Four of our keen runners and outdoors adventure-lovers recently drove south to New Plymouth and tackled some of the trails around the forested and alpine flanks of Mt Egmont.
In perfect weather we circumnavigated the mountain in two days, a roughly 60km trail that took us high up into rocky meadows, across steep slopes of volcanic scree and boulder fields, then down into ravine scoured forest tracts and lovely trails. In places, windfall had obscured the forest paths and we had to be careful, since getting off track here would triple the time and effort needed to find a way out.
We travelled with very light packs, running the downhills and flat areas, walking the uphills and precipitous bits and getting to our first night’s hut just on dark.
It’s a beautiful mountain, lots of great challenges – I loved drinking the pure water from the many streams that bisect the forest. At night, far from the townships and farm lights, the sky is brilliant with stars, so dense they resemble handfuls of tiny blossoms tossed skyward, the Milky Way a numinous band like talcum flung across the vault of black sky. And no one there, only a few visitors down by the road end and hiking the well marked trails. We’re looking forward to a return trip, exploring some new places in this big park and relishing the open spaces, the quiet nights in front of a camp fire, the long silences that are so restorative, so nourishing for the busy mind, erasing for a while the clutter of our modern life.