Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold

Nelson Lakes National Park
And farewell, sweet January.

Forests. Beech trees. Nothofagus. Red Beech. Silver Beech. Hard Beech. Mountain Beech. Black Beech. Twistings. Soft and rotting wood, patina trunks etched in shades of white, silver, and gunmetal gray. Old trees, heavy with lichen. Bayou trees. Magic trees in a faerie wood. Trees you might fall asleep under and wake up a hundred years later.

Mountains. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I was there. High Country. Alpine. Switchbacks. Delicate, thin-stemmed, but hardy wildflowers. Ridge walk. Spine of the hills. Windy, windy. Glory, glory. Pack covers turned to sails, flapping in the gusts. Cold! For the first time since I’ve been here I was actually cold. And then cold and wet. Numb hands. Numb legs. Both bright red. Good, good. Rain. Deep, glacier-cut valleys. Golden grasses. Lichen and moss. Vegetable sheep. Frodo and Sam. Loose rock. Boulders. Perfect-bowl lakes. Tarns. Mist and shadow.

Water. Rivers, Buller and Gowan, critical migration pathways for eels traveling to and from sea. Waterfalls. Misty veils, thinned in the wind, stretched long and steep. Lakes. Big and small. An isthmus. Tent tucked between wind over water, staked into a golden sliver of lumpy ground. 

These photos say it better than I ever could, though.
A little nature porn for you….

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