March 2, 2017
Tongariro Crossing Complete! 19kms (12 miles) and 7.5 hours later.. I completed one of the Great Walks here in New Zealand. This is my fourth time in the area and the previous 3 times I made excuses not to do the walk but I always knew that it had to be done before I left. It came at a really good time for me as I have a lot to think about and reflect on in this transitional time in my life. I didthe walk by myself which was perfect. I got to go at my own pace and it gave me a lot of time to think about my time here in NZ and what’s in store for me in America. I am such a lucky man to have so many people care about me both here and back at home (and around the world for that matter). The wound is still fresh in terms of leaving everyone in Queenstown. I just am so glad that it happened and rest assured in the fact that memories last a life time. In turn, I am so thankful that I have a home that I am excited to return to. Not everyone has that luxury. My friends and family, both in Texas and Colorado, are so important to me and I can’t wait to return home to everyone. Not to mention, these thoughts of humility and gratitude were coupled with some absolute insane views. Mother Nature put on a show for me today. I was stopped dead in my tracks multiple times, slapped in the face by beauty. With two active volcanoes on either side and emerald colo(u)red lakes and craters and lava remains scattered around, this was one of my favorite places in New Zealand. I have no words. For all of you Lord of the Rings fans, Mount Doom is one of the two volcanoes we hiked along today. My experience was indescribable.
I offered up today and this hike to a high school friend who I just found out recently passed away. I wish I could be at home for the service but wanted to let my Jesuit brothers back at home know I am thinking of them and sending him and his family love. This hike helped me remember again just how precious life is. Hug your loved ones and make sure you tell them everyday. Life is short, but sweet for certain. Dalton, this one is for you bud. Rest easy.
See you all VERY soon America. March 23rd. See you all then!