Last weekend I went hiking with some friends to Youngman Stream hut, in the Lees Valley. We came off the tussock-covered tops and down to the beginning of the beech forest, and inhaled the peculiar scent of those woods.
The beech forest has a heady fermenting smell, not disgusting but not particularly pleasant, in an objective way. But that first big whiff was my Delight of the Day, because it means we’re in the NZ east coast bush.
The smell is the mold growing on the honeydew of the particular species of scale insect that coats the trunks of these beech trees. The black mold grows in thick cushiony mounds along the tree trunks and even the ground. Even if I go blind, I’ll love this smell because it means I’m in the New Zealand woods.