Mount Doom…dom, dom, dom…

One does not simply walk into Mordor. ~ Boromir

Well we did. And little did we know it was no joke!

On Day 4, Jeff and I set out for Mount Ngauruhoe aka Mount Doom with little hiking experience. I mean, does Enchanted Rock really count compared to a big-ass 8-hour-mountain-hike straight up??

So, we grab a map and in 2-D, in cartoon format, looks do-able, right?

Here’s what we see from the road and it’s not as cute as the tiny triangles on the map dammit!

I mean, you can’t even see the top of it!!

The town we were staying in was so small that there was one cafe, one gas station (which was the only one around for miles) and two lodges. We stayed at Park Hotel, which we highly recommend.

Back to the mountain…Jeff and I had to drive to the start of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. In our (basically new) Keens and backpack, we were off!

So what do you pack if you’re new to backpacking and planning to climb one of the highest mountains in NZ for 8 hours? Here’s what I had:

1. First aid kit

2. Sunblock, Off, chapstick

3. Water (12 ounces, yeah I know)

4. Jerky (for the brother)

5. Lifestraw

Hey, you never know right? Would’ve made the brother test it first, of course.

So as you can see, we had no damn clue what we were doing. Nevertheless, we persisted!

Looks like they’re missing Lifestraw in their essential gear list. IJS.

And we’re off!

Jeff looks tired already, I look lost. And we’re only 5 min in.

This hike was no damn joke! It was STRAIGHT UPHILL FOR THREE HOURS!!! I kept asking if we were even at the base of the mountain, it was about 2 hours of forest first. Everything hurt, even breathing. Who the hell came up with this bright idea anyway?!

Twelve ounces of water went quick. I was seriously feeling like Frodo and Sam with those chapped-ass lips.

Yeah that’s how Jeff and I felt about an hour inBut if they could make it for 3 movies with 5 drops of water, I could hold out!We kept passing streams and Jeff wouldn’t use the Life Straw. 😡

Oh yeah, and we ran across this, just to keep us on our toes 🙄

That was a looooong 700meters, every sound was death (at least to me), Jeff was having a blast. 🙄

But when we got up what a sight!

Before we could get any further up, I mentioned to Jeff, “that’s weird, we’re the only ones going up, haven’t seen even one other person going up. Everyone is in a hurry to get down.” Still, we tuck away the old survival instincts and keep trucking up.

Until a guide hurrying down yells out “bad weather coming, I’d turn around if I were you!” And then, literally out of nowhere, we see this…

Temps dropped literally 15-20 degrees and everything went dark. Finally the spidey senses kicked in and we didn’t linger any longer. Adios Mount Doom!

This is an active volcano, and yes, that is a thermal geyser on the sides. And yes, that’s hell and fury descending on the summit. Yikes.

Rock and pool/is nice and cool/so juicy sweet!/only wish/to catch a fish/so juicy sweet!

The next day was rainy and cold but we were determined to continue to explore Middle Earth. We found Tawhai Falls aka Gollum’s Pool, and it was beautiful. We could see exactly where the Sméagol splashed in the serene setting…

Look at all that water for the Life Straw!

Yep that’s Jeff almost biting the bullet! Hahhaa, the dork

Day 4/5 was a success despite the weather. And Boromir was 💯, one doesn’t simply walk in to Mordor, at least not without a (useless) Life Straw! Note: if you hike with me in the near future, and we’re near a stream, you know what what I’ll be pushing 😉