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Long-Distance Walks with Mark Moxon

Taranaki Circuit: Day 4: The Volcano's Summit

The summit of Mt Taranaki from two-thirds of the way up
The summit of Mt Taranaki, as seen from two-thirds of the way up

Sunday morning was very cloudy, but Jacek and I got up at 6am to try to get to the base of the summit track nice and early. Luckily the cloud was mainly round the northern side of the mountain, and as we came round to the northeastern side (where the AMC begins) the sky cleared slightly, showing a huge billowing mass of cloud pouring off the mountain towards the north; as with the Southern Alps, winds come in from the west and get forced upwards by the mountain where they condense into rain clouds, but slowly the cloud cleared from the peak until it was all blue skies, so I decided I just had to go up. Jacek's knee had been playing up and he sensibly decided to give it a miss, so we said our goodbyes and I started the long haul up to the 2518m (8261 ft) peak, complete with a full pack and my trusty old boots.

Clouds at the top of Taranaki
The top of Mt Taranaki is buffeted by freezing winds, creating some very odd but very beautiful cloud patterns
Strange lava shapes on Mt Taranaki
Strange lava shapes like these 'organ pipes' crop up throughout Taranaki