Like many, I wanted to hike up Mount Doom, and so we took some time during our backpack trip on the Tongariro Northern Circuit to do it. We are both pretty athletic, but hiking up Mt. Ngauruhoe is probably one of the most difficult short activities I have ever done. I was expecting lots of trail followed by a relatively short climb over loose rock, but there was a lot less trail (and more serious scrambling) than I had anticipated! The views were great and we certainly felt an accomplishment reaching the rim, but we saw too many injuries to say this was a wise climb - a fall on the sharp scoria left one man bleeding from multiple wounds and we saw a few flying rocks that just missed people's heads. The best way down, it seems, is to slide down the scree on your feet. Our hiking poles really helped us to control our descent, but once again, some skill and confidence is really important with this type of activity. I don't recommend this hike unless you're REALLY sure of your stamina and capability.
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