Day 49: The Cokers track took us til the morning to finish and to get to SH 46/47, we stopped briefly at the Tongariro holiday park to eat lunch and refill water before pressing on to the Ketetahi car park.
Lots of visitors there waiting for their bus transfer home, noisy and I wasn't keen to hang around... Besides the hut on this side is still closed after getting hit by a rock from the eruption last year. So we stealth camped in a forest nearby...
And it was a pleasant afternoon!
It was supposed to be overcast with drizzle the next day, but I think that weather blew in early- rain during the night.
Day 50. I was up a little earlier so headed up before the lads.
With someone to chase they made good time and ran me down at Ketetahi hut. Aside from the cold wind, it was a brilliant day! And here's why the hut is closed.
...and the 'smoking gun'...
There were literally bus loads of visitors on the mountain today, but that made for some fun exchanges along the way to the craters and lakes.
The familiar terrain had me happily gambolling down the mountain!
Meanwhile Chris and Bela re-enacted Frodo and Sam's journey to Mt Doom...
Mangatepopo hut was near full when we got there, and a steady stream of travellers meant it was a bit of a squeeze. Mostly international guests, so the usual Kiwi sharing of bed space went by-the-by, but everyone found some floor space somewhere. A Kiwi family kindly shared their wine with me, and the lads got some beautiful fresh lamb! Met Dave from somewhere near Palmy, and had some entertaining discussions about the Camino (he has walked it twice, including starting in France). All in all, a fun night and it was easy to fall asleep despite the numbers!