• buttercup

    2nd January 2017Stephanie’s BlogStephanie Donaldson

    Mount Cook


    We had been admiring the snow clad Southern Alps for some days as we travelled round and had been significantly trying ahead to the literal and metaphorical excessive level – our go to to Mount Cook dinner.

    Mount Cook

    The night earlier than the sky was deep blue and cloudless, the morning after equally so, however on the day itself as we drove in direction of New Zealand’s highest mountain, it grew to become obvious that Mount Cook dinner’s famously variable climate was not going to cooperate. The nearer we received, the murkier and extra depressing it grew to become and my concepts of strolling by way of alpine meadows admiring the distinctive flora of the world had been to not be.

    Mountain Path

    Stephanie Donaldson

    Undaunted, we placed on each potential layer of heat/waterproof clothes and set off to see what we might see. Primarily we noticed torrential rain, with occasional hail, enlivened by gusts of wind that threatened to blow us off the trail. We barely left the valley flooring and it rapidly grew to become obvious that it was extra of a feat of endurance than a nice stroll, so after an hour of tramping (because the New Zealanders name reasonably difficult walks) we turned spherical and headed again after we heard a crack of thunder – really this will have been a bit of the Franz Josef glacier detaching itself and crashing into the lake under – however we weren’t going to hold round and discover out.


    Franz Josef Glacier

    Sadly we didn’t see the well-known Mount Cook dinner Lily, a shocking giant white buttercup, and though we noticed the leaves of Celmisia, the Mount Cook dinner Daisy, the one one I noticed in flower was a special member of the Celmisia household in a backyard in Omauru. We did spot a tiny orchid with flowers no bigger than the nail on my little finger rising underneath bushes subsequent to the trail. It could be Lyall’s orchid nevertheless it wasn’t out totally sufficient to make sure. There have been hebes of their pure habitat, gaultherias in full bloom, Dracophyllum not but in flower and the unusual low-growing Raoulia, recognized – as soon as it matures – because the vegetable sheep as a result of its white foliage and lumpy define it seems to be like sleeping sheep. It’s price trying it up on-line. The one I photographed was nonetheless a really tiny lamb!


    Mount Cook dinner Daisy ©Division of Conservation New Zealand


    Mount Cook dinner Lily © Picture from http://alpinismski.co.nz



    Lyall’s Orchid within the wild

    Gaultheria - Snowberry

    Gaultheria – Snowberry


    Hebes within the wild

    Dracophyllum longifolium

    Dracophyllum longifolium

    Vegetable sheep

    Vegetable sheep

    However even right here, there have been non-native vegetation to be seen, aquilegias in amongst native ferns, raspberries, gooseberries and currants. I believe the fruit bushes arrived right here courtesy of the Kea, the parrot that lives in these alpine areas.

    wild fruit


    It’s at all times disappointing when the climate interferes with plans, nevertheless it definitely made the Mount Cook dinner go to memorable and was simply one of many components that has us contemplating a return to New Zealand earlier than too lengthy.
    There’s a lot extra too see – together with the Mount Cook dinner Lily.


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