Castles and Punchbowls

Last Sunday we spent a gloriously sunny day tooling around Arthur's Pass, the national park right up in the divide of the Southern Alps.

Last Sunday we spent a gloriously sunny day tooling around Arthur’s Pass, the national park right up in the divide of the Southern Alps.

Here's our Castle!  Castle Hill, that is.  Sunday we drove up to Arthur's pass, stopping at these fascinating limestone formations.  I wish I could see the geological history of the past however-many millions of years in fast forward, watching the sculpting of this landscape.

Here’s our Castle! Castle Hill, that is. The stones are limestone, and have been weathered by fierce wind and rain to somehow make these fascinating shapes.  I wish I could see the geological history of the past however-many millions of years in fast forward, watching the sculpting of this landscape.

Here's the king of the castle, sitting on his throne!

Here’s the king of the castle, sitting on his throne!

Now he's King Bidgood in the Bathtub, who doesn't want to get out!  Milo was fascinated by this round bowl in the rock and spent the rest of the time there looking for more "bathtubs."

Now he’s King Bidgood in the Bathtub, who doesn’t want to get out! Milo was fascinated by this round bowl in the rock and spent the rest of the time there looking for more “bathtubs.”

I liked this little nest, warm in the sun with my new little chickie.  We felt like munchkins.

I liked this little nest, warm in the sun with my new little chickie. We felt like munchkins.

Milo paused from his bathtub hunt long enough to ROARRRR!  Castle Hill would be perfect for a massive gave of hide-and-seek, and Milo's current version of that game includes a lot of noisy tiger roars with simulated finger claws.

Milo paused from his bathtub hunt long enough to ROARRRR! Castle Hill would be perfect for a massive gave of hide-and-seek, and Milo’s current version of that game includes a lot of noisy tiger roars with simulated finger claws.

The second bathtub we found was big enough for the whole family.  Castle Hill is also a working farm, and from our perch in the tub we watched the farmer and his dogs gather their sheep.

The second bathtub we found was big enough for the whole family. Castle Hill is also a working farm, and from our perch in the tub we watched the farmer and his dogs gather their sheep.

Aw, family photo.  We realized that getting four people to simultaneously look and smile is exponentially more difficult even than three.  3 out of 4 isn't bad....

Aw, family photo. We realized that getting four people to simultaneously look and smile is exponentially more difficult even than three. 3 out of 4 isn’t bad….

Further up the valley we took a walk to a waterfall called the Devil's Punchbowl--you can see it behind Milo.  I rather like the fanciful names.  They're much more interesting than naming features after people.

Further up the valley we took a walk to a waterfall called the Devil’s Punchbowl–you can see it behind Milo. I rather like the fanciful names. They’re much more interesting than naming features after people.

Here's what the waterfall looks like up closer, squinting through the blowing mist.  It is just one of dozens of such waterfalls in Arthur's pass, but it's notable in that it's accessible by a well maintained path and over 200 stairs.

Here’s what the waterfall looks like up closer, squinting through the blowing mist. It is just one of dozens of such waterfalls in Arthur’s pass, but it’s notable in that it’s accessible by a well maintained path and over 200 stairs.

Milo climbed all of those 200 stairs by himself, both up and down.  Bravo, little hiker-in-training!  We haven't quite figured out the logistics of carrying two children plus camping gear, so many of our future trips will be contingent on Milo's stamina.

Milo climbed all of those 200 stairs by himself, both up and down. Bravo, little hiker-in-training! We haven’t quite figured out the logistics of carrying two children plus camping gear, so many of our future trips will be contingent on Milo’s stamina.

Most of the stairs were wooden, climbing through the beech forest like a tree fort, but these last ones were stone.

Most of the stairs were wooden, climbing through the beech forest like a tree fort, but these last ones were stone.

Daddy and Milo, what a cute pair.

Daddy and Milo, what a cute pair.

Here's Omi and Milo, also a cute pair.  What a funny perspective, with Omi looking smaller than Milo.  I guess that trick of the camera is appropriate, here in the land of the Hobbits.

Here’s Omi and Milo, also a cute pair. What a funny perspective, with Omi looking smaller than Milo. I guess that trick of the camera is appropriate, here in the land of the Hobbits.

Sugar stop!  Milo was flagging a little at the top of the hill so we sat down and tanked him up with a marshmallow.  The adults discussed how tastes change--marshmallows are so unappetizing to us now but are universally beloved by children.

Sugar stop! Milo was flagging a little at the top of the hill so we sat down and tanked him up with a marshmallow. The adults discussed how tastes change–marshmallows are so unappetizing to us now but are universally beloved by children.

Abi, this stream photo is for you.  You could drink from it if you wanted too---it was snow not too long ago.  I have yet to learn what minerals in particular in the "glacial flour" makes the water that peculiar color blue.

Abi, this stream photo is for you. You could drink from it if you wanted too—it was snow not too long ago. I have yet to learn what minerals in particular in the “glacial flour” makes the water that peculiar color blue.

You can't visit Arthur's Pass (one of the few roads connecting the east coast to the west coast of New Zealand's South Island) without talking about the keas.  These mischievous mountain parrots are notorious for their bold antics, such as picking the rubber out from around your car windows with their strong beaks.

You can’t visit Arthur’s Pass (one of the few roads connecting the east coast to the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island) without talking about the keas. These mischievous mountain parrots are notorious for their bold antics, such as picking the rubber out from around your car windows with their strong beaks.

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3 thoughts on “Castles and Punchbowls

  1. Amazing pictures and the narratives bring it all to life Molly 🙂 I’m so glad your Mom is enjoying her time with you – a wonderful adventure. The children are adorable – the family picture is so beautiful – we miss you but are so glad your life is so full and rich on so many levels. God bless you and thank you for this blog – I look forward to each new entry. Love you all – Joanne

  2. Thank you for the stream picture. The stone stair picture reminds me of the part of the Lord of the Rings where Frodo climbs up to look out from the rocky promontory and Boromir follows to try to take the ring.

  3. You are all looking so beautiful and happy. How wonderful to get out and explore with your mom. Looks like your making the best of her time here.
    I’ve really been enjoying your posts and seeing the pictures of all of you. Thank you Molly!
    Looking forward to seeing you in our neck of the woods soon.
    Laura

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