have taken another 10 hours to get back - and I might have run into trouble along the way especially at night .
    I decided that it would be wiser to spend the night at the hut . I had packed a light fleece blanket and could tuck my legs into the pack with my track pants and fleece jacket on and be warm enough .

    My emergency rations were three cups of cheap two minute noodles which I don't normally eat by the way .


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    Now let's list my mistakes :
    The water tank was empty at this hut and 1.) I was too tired to walk to the fast flowing river to get water . I walked to the 2.) slow moving stream nearby and it was easier just to sit on the bridge and dip my bottle into the still water in the centre .
    3.) I was too tired and couldn't be bothered to dig out the water -purifying tablets .
    I never had a stove with me which is ok but I lit a fire in the fire-place and put one of the hut pots full of the water on it and 4.) as soon as I saw bubbles decided it was enough to kill any germs and poured it into my three cups of [ 5.) different flavour ] noodles .
    At 9:00 pm I went and sat outside to cool down because the other occupants had the fire so hot that I was sweating .
    At around 11:00 pm everything was cool enough to fall asleep , I was wrapped in my fleece blanket with all my warm clothing on ..... and I woke up wanting to throw-up .
    I spent the rest of the night with a bucket next to me for 'just in case' and realized that this was the end of my attempt to go all the way around the mountain even in two days .
    I knew that in the morning I would have to make my way back up the 1 1/2 hour track



    I thought it might be a 4 hour bout of suffering and sickness , crawling up the hill to get help ....
    I won't state that I 'woke up' because I'm not sure that I actually slept but at 7:00 am I got up , packed my things and started walking - I forced down an energy bar to give me something to work on even though the thought of food made me feel sick . That was all I ate in a 24 hour period till tonight .
    I also forced some water down [ with purification tablets in it mind you ] because I knew my body needed it and was surprised that it stayed down .

    I didn't need to force myself to admire the scenery of the morning - I wasn't that sick ....





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    It had taken me all of 10 minutes to start overheating with all my clothing on . There was frost on the ground but I had to strip down to shorts and a T-shirt [ the same smelly clothes from the day before ] to keep cool enough to walk comfortably .
    I was surprised that I did ok , it took me 1 hour and 20 minutes of the rated 1 1/2 hours but mainly due to the fact that I was going uphill and couldn't slide my feet forward to hurt my toe and ankle . I think my right ankle was protesting about being twisted 3 times the day before , my upper thigh was now really complaining about the torn muscle and I had to help it up with my hand a few times .
    There was ice on the ground in places ...



    This is one of my favourite pictures because even though it is a slight downhill it looks like an uphill .



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    It was a huge feeling of relief to get back to the road again ...



    Then there was this fear of " What if no cars come past [ 15 km walk into town ] , what if nobody stops to help me ?" .....
    It was a very painful walk downhill for about two kilometres before I heard a car coming down the hill - it turned out to be the same car that went up as I emerged from the track . I put my thumb out and it didn't sound like he was slowing so I decided that for the next car I would lie across the road and they would have to stop .
    But he did stop and I was shaking and falling over by then when I loaded my pack into his back seat . It wasn't the cold , I had put all my warm gear back on plus my wet-weather gear because of the icy wind and slow pace I was moving at . I think it was some sort of shock my body was going into because I was still like that an hour later .
    I had been in this situation before on this road on my first 3 day attempt around the mountain that failed due to a heavy pack and not drinking enough water which caused my knee to ache ... only that time I hadn't gone down to the hut and back up again .

    It was such an amazing relief to be back in a vehicle cruising down the road effortlessly ......
    he dropped me in the middle of town next to a tour company that organizes transport for the Tongariro crossing . They told me the next trip to the village was late afternoon unless I was prepared to pay $60 for someone to return for a special trip .... I would have paid $500 happily just to get back to a greater sense of security .



    I had gone into the cafe over the road and looking at all the food made me feel sick so I drank a coke which seems to be good medicine for stomach trouble [ and de-greasing engines ] .
    I ate my first meal in 24 hours tonight and all seems to be ok apart form the slight nausea - hopefully I will get some sleep tonight !

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    Basically I told my workmates that I wanted some good old "blood and guts" adventure and I got it - whether it was being caught in a blizzard or simply getting sick from river water after noticing one toenail perched above two blisters that had to be popped independently [ I reckon it will fall off soon ] . I'll be sore for a few days but will look back on this adventure with great fondness in future
    My father always told me that you forget a holiday when everything goes right but when things go wrong you at least have a story to tell .... well I reckon I have a good story to tell with this one !



    I should get some sleep but my other computer is almost finished processing the one video clip I took , and we get an extra hour tonight thanks to changing back from daylight saving .....


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    WOW, what an adventure. This is stuff most people won't see in their lifetime.
    Nikon D90 with Nikon 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 Nikon 50mm f1.8, Tamron 90mm macro f2.8, Sigma 10-20mm f/4 - 5.6, SB-600, Manfrotto tripod and head.
    Software: Elements 10 and Aperture.


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    Quote Originally Posted by judybee View Post
    WOW, what an adventure. This is stuff most people won't see in their lifetime.
    Or 'won't want to see '
    Sunday morning now , I can walk with a slight limp in my right leg , the toenail seems to have pulled back into its original position and may not fall off - Friday night it was sitting on top of the skin including the roots ...
    I had a reasonable night's sleep and the nausea is mostly gone

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    The word masochist springs to mind ------

    I rather like the massive distortion in some of those shots Desmond, they are entirely in keeping with the terrain and top of the world views.
    I would have got as far as the bridge and that would have been the end of me unless someone came by with a helicopter to transport me over the void.
    Andrew
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