And this was my walk for today.
Total km: 397
The end result was two feet that felt and looked liked the children of Satan - dusted with volcanic ash, shrivelled up balls of red hot pain.
But I did have a belly full of delicious burgers and fries from The Blind Finch.
The day started when I was dropped off at the Ketatahi carpark end of the Tongariro Crossing. Walking towards the saddle, I moved from sulphuric smelling streams and forest to tussock grass - an almost 800m ascent landing me at Ketatahi Shelter
It was a wonderful view to Lake Taupo and further up to Hamilton.
From the Ketatahi shelter the landscape changed dramatically to fumeroles, lava flows, pumice boulders and Sulfur Lakes. And my feet were pummelling between weight and volcanic geology in suit.
And you can see Mt Tongariro, the volcano, in the clouds.
Even the landscape around my feet was magical.
By the time I finished the walk, so many people were bounding last me while I was pounding those red feet and scowling, swearing, trying to be mindful but returning to wincing.
The last 1km - so thankfully - was relieved when Phil from Melbourne graciously took my pack for me to give some respite to my feet.
Phil and his wife then drove me to National Park, where I rolled into the hostel.
At this point I was contemplating whether I am strong enough to do the TA and whether flying off to Bali to surf is not such a bad idea.
Well it’s still an option, but for now I also want to reduce my pack weight and heal my left foot particularly and see if I can go on.
I also reduced my kayak journey from 5 to 3 days because the weather in South Island may be improving.
After organising these changes, Karen from Tauramanui Kayak Hire called me and invited me to burgers that evening. Karen and family rocked up to pick me up in a 50 seater bus, complete with PA announcing my entrance onboard. It was a wonderful night. Wonderful burgers, beer and chips . They were wonderful.