2 years ago
Day 5 was mostly spent heading south on Hwy 32, and there's very little footage of this day because we decided to focus on walking more than shooting. We trekked around mountains for 42 km all the way to the intersection of Hwy 41. Reaching the end of Hwy 32 that day was the second greatest accomplishment of our entire trip. It meant that we could potentially legitimately finish the journey. You can actually see us collapse at the end of the road for a break at 10:15 minutes into Episode 3. But we weren't finished yet. We pushed eastward down Hwy 42 for another 6 km or so before stopping for the night. Normally, you would head west at the intersection to get to Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom), but we were forced to take the shortcut through private property in order to reach our goal in time.
Day 6 we trespassed and headed south along some private farm and forestry roads. We would not suggest doing this. It's definitely illegal, and we could have been kicked out, fined or even arrested. Thankfully, though, we made it past the farmland, through the cut down forest and reached S Hwy 47. We pressed on south-west down that road for another 10k, stopped at a cafe to refill water and order milkshakes (worst milkshakes in the world) and then set up camp.
Day 7 we woke up at 3 a.m. for the final stretch. We continued down Hwy 47 until we reached Mangatepopo Rd. Our biggest fear at this point was someone stopping us from going to the mountain. Thankfully, we made it past the blockade before any forest rangers arrived, so we headed up the 6 to 7 km stretch toward Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Once we arrived there, we started climbing the actual mountain. We went up about 2 to 3 km before we reached the spot where we buried the ring. And then of course we had to walk another 11 km or so back down the mountain.
And so that's how we chose to walk to Mount Doom. Nick planned this route, and I think it was a great mix of efficiency and interesting locations. We went over farmland, up rivers and mountains, along the road, cut a few corners and finally arrived at our destination. While we constantly walked up and down hill, in total our elevation rose about 1500ft from the start to the end of our trip.
It was truly one of the best experiences of my life, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to do it, especially with such great friends. For those brave enough to attempt the walk themselves, good luck. For everyone else: I hope you enjoyed our journey!
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.