Saturday, December 13, 2014

Kepler track day three - ferns and mushrooms

Day two we made it to our campsite by 3:30 pm. However, as I approached the Iris hut it started raining, and I got swarmed by sandflys. So I upgraded our campsite to a bunk in the warm, dry hut. The ranger was a Canuck from Ontario who was a dead ringer for my brother Pete. We slept like the dead. And not because other campers left the gas on the stoves. I was the stove patrol - many left the gas on until the ranger gave the cabin a lecture on usage.

I got up at 5:30 am, the same time as our french bunkmate Alexander. (The poor thing thought he lost his iPod and had a little freak out when I first met him). We were the first ones up and out for the day's mileage. He was going reverse, climbing what we did the day before. We were on our way down into the rainforest.

To break up the six hour hike through the rainforest I made about five cairns, a California hiking tradition. However, it appears my brother did not see these; most likely they were knocked over by other hikers. It does not appear stacking rocks on trail is in the NZ tramping tradition.

The 1984 Slide:

In 1984 there was heavy rainfall that caused landslides including the area pictured below:

Mushroom staircase:

Mushroom with bugs crawling on the cap:

As many hikers, trampers, and runners know, sometimes your brain loops into mantras, songs, or meditations when on a trail. My brain kept looping three songs in the rainforest: "Too Many Cooks", Steve Miller Band's Fly Like An Eagle, and The Beatles Mr. Mustard from Abby Road. During the last hour of the trail, I gave in and put on headphones and plugged into Abby Road. For three days I had been listening to all the bird calls - the birds of NZ are tuneful and sound like whistles, violins, and horns.


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Location:Searle Lane,Queenstown,New Zealand

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