Christmas in New Zealand

I felt it would be too confusing for me to spend Christmas at a sunny beach. So I chose one of the colder and higher altitude places to spend these days. And to make Christmas Eve a special day I walked the Tongariro Crossing on that day. And how it was special. The hostel I was staying at organized the shuttle to the start and the end of the hike. A group of six of us agreed to stay together for the day if we had more or less the same pace and we did. It was wonderful to feel part of this group, two men from the US who live in Perth, a young Dutch man, another woman from Germany and one from France. In the beginning there was some drizzle. We knew from the forcast that around the pass there might be snow and strong winds. I was wearing most of my clothes, woolen underwear, trousers and rain trousers over. It was very cold, thankfully the climb from about 1100m to 1800m warmed us. Near the pass the weather was crazy, hale, snow, strong winds, wind chill around -6, we hid from the wind behind rocks for short breaks, hands would freeze instantly when we took our gloves off. Some people turned back and still lots of others tramped on. The excitement of being fully immersed in the elements. For a long time we did not see anything. But then the clouds broke open and we started to have the views this hike is famous for. Some photos on facebook! Truely beautiful and then the sun came out and it was getting warm, all seasons in one day!

In the evening some of us and then others who were planning to go the trail the next day shared a table. Put ten solo travellers together at one table on Christmas and the most interesting and fun evening can emerge. Easily one of my happiest Christmas Eves.

The next day I took it very easy, a short walk in the afternoon, lots of reading, some handicraft and chatting with two ladies who were knitting.

Yesterday I took another shuttle to a small village closer to the mountains and went for a few hours walk to the so-called Tama Lakes. The closest I got to Mount Doom, in real life called Mt Ngauruhoe.

I started to think about independence. It all started with me having the impulse as I was so close to Mt Doom which in the book/movie is the place where the one ring was forged and the only place where it could be destroyed. And for the Maori these mountains here are sacred and represent the ancestors. So what deep ancestrial pattern could I let go off in the presence of this mountain?

What came up was fear of relationship. I asked the mountain what I would need to do to face this fear.

The answer: appreciate my independence. Interesting: Partly I do appreciate my independence, which allowed me to do many things, including this trip that I enjoy immensely. I put the highest value on being independent. And at the same time I dislike this part of me because I think that it kept me from holding a relationship for more than a couple of years. I put the blame for that on which I value most.

There must be some deep entanglement here as I don t get what this means and I wonder if I have to do the crossing again which includes an option to climb Mount Doom to feel and understand more.

Wondering if this is a bit too personal process oriented for my readers and at the same time smiling as I know the liberating effect of sharing in this way and my writing is probably mostly about this.

I am still sitting in the kitchen/lounge area of my super friendly and social „Christmas“ hostel, will take the bus to Turangi in just about 40 minutes to explore some hiking of this same region from there. Thus a second Crossing is possible.

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