Lost in Beleriand
Following the Australia SharePoint Conference in Sydney last week, I made my way to Wellington, New Zealand and met up with fellow SharePoint expert Michael Doyle (@SharePointNinja). With a couple days in front of us before the New Zealand SharePoint Conference, we drove 6 or 7 hours north and found ourselves in the middle of nowhere. The plan: hike Mount Doom (i.e. the Tongariro Alpine Crossing). We arrived late on Saturday, found a nice little motel, and settled in for the evening.
The most difficult part of working in hi-tech and traveling abroad is dealing with limited (or non-existent) connectivity. The motel where we stayed had dial up….so we were pretty much disconnected for a couple days. That part was painful. But I was still able to get some work done from the small restaurant on site, without the interruptions of email, instant messaging, and Twitter.
On Sunday, we were up pre-dawn and on a bus heading up the mountain. It was dark and cold as we started on the trail at around 6:15am. Our eyes quickly adjusted, and we made our way up the trail. For those who follow me on Facebook, I have posted quite a few pictures here.
By 9:30am, we were at the top of the crossing, looking down into the Red Crater, smelling the sulfur. The clouds lifted, and we had an amazing view of the terrain, and pretty much had the trail to ourselves. We counted less than 2 dozen other hikers – in either direction – the entire day. We moved at a fairly quick pace, and most of the people who started with us fell far behind. But the view was amazing and the weather perfect for a day hike.
We made our way to the other side – 18.5km – by 12:30pm and caught the first bus back to the motel, where we washed up, changed, and took a short trip up yet another mountain (via chairlift) and had lunch in the café at the top of the mountain.
Early Monday, we made our way back south to Wellington where we checked into our hotels, were finally able to get online, and allowed the world to find us again. A memorable experience, for sure.