Hiking to Tongariro Crossing was epic. Hot in the morning and freezing cold on the top of the volcano in the afternoon! The landscape changed dramatically and our leaders had arranged for their local friends to join us so that we could learn about the history and ecology of where we were. On the way back down, we swam in some natural pools by the trail that were the most refreshing and beautiful experience of the trip. Our leaders were great, always well prepared and their love of life was second to none! This was one of many great moments from the trip. While you can find out about the Tongariro in guide books, our leaders took us on so many other excursions that you can only get my being with locals willing to share their favorite places.