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Long-Distance Walks with Mark Moxon

Taranaki Circuit: Day 1: Rain, Rain, Go Away

Lava gorges on the side of Mt Taranaki
Lava gorges scar the sides of Mt Taranaki

Day 1 started well, as would most of my days on the trail, but it soon started clouding over and it wasn't long before the rain set in. I'd decided to follow the higher alpine route because of the better views (the other route was mainly through forest), and after climbing up the aptly named Puffer – a really steep track that I thought would never end – I clambered around the mountain to Dawson Falls and started heading downhill towards Lake Dive, and that's when the cloud kicked it. I could see it approaching from the west, in a big thick rolling mass, and before ten minutes was up I was surrounded by cloud, with a visibility of about 20 metres and a temperature drop from boiling down to seriously cold; the weather rolls in pretty quickly when you're this close to the west coast, and it's particularly noticeable when you're up in the mountains.