Last Friday Milo and Molly were itching for some exercise, so we went on a day hike up to the Packhorse hut, checking out a route we hadn’t taken before. You never know, we might be able to convince another family to hike up there with us and spend the night, and a good guide ought to have checked out the path ahead of time. Milo checked out that path up close and personal for a little ways–he took nose-dive after nose-dive and didn’t seem at all phased by the experience. Here he is, pleased as punch, tromping along the grassy path with Lyttelton Harbor in the background.
It was a warm clear day, but the wind is what gets you in NZ, and we hunkered down in the sun behind some boulders for lunch. Some day we’ll stay overnight in this historic hut…but probably not during winter as the stash of firewood to feed the wood stove is pretty scarce on the grassy tussock-hills.
Swallows built this nest in the nook over the hut door, too high for me to peer into. I thought I’d be clever and hold the camera up there, hoping for a shot of cozy little eggs or peeping baby birds. The moment the camera edged over the lip of the nest it erupted in a flurry of wings, and we beat a hasty retreat. Not sure how many birds exited, but those “helpless little babies” scared the bejeebers out of me!
We walked through a planted pine forest, listening to the sound of the wind in the branches and the clink and roar of the logging equipment. For some reason these super-cool mushrooms were sporulating, maybe they somehow sensed the impending logging operations and decided they were ready to migrate. Milo was good at spotting them, sometimes seeing them before I did. “MMMMore! he announced whenever he sighted one.
Milo slept in the backpack so I had time to linger over some flowers. Particularly as they were conveniently growing at shoulder height, no bending with a 35-lb-pack required! They look like giant nightshade blossoms to me, but I haven’t had a chance to look them up. I’m not sure why, but it’s oddly satisfying to be able to guess at plant families, even if I don’t know the species at all. Is it the illusion of familiarity that is so comforting?