28 February 2008
(as far as Mountain House Junction)
There'ssomething about the fresh green symmetry of the younger fronds in a darker frame.
This is an umbrella fern, Sticherus cunninghamii - yet another species named for that highly-respected man, Alan Cunningham. It's also one of my favourite fern shapes. hard to say what the criteria are - a sense of "rightness", somehow.
The motorway heads on.
A large swathe of kidney fern, feeling the dry to some extent, and slightly curled.
Here's a small culvert,
and this is what it looked like last time we came through.
Firewood for the lodge later on?
The motorway ends and is followed by several hundred metres of continuous boardwalk through a swampy bit. Boardwalk is always problematic for me - one is certain to catch one's sticks in the cracks, and holding the sticks up and out of the way is also a pain.
We carry on
and on. The light - it is still fairly early morning - is quite spectacular under this tall canopy. I have a slightly wicked thought. Is there a DoC ranger somewhere, a junior one presumably, whose job it is to sweep the dead leaves clear of the boardwalk every morning? You never do see the same carpet of leaves on the boardwalk itself that covers the ground on either side.
At last we're off the boardwalk and we strike the old track, with a barrier deflecting people from the old, slip-ridden, track that I walked three months ago - and yes, there was quite a bit of damage that involved scrambly detours, but walking down beside that lower section of the Atiwhakatu was quite beautiful.
The new track is narrower, but the surface is fine and easy to walk. The bush at first is fairly open and scrubby
and the ground falls away to the side quite steeply.
It's almost wet enough to sustain the mossy carpet along the side of the track - just a little patchy.
The bridges are sturdy
That's quite a long way down, reckons Alice.