09 October 2012

Tihia Again - At Night

In an rash moment recently I decided to climb Tihia at night.  Without much forethought I grabbed a pack, torch and an old sleeping bag, plus a bottle of water and a couple of muesli bars - and took off. Luckily I stopped at a garage and purchased a few spare batteries.  There was no moon and after entering the bush I realized just how black the night was.  To make things worse my headlamp batteries soon weakened and gave up.  Finally I had to change the batteries - easier said than done. Once the headlamp was off everything was in pitch black.  The old batteries were extracted by feel, the orientation of the parallel batteries determined by feel and the whole thing put together by feel. No light - damn! More groping in the dark (a male thing) revealed that there were not two but three batteries.  Luckily I'd remembered the polar orientation for the batteries in the headlamp.  Finally there was light and I was off again.  While all this was going on I could see faint glow-worms in the distance and at one stage an animal (from the noise, it must have been a deer) crashed by in the bush.

Changing Headlight Batteries in the Bush on a Moonless Night
Finally, I stepped clear from the bush and could see the lights of Turangi below and Taupo in the distance.  About half an hour later I stepped onto the summit in a cool breeze.  I found a spot to sleep and crawled into the sleeping bag.  The night was long and cold and mist enveloped the summit. It cleared to reveal a brilliant clear night with meteors streaking now and then.  I watched the night pass with the rotation of the Magellanic clouds and the Southern Cross pointers. When dawn arrived I saw how cold it was by the frost-heave on the bare patches.  The early light lit up the volcanic activity over on Te Maari craters on Tongariro. Back to Pukawa for breakfast.

Sunrise from Tihia
From Tihia: Lower Te Maari Crater - Volcanic Activity Beyond