Thursday 6 February 2014 55 °F
Today my family and I traveled from our absolutely ghastly motel in Christchurch to the wondrous alpine world of Mt. Cook National Park.
The motel was THE WORST temporary abode we have ever stayed in; all of us agreed upon that fact. It was extremely unhealthy with regards to a mold infestation, the floor was filthy, and the toilet simply refused to flush! Then, on top of that, when we reported our problems and requested that we not pay for the night to the innkeeper, he flatly didn't believe us. Even when we led him into the bathroom which smelled acutely of mold, he didn't believe us because "he can't see the mold." What a liar, what a cheat. Anyway, my mom and dad bartered hard enough on our behalf that we got the night free because of the harrowing experience we had to endure. Our lungs are literally still recovering from the elongated exposure to mold spores. My mom and dad will report that motel to the Christchurch health department, and hopefully no future customers will have to be exposed to mold in that horrific place.
My dad allowed me to use his name when I was writing this scathing review in the motel review card:
We were out of that hellhole before six in the morning.
Our first stop of the day was at McDonald's where we had a fine breakfast and brushed our teeth in the bathrooms. Because the bathroom in our motel in Christchurch was the epicenter of the mold, when we were in the McDonald's bathrooms it was the first time we have ever enjoyed the "fresh air" of a public bathroom. Then, we hit the road for Mt. Cook National Park. Our first stop was our lunch stop on the shores of the beautiful Lake Tekapo. Here is the view from our lunch stop:
I saw a cute, albeit introduced COMMON REDPOLL during lunch:
Our second and final stop was at an overlook at the gorgeous Lake Pukaki and our first look at the magnificent Mt. Cook and the surrounding craggy, snow-blanketed peaks that make up Mt. Cook National Park:
Mt. Cook and the surrounding mountains and national park are quite the study of superlatives. Mt. Cook is the highest peak in New Zealand, the park contains Tasman Glacier, the longest glacier in New Zealand and one of the longest alpine glaciers in the world, and about one third of the national park is perpetually covered in snow and ice, giving it an otherworldly affect.
Before checking in at our CLEAN chalet (sigh of relief inserted here), we took a two hour hike in a beautiful valley in the national park. Here are some photos of us and the scenery from the hike:
After dinner I saw a hyperactive RIFLEMAN (the bird of course). I have no idea why this little wren is named a rifleman, but that's its official name. Sadly, it was too active for decent photographs.
It was a great day, and it is quite a relief to be back in a clean chalet. The mountains here are stunning; we can see about five glaciers from our humble abode along with numerous craggy mountain peaks. Bird-of-the-day to the RIFLEMAN, the only life bird today. Hopefully tomorrow I will find two classic New Zealand alpine birds: Alpine Parakeet (Kea) and New Zealand Rock Wren.
World Life List: 512 Species (1 life bird today)