Magical forests, butterflies – memories to carry and share

After a wild and prolonged spell of spring weather it is looking a little like the flavour of summer is now settling on the Southern Alps, and from where I’m sitting in same at Aspiring Hut in the West Matukituki Valley in Mount Aspiring National Park it’s a reminder of the magic of the seasons.

The hut wardening job is turning out to be all I hoped for, so for this post I thought I’d gather together lots of photos to illustrate the nature of the job.

School groups come no matter what the weather, because I guess they’ve been planned for ages. I don’t interact with them much, but do clean up after them [not onerous]…
Aspiring hut school group


There have been a surprising number of older overseas students doing environmental studies, and I’ve even been interviewed by some of them. I think they learn more about what goes on the outdoors of this country, than most of the locals do.

A WildLand Studies group camping by the hut…
Aspiring hut camping


Lambing is all over down the valley, and the lambs are growing really fast. The cattle always seem to stay the same, and I often marvel at how they can cross the river in conditions that I’d not even try…
Cattle crossing Matukituki


I’ve previously posted pictures of the historic Mt Aspiring Hut, so here are some of the warden’s quarters and the toolshed behind the hut – this shot taken on the little track I travel daily to check the hut water supply…
Aspiring hut wardens quarters


The settling tank [left] and the holding tanks that feed all our needs, especially the flush toilets [which I’ve found use a surprising amount of water]. Should the water intake get clogged by sediment or vegetation then these tanks would only keep things going for about two hours if the hut was full with 30-40 people…
Aspiring hut water supply


Both my warden’s quarters and the main hut have a backup rain water supply for emergencies. My one was quite polluted with leaf litter and soot, so I spent a day dismantling it, getting it on the ground, then crawling partway into it to scrub it out. The boxes on the outside of the wall are for the fridge and for the on-demand supply of hot water…
Aspiring hut wardens quarters


It’s not all beer and skittles on a day like this one. Severe SW gales race across the sky, leaving shadows to catch up on the mountains, not to mention the odd raindrop. Not the place up there on Glengyle for a butterfly…
Glengyle from Aspiring hut


But around the hut ever since mid Oct. a butterfly flutters about bringing such incongruous feelings on days like this one. It seems such an unlikely companion to myself on “my rounds”, [whom it’s said travels a bit like a bear in the mountains – not with a sore head I might add]…
Aspiring hut toilets


On sunny days I leave the butterfly meadows for track work up valley. This involves crossing Rough Creek by swing bridge. Quite a high one at that – the assistance of wings could be welcome…
Rough Creek Mt Aspiring National Park


A butterflies view of Rough Creek…
Rough Creek Mt Aspiring National Park


A really big event in the valley a couple of weeks ago was a poison drop. I was not directly involved in this predator control, as I have my own workload, but none-the-less there were things to do, and I had other DOC staff staying with me a couple of nights.

A stoat like this may not look it, but they’re a very efficient and deadly killing machine. I had to retrieve this one, so it could be analysed as to cause of death…
Mt Aspiring National Park Stoat


Roaming about on predator and native bird work I get to spend time in some magnificent stands of native red beech. It is just pure magic to spend a few hours at a time in such places.

I’ll carry what are for me highly emotional memories of these places wherever I go, as they’re now lodged in my heart…
Mt Aspiring National Park red beech


Unfortunately little fledgling robins like this do fall out of nests – at least that is the assumption, so I carried this one back and stored it in my freezer pending my return to Wanaka, where it can be examined…
South Island Robyn fledgling


Lunch time by a delightful creek so typical of the Otago Alps, and no sandflies…
Aspiring Hut warden Donald Lousley


Other tasks include getting firewood ready for when I’ll need it in Feb/March [yes summer is short in the Southern Alps]. And although there will be no warden in the winter we’ll be up there regularly doing bird work, and we’ll soon go through heaps…
Splitting wood at Aspiring hut


We also keep the grass around the buildings tidy. We were using a weed eater, but it’s slow and the people traipse the grass into the hut, so I resurrected my old lawn mower and have lent it to DOC. It’s like part of the family, and who would have ever thought during those hours of mowing sections in Twizel years ago, that it’d end up in the very heart of such beautiful mountains…
Mowing grass at Aspiring hut


My days up there are becoming reminiscent of the 70’s when we were all off-line.

I think we need to be attracted less to glamour and be on our guard to investments we can inadvertently make in same, and tune in more to the wonders of nature around us.

Birds can teach us much [who after all naturally live between the skies and ground, so you could say spiritually speaking they link lightly to heavenly spaces], as can the flow of water – the greatest force that shapes our planet.

While we stress and live anywhere but in the present, they flow on seemingly not ruffled by our daily dramas and worries. They’re in the moment, for centuries!

Which bought to mind the lyrics of the song; We Need A Whole Lot More Of Jesus (And A Lot Less Rock & Roll) by Linda Ronstadt: Written by Wayne Raney

Whatever our beliefs maybe we do need to get back to them!

Well you can read it in the morning papers
Hear it on the radio
Crime is sweeping the nation
This world is about to go

We need a good old case of salvation
To put the love of God in our souls
We need a whole lot more of Jesus
And a lot less rock and roll

We need more old time camp meetings
And a lot more prayers of faith
Prayers that will move a mountain
Save our souls from the burning waste

We need a good old case of salvation
To put the love of God in our souls
We need a whole lot more of Jesus
And a lot less rock and roll

We need more old fashioned preachers
Pouring out their hearts in prayer
When you’re in their presence
Well you know that the Lord is there

We need a nationwide revival
To put the love of God in our souls
We need a whole lot more of Jesus
And a lot less rock and roll

We need a whole lot more of Jesus
And a lot less rock and roll

About this Like Minds Blog Donald Lousley