(Originally published November 11th, 2009)
If you are living on the west coast of USA and reading this posting, you are reading the writings of a man from the future. I’m exactly 21 hours ahead of pacific time in America. The time is 4:02pm here on Thursday where the time is 7:02pm on Wednesday back in good ole Seattle.
The weather today was brilliant, sunny with some clouds in the sky. Perfect weather to venture into some mountains here in New Zealand. There were some great views (and the appropriate amount of pictures taken). We hiked a little bit on Mt. Ruapehu. This is, I think, the largest peak in New Zealand at 2797 meters. The peak is an active volcano which last erupted in 2006. It also erupted in 1995 and 1996 respectively. Needless to say, I was not blown off the face of the earth or buried under a ton of molten lava. The risk of an explosion today was 1 (being the most minimal). A number 5 would be a “run for your life” sort of deal.
The scenery was pretty brown obviously with the recent eruptions but the peak had a spectacular view of a neighboring mountain, Mt. Ngauruhoe, which is known by Lord of the Rings fans everywhere as Mt. Doom. This is one unique and amazing mountain. Almost a perfect cylinder shooting up into the sky, Mt. Doom sits at 2291 meters. Another mountain is visible in the range as well, Mt. Tongariro. Three mountains all somewhat in a row. There are famous pictures (mostly posters) showing all three mountains in one shot.
Up on Mt. Ruapehu, we learned that there was some filming of Lord of the Rings shots: they filmed where Frodo and Sam captured Gollum and also filmed some battle scenes from Mordor. We also went to Mangawhero Falls which in the creek beds above the drop, they filmed the scene where Gollum catches a fish.
The scenery of these places is unmatched and it is very difficult to put this all into words so I think I will stop right here.