Making the most of our quiet long hot summer, we recently tramped to the Goat Pass hut in Arthurs Pass last week in the sunshine. This is the midpoint on the Mingha/Deception track that many people complete as part of New Zealand's iconic multisport Coast to Coast event.
In the 90s Jonathan was a possum hunter. For some months he used the Deception hut as his base. Situated on the West Coast side of the traverse, the hut was often in the shadow of the mountain. While it could be damp and cold at times, what an exhilarating place to live and work in.
The Goat Pass Hut has 20 bunks for the weary who have tramped up to this dramatic location. Looking across the top of the Deception River and up to steep bluffs I often shook my head on the trip up, thinking of those who run the Coast to Coast in no time at all.
We stayed East this time, fitting in a 500 m climb side trip up to Lake Mavis. To get there, we climbed past the tussock and up through scree, it got steeper and steeper until we were hauling ourselves up a rockface, following the cairned ridge route.
At the top we were visited by three keas. No matter how many times I see these birds I still get a kick our beloved alpine parrots They are in trouble though. Numbers are declining. The Kea Conservation Trust NZ, assist in conservation of wild Kea (Nestor notabilis) in their natural habitat. We are all asked to send in any sightings so I clicked away as the adult who was banded stood by almost tsking as his fledglings flew up and hovered over us in the breeze. We looked in awe at their beautiful plumage, admiring them all the time.
Finally, at 1600m altitude we were greeted by a treasure to view, the huge alpine lake that is Lake Mavis.
I sent off my sightings to the kea trust who run a database and monitor numbers. It was lovely to get a note back from Di from the trust.
Thanks, heaps, for your kea sighting (#12825) and the photo.
You have 2 fledglings in your photo - maybe one female (middle) but I can't tell the other one as its head is turned away. The older banded bird is a sub adult male White D6 on green - Avis - https://keadatabase.nz/birds/avis
He was only banded very recently so it was great to get another sighting of him.
I was able to send a good photo for Avis’s profile age which is now uploaded to his site. In addition, Jo and I have decided to become sponsors for Avis, Citizen science is very powerful and we feel we have had a small stake in the success of the programme.
Getting the lake, being in the outdoors enjoying our backyard and meeting Avis and his whanau was very special, memorable time.
Keen on the outdoors, we often hike around our local area so we can pass on all our knowledge about Westland Tai Poutini National Park.