The Mighty Tongariro

First of all, i'll explain what the "Tongariro" is...

The Tongariro National Park is on New Zealand's North Island. The park has 3 active volcanoes: Tongariro, Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom in “The Lord of the Rings" films) and Ruapehu with its ski slopes. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing trail passes the Emerald Lakes and boiling mud pools, culminating at still-active Red Crater.

On our fourth day in New Zealand, we tackled the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.  The hike was a beautiful display of nature's diversity.  As we climbed, we journeyed through the clouds, ventured passed active volcanoes, saw mountain lakes and parts of the Tongariro that resemble other planets! 

Another cool thing about this hike is... I ran into some folks from my graduate program at SMU in Dallas.  It was totally random and cool. There in the 5th photo below. 

Through the pain of the 10-hour, 16 mile hike, I managed to capture some photographs.  Enjoy some selects from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing below.