The Valley of the Mother of Rainbows
While the rain forest is 20 km to the west on the other side of the continental divide the name Te Ko Awa a Aniwaniwa, the valley of the mother of rainbow is a hint.
Today we discovered the laundry, the boot drying room and the coat drying room. Hiking before the rainiest part of the day has been our mantra. Yesterday we dashed up the ridge to a Shepard’s hut. As we climbed the beech trees got shorter and shorter as the light green mosses hanging from their limbs grew longer and longer. This ridge line hike, darting between high wetlands and old beeches was Gandalf’s favorite. Ian McKellen stayed here to escape the hubbub of filming the Lord of the Ring. Then he was known as a famous Shakespearean actor not a tall wizard.
The mistletoe around the Lodge is about to burst into bloom. Geese parasitic vines hug the beech trees sucking water and nutrients from the trees. The mistletoe fruits and flowers are the favorite of the endemic birds who relocate the seeds. The yellow vine has sticky seeds that attach onto the bird feet’s until the bird scrapes them off. The red depends on being excreted onto another tree. The mistletoe we grew up with used for holiday romance was dangerous to eat. With no native predators New Zealand mistletoe is not toxic and is a delicious treat for both possum and deer. Poison keeps the possum away around the lodge and the tourists generally scare away the deer from the Rainbow Valley Nature trail. Tourists young and old alike are encourage to pull up “Christmas Trees” (wilding Douglas firs). The three blond Australian boys soon have armfuls of sweet smelling trees.
Jean the 4 year old daughter of Michael and Hannah happily trots down the Rainbow Valley trail in the rain followed by her pet lamb Candy. Her feet are happily tucked in a pair of glittery rainbow unicorn boots. As a good friend of mine says “there is no bad weather just bad clothing.” Jean’s rainbow boots are perfect for New Zealand.