Sunday, 13 March 2016

Copland, songs and smells.

Off up the Copland Track, graded as easy-to-moderate, so I wonder why the 17Km is estimated to take seven hours, 2.5Km/hr, usually manage 4. Found out quite soon! Steep, quite rough path, lots of exciting bridges, many 1 person at a time, and quite apart from when the path runs up a stream, many streams to cross. Mostly hopping over stones, but two or three needed de-booting. Altogether an excellent walk, ridiculously green and exuberant forest, ferns growing in moss growing on tree and tree-fern trunks. Filmy ferns 18" long, often a dozen different types of moss and fern in as many square inches.
Bird-wise, the usual suspects, invisible tui sounding  as though they have Tourette's syndrome: gently tuneful bubbly whistles, then sudden raucous squawks. They're great mimics. Fanatics have ADHD, and love to taunt you by flying down, sitting quite close showing off their beautiful black and while tails, until they see a camera, then off... I saw one rarity, a whio ("fio", "wh" is "f" in Maori) or blue duck, endangered as most chicks and eggs eaten by foreign predators.
Eventually got to Welcome Flat Hut, relatively new, nearly demolished by a mudslide a few months after it first opened, had to be dug out. A few minutes away is a bridge up to the the next bit of track, really for nutters and climbers. It's 18Km as the crow flies to Mount Cook Village, where we were last year, but not this time, it's about 500 by road. This site was chosen in part for the hot springs, one luxurious hot pools, fed by red irony rivulets, lined with soft green mud where you can soak in faintly sulphurous bliss!

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