Friday 7 February 2014 70 °F
In this case, the title of this post describes an immensely challenging but an immensely rewarding hike my family and I did today in Mt. Cook National Park.
But before I get too ahead of myself, let me tell the events of the day in a chronological photo story.
After our continental breakfast, I squeezed in some birding before the hike. I saw RIFLEMEN (wrens), including the two which have their hindquarters pictured below:
I also got my life bird ALPINE PARAKEETS (or Keas), but sadly despite their friendly reputation, they were quite shy and only one allowed for this cruddy far-off photograph:
Finally, I photographed this male COMMON BLACKBIRD (an introduced species from Europe):
Then, my family and I went on our very strenuous hike. My sister Pearl, who is six years old, was quite the trooper today because this hike was quite challenging for even me, and she completed the hike without complaining. The hike was about two thousand vertical feet of elevation gain, and we counted 1,947 stairs.
Here is a photo of my mom and Pearl on the way up:
The goal for my family was a small alpine lake called Sealy Tarn, but I decided to continue on the trail by myself and go to the snowline. Once I arrived at the snowline, I was so hot and sweaty that I slid down a snowfield in summer clothing. It was so fun!
Pearl posing on the way down the trail:
As we were leaving the national park later that day I snapped one last photo of Mt. Cook (tallest mountain) and the surrounding snow-covered peaks:
Our only stop on the drive to Lake Hawea was to get some ice cream as a reward for completing a strenuous hike. Our hotel at Lake Hawea is clean and spacious which is nice.
Bird-of-the-day to my life bird ALPINE PARAKEET, even though it was annoyingly a bit reclusive. Tomorrow I will take a hike to Rob Roy Glacier near Lake Hawea. Hopefully I will be able to touch a glacier for the first time in my life!
Stay tuned and good birding as always,
World Life List: 513 Species (1 new life bird today: Alpine Parakeet)