Today, early (for us) start, shortly after seven, as perfect weather for the top of Taranaki. We met people on their way down who'd started at 3am to be up there for sunrise.
A short scramble up the gorge, then 500 wooden steps, then a million miles of ash-marbles on smooth rock. The last section an easy but long scramble on more solid lava, a small ice field, another slidey bit then awesome views from a clear top. Much of the world was under low cloud, but our old friends Ngauruhoe and Ruapeho clearly visible. Very pleasing as we could see Taranaki from the Tongariro Northern Circuit.
Cloud started to come up, so we started down. The scrambles were easier than I'd expected, the marbles as bad & seemed longer. I'll never complain about steps again, wonderful after an hour on the slipperies! Lunch in the lodge, then back to the visitor centre, two minutes after the cafe had closed a bit early. Wonderwoman from yesterday just said help yourself to icecream and give me the money. Brilliant when people put themselves out for you.