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ASCENT OF NGAURUHOE.

;}■;;. :.A ROIIGH EXPEBJE^fCE. A party' of three Qnphunfpi residisntß,--consisting of "Dr. .Scott and Messra Rob!> and Schmidt, made an ascent of Tongariro during the Easter holidays, and had a vev 'yunpleasant experienoel .*' : 'Mr Schmidt and Mr Robb teTated the- story ■ of the trip- to a "Star" reporte rthie morning. -... — "We left on Thursday night for Eauriniu, arriving in the morning. We procured three horses and, travelled along the Raetihi-road to"the tVaimarinb' swamp, which v*e crossed on the roild now being formed across it, for 20 miles. Night coining on, we had to go six-iuilea-out of our way to Okutou, a Maori settlement. ... There we.Jound the place ; quite deserted and all the houses locked. We forced the kainga and spent a rather uncomfortable night lying on the ground. At daybreak the following morning -we commenced; the ascent of-Tongariro, and set out for Ketatahi, situated about half j way up Tongarii-p. Ketatahi was" very active. A few hundred yards; away' we found hot springs, which from evidence given by the relics of late, campers are; considerably used by those receiving medical treatment. Here we had a mud bath and considered the waters possessed, stronger mineral properties than even Kotorua. .-, ..... ,-, •,. , , We now commenced the-filial ascent of Tongariro in the hope of reaching Ngauruhoe across the ridge. All the way up Tongariro steam was issuing from the sides of the mountain. On gaining the summit we perceived a red'e'rater in active eruption, while alongside, in the other crater, was a cold lake containing beautiful drinking water. I may here also mention that this lake is teeming with fish without eyes. In the month of February the Maoris ascend the mountain with nets to catcli the fish, which come out of the caverns to spawn. There is also another crater, now gone cold, but the ground of it, winch has the appearance of waves of mud, seems aweinspiring. We now proceeded along the ridge in the direction of Ngatiruhoe, but a heavy cloud obliterated all from view, and forced us to return to the mountain hut. Here on the hut we found tht names of several prominent , Aucklanders, but the satirical verse inscribed below their names:— "Fools' names, as well as their faces, Always appear in public places." decided us not to add ours.- Having spent the night in the shelter-shed on the anountains, wo set out at dawn next morning on our return across the swampy plain. Having ridden thirteen miles in a heavy downpour of rain, and crossed several rivers, we found the Whaugapapanui River a mountain torrent and unforda.ble. The river hadrisen quite ten feet in the night, the waters being quite. -black from the ash of Ngauruhoe, and the.waves higher than have ever been seen on the Manukau Bar. Although wet through arid numb with cold, we decided to set back to Papakai, •but found the Mangatipopo—to be crossed—a. mountain torrent also, which left no alternative but to stay on the swamp all night. After four hours' strenuous and patient trying, Dr. Scott managed to kindle a fire, which probably saved the lives of the party. In this connection, it may be stated that everything was wet, and it was a green, native shrub that burnt like matchwood, even though wet and green, which provided the fire which was kept going all night. One of the party found a rabbit's burrow, into which he ereft for shelter, his place during the night being taken alternately by the other two. In the morning -tho river had subsided, and a start was made for Kaurimu. The bridges were almost all washed away, and those remaining were very rotten. Dr. Scott's horse managed to put his hind legs through one, but the doctor displayed great activity in getting on to terra firma again. One horse had succeeded in crossing, and the doctor then rode this in the direction of Waimarino in the hope of getting some roadmen to come back and repair it, leaving the other two to stand by the horses. As this meant a tedious, wait, they. Set tbe : r ingenuity to work -in trying to repair the bridge. This was successfully carried out under the direction of Mr. Robb, ■by leading one horse to the broken part, and then placing the sound boards over which the liorse had come in the break. "When the second horse had thus got across the 'planks were again placed at the beginning of the bridge, the third horse led over to the break, and the same process repeated. Having repaired the bridges, we returned by the mountain roads to the station.". "The Government," Mr Schmidt added, "have built a very big station at Waimarino, and contemplate erecting an accommodation house, of 70 rooms. They are also constructing a track across to Tokaanu, which route will be the main tourist route for viewing the wonderful scenery of the National Park.' Judging from the height of Ruapelm on Monday, the smoke from Ngauruhoe rose 15,000 ft, and the whole top of the cone appeared to fywe been blown off." '. When the party left on Monday morning the wind had changed, and the fumes of sulphur and ash were so thick that it r."juld have been impossible to remain. "So satisfied," says Mr Robb, "are the ™?riy with their trip that the following doggerel aptly describes their feelings:-— "Tremendous mountain! My! I never saw anything half so high. AVas you contracted for? Or did you grow? Or was you blowed out by a volcano? Lord, how my shins do ache; Ain't it a caution for a snake; I guess the sublime will wait a few, Before I go again up you.' " A small party of six—G. G. Wilson, J. Coonan, P. Colgan (of Rausimu), and S. T. Aetley,. A. E. Jeffrey and;.'W. Jickell (of Auckland) made a successful ascent of Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe during the Easter holidays, and also visited the Tongariro district, doing the Red Crater, Blue Lake, Te Mari and Ketatahi blowholes. The whole trip round these mountains distanced over 100 "miles, all of which was done on foot, and the necessary provisions were carried as well. The ascent of Ngauruhoe was made on a south-eastern spur, which, owing to the eruption and rain, was a. mass of slippery black mud, very difficult.to negotiate. ' ■ ■ The ' top" of the mountain on I this side was rather dangerous, I the climbers' footsteps displacing tons of mud, which slipped' down the steep sides, threatening to carry the adventurers with it. The party returned .to Raurimu on I foot yesterday afternoon. _ .■

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ASCENT OF NGAURUHOE. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 89, 15 April 1909

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