Day 4- November 21st
We spent the morning mountain biking in a logging forest just outside Rotorua. Mountain biking is intense. I’ve also kind of assumed I knew what it was all about since I had ridden my bike around Bond Lake but I would say that is about as close as all the Kiwi’s assumption that I was from California. The paths were incredibly narrow and there was a lot of up and down, there were lots of little narrow bridges with no railing which if you fell off you would die, there was no end of roots, rocks, and treetrunks in the path, and if another biker were to approach from the opposite direction there was absolutely nothing you could do to prevent a collision. Now I have to back up a little: all the paths were labeled by difficultly, most of them were one-way trails so you wouldn’t face a head on collision, the guy we rented bikes from taught me how to go over the bridges (look straight forward, if you look to the side you go there and die), and it was a lot of fun. We only took the easy level 2 trails and I only fell once (luckily to the left since to the right would have been about a 100ft drop) but Chris did one higher level trail without me.
There was a glade of redwoods we biked through and when we drove in it felt like the lights turned out. Considering we’d already been in pretty dense woods it was quite the dramatic transformation.
That afternoon we worked our way over to the Waitomo Caves region. We kept catching snippits on the radio about the volcano eruption but couldn’t get enough of the story to know whether it was going to affect our route or not. The views were stunning of rolling hills with sheep and mountains in the difference when suddenly we saw a cone shaped mountain in the distance with smoke pouring out. Volcano found. This is about the best case scenario for seeing a volcano blow it’s top: not too close and no one was hurt so it’s ok to be really excited about it.