Juliet – Blog 3
January 13, 2017

Another week down, and many more adventures had! This past week has consisted of more trap checking, some wasp monitoring and GIS mapping of bit and bobs for the bio team. Have managed to cover a fair bit of ground in the Nelson Lakes National Park and the Big Bush Conservation Area now, all still without a single wasp sting! The forest starts to hum once it starts to warm up about mid-morning, and with an average of 12 nests per hectare of beech forest I’m feeling lucky to not have trodden on a nest (cross fingers for the rest of my time here).

Graeme monitoring the presence of honeydew droplets on a red beech tree. Almost all trees had little to no honeydew present – a good indication that the area is swarming in wasps.

With this weekend being the long weekend I decided to adventure more. The weather finally fining up and on Saturday I went on a mission up the St Arnaud Track to parachute rocks, up to the top of the ridge and over to explore the collection of tarns. Tarns are small lakes in alpine areas that have formed predominantly in association with glacial features such as cirque basins and kettleholes.

Some of the many tarns up the St Arnaud Range.

Ancient glaciers have shaped the dramatic landscape of the Nelson Lakes with loose scree and hanging U-shaped valleys with an alpine fault that runs the length of the South Island cutting through the northern boundary of the park. The fault then heads east-northeast across the head of Lake Rotoroa, across Lake Rotoiti and then down the Wairau Valley.

Another beautiful day on Sunday called for an overnight trip to Angelus lake. Lucky enough to snag the last bed in the hut I set off bright and early up the Mt Robert ridge. The walk up was breathtaking – quite literally taking my breath away with gale force winds almost blowing me off at times (I was almost tempted to fill my bag with rocks to try and weigh me down a little!).

The track winds around Mt Julius.

The last uphill climb was well worth it, instantly forgetting my slightly fatigued legs the lake was finally (almost) within arms reach! After a night of cards with new friends and a lovely hike among the clouds I was well walked out for the week.

First sight of Lake Angelus, with the hut perched on the shore.