I’m not a walker, hiker or mountaineerer, I don’t own walking boots or ice axes, I leave that to my adventurous sister who has cupboards straining at the hinge with the gortexed gadgetry to enable her to safely fling herself up mountains, down rivers and around cliff faces whilst remaining dry. I prefer the 2 wheels of a bicycle. But New Zealand and her ridiculously spectacular scenery can not always be reached with turns of your crank shaft. This place may have just lowered my ‘over 2 hours of walking?’ resistance levels for good. The idea of a 19.4km 7 and a half hour hike across alpine conditions, up 35 degree inclines, around mountain edges, hugging sheer drops and icy terrains up to a volcano that last erupted in 2012 would not be something on my thighs’ radar. I can now, 2 days later after completing the Tongarino Alpine Crossing can only just about climb stairs without wincing. I’ve always been one to believe that most things soul enriching and life nourishingly are not always those that come easily and require little effort. It’s the hard stuff that gives gains, strengthens your keytone and pushes you to unfurl your fingertips from around comfort’s edge. It is, without a doubt, why I am a spin of the globe away now, but 1882m up, sat on that volcano, calves aching, heart irregularly beating, I layered a New Zealand vista on that thought. I will be raiding that cupboard when back sister.