Wednesday, January 25, 2017


     Summer mornings are delightful and as we walk into the botanic garden, the canopy of trees above us is alive with the sounds of birds chirping. In the creek, ducks forage for their breakfast with tail ends sticking up out of the water. I am eager to photograph dahlias in the morning light and spend an hour studying their intricate designs and contrasting colors. I am captivated by a bee, working so diligently to extract nectar that it ignores my camera lens, practically on top of it. 

     The storms that were predicted, never materialized, and we venture onto Arthur's Pass with hopes that the journey across will be smooth. The plains give way to silty cliffsides and mountaintops with a rare glimpse of snow as we climb in elevation. Outside the wind gusts are strong and we do not dally over our picnic lunch at Lake Pearson.

     We stop at Devil's Punchbowl Waterfall and hike to its base, a misty torrent of water that cascades to form a milky river tumbling over grey boulders. The beech forest reminds me of Chinese paintings with their layered foliage. 

     From there, we drive over the Arthur's Pass summit at 3,000 ft. and find the western side to be lush and the cliffs dripping with water. We are now 20 miles from the "slip" or landslide. The road is open for 10 min. on the hour, and our timing is impecable as we only have to wait for 2-3 min. Crews are busy at work clearing the massive mud slide, not surprising as the cliffside is steep and saturated. We are relieved to be past this section of highway and continue to our destination of Greymouth. 

       The most incredibly delicious lamb is found in New Zealand and we enjoy a dinner of rack of lamb tonight. The locals say the weather is completely unpredictable but we have high hopes for tomorrow.


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