Rather than spend another weekend bouncing frantically to dance music, I had a healthy outdoor weekend. I hiked up Mt Ruapehu.
It's a good walk. Starting from the Whakapapa carpark (outside ski season there is a huge amount of parking space) I headed up the lift lines. Navigating on an out of season ski field is easier than an unsullied mountain, although one needs to remember that you can't always follow a chair lift - especially when descending. (Skis and boards are a wonderful invention - some of the slopes that are quite easy to slide down are a bit alarming when you are standing on the bare rock).
I made fairly good progress up past the top draglift. The last few hundred metres before the crater are pretty crumbly though. Last time I was up here there was snow and steps kicked, which made it a whole lot easier. I made the mistake this time of aiming for what looked like solid rock rather than scree and ash - unfortunately it was steep and totally frangible. Will remember next time..
So I got to the crater at 3pm:
Took a photo and started down. The downclimb was easy enough, made it to the car just before it got dark.
Something I noticed is that there was a lot of bits of rubbish left lying about where the lift company have been building things. This isn't really on. I've got no objection to neccesary ski machinery, but they need to clear their crap up afterwards. If you leave bits of wire, fastenings, broken signs, etc. lying around on an eroding mountain, it all gets carried down with the scree and gets strewn all over the hill. Like Snowdon.