Our friend Damien turned 40 last week and celebrated getting old by heading up to Lake Clearwater and renting a “Bach” — Kiwi for a cobbled-together camp dwelling, varying in sophistication from outhouse-rustic to basic hot showers, but nothing much more fancy than that. We joined them for the weekend. Unlike lake houses that we’re used to at home lining the water’s perimeter, this collection of camps is arrayed in a concentrated little “village” and the lake itself is left open for trout fishermen and the like.
Saturday morning Damien and Jeremiah puttered around the lake trying to temp the fish with fake flies and spinners, and Milo enjoyed running around the path examining flowers and bugs.
The bug catcher came out later. Milo is an excellent little imitator–which means I must look pretty funny when I’m catching him a butterfly. He stalks and pounces, one knee down, then holds for a second or two just like Mama does while she makes sure the insect crawls up into the cage.
We caught moths, butterflies, bees and even a spider, but the flies were too quick for us. Fortunately for the insects, Milo likes releasing them as much as he likes catching them.
Here’s Milo’s self portrait, using the camera timer up in the living room of the bach. The camera provided a long stint of amusement on the drizzly Sunday morning.
Milo tried to feed the porcelain bunny a carrot, but it wasn’t too interested. Bunny has a bit of carrot juice on his whiskers now, but that is the extent of the action. The carrot actually disappeared, but we found it again in the trash–a friend played a little joke on us.
Just up the valley from Lake Clearwater is the Rangitata river basin, a massive gravel plain partially covered with vegetation. The road back there has been improved (widened) though it’s still unpaved, and tour buses filled with avid Tolkien fans wend their way back there ever since the filming of the Lord of the Rings has put the valley on the map.
Mount Sunday in the background was used filming the Lord of the Rings (Edoras, and a battle scene), so the area has enjoyed recent tourist fame and sports and nice wiggly bridge. No fish in the stream though.
The Mount Potts station owner (a station is a huge hill country ranch, this one is 1200 hectares or 3000 acres) has opened a cafe that feeds the tour-bus customers to the remote valley, and the proceeds from the restaurant business must swamp anything he got from giving film crews access to the valley. Our crew enjoyed a cup of coffee and a couple beers before reluctantly setting back out to Christchurch.