Oh, maybe the easiest day on the track, just wandering down the wide Hurunui valley, narrow at the top, plenty of red beech forest along the way.
Just by Cameron Hut, now looking in an uncared-for state, that’s the hut, mainly, not me as much, I ran into two people contracting to DOC to take the radio transmitters off the kiwis they have been monitoring since 2000. Many of the 16 kiwis that have the transmitters are spending the summer right up on the tops, the track down crews all have various types of dogs for actually locating the kiwis once the general area is known.
I talk to the main kiwi coordinator and I’m surprised to learn that the kiwis can have considerable longevity, 50 years is not so uncommon, if they survive the stoats. There’s no predator control on this side of the hill, plenty in the south Hurunui, but kiwis seem to be able to survive once they become adult size.
I’m told that there is a mouse plague, they caught 28 in a trap over the last two nights. The trap is a piece of cheese stuck in the end of a long neck bottle with greased neck, on a slope, the mice get onto the bottle, slide into a bucket of water and drown. Quickly I’m assured.
There’s always a few TAers these days, today five were spotted and some even talked.
Down at Hurunui Hut, it’s 4 30 when I cruise in, too much chatting away today, there are three fly fisherman, finding the trout seem to be eating the mice, more than one fish they have caught have had a few for breakfast. I’m learning a great deal on this trip, clearly.
These guys love their fishing, the total environment to be truthful, cruising around the South Island with their trout obsession.
Tomorrow I’m off the official TA trail once again, heading initially on an alternative route to Hope Kiwi Lodge, via 3 Mile Stream Hut. Then to St Jacobs Hut which is also off TA altogether and on the way to the Doubtful River valley.
No doubt with me however.