Tongariro National Park

Sunrise in Tongariro National Park from the doorstep of our hostel. This was the only time the sky was completely clear, allowing us to see Mount Ngauruhoe (aka Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings) on the left and Mount Ruapehu on the right.

Mount Ngauruhoe, with clouds starting to collect around it... Oh no!

Mount Ruapehu, with view-threatening clouds.

Ice on the Tama Lakes track (approx. 10 miles, 1500 ft elevation gain) between Mounts Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu

Clouds convering on Mount Ngauruhoe

...and the mountain is gone! Eaten by clouds...

Clouds starting to swallow our previously clear view of Mount Ruapehu

Mount Ngauruhoe played hide-and-seek with the clouds for most of the day, creating stunning views.

Lower Tama Lake

Most of the elevation on this hike was in the last stretch on the ridge pictured below

Upper Tama Lake, with Mount Ngauruhoe hiding behind clouds. (On a clear day, you could see both mountains from this spot.)

Zooming in on the slopes of Mount Ngauruhoe. To think Frodo and Sam climbed that in the summer. ;)

The brush reminded me of the Dead Marshes from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Taranaki Falls

A closer view of Mount Ruapehu (note the vast lava field--from an earlier eruption--around it)

The ski slopes on Mount Ruapehu

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