Haast Pass in Mount Aspiring National Park, Makarora, New Zealand
Makarora, New Zealand
We continue our journey and finally have ample data to explore the strange phenomenon we have driven by numerous times- farmed deer. It's not met with any kind of horror like we felt in Iceland when we discovered they farm and eat horses. The horses in Iceland seem to have a worse life than we are used to expecting. They were out in open spaces with bone chilling wind and foraging through volcanic rock looking for grass under the snow. The deer here are in a lovely climate grazing on green grass and they look absolutely calm. So calm they almost look like Stepford Does. Instead of having the instinct to hide in brush during the day and only graze at dusk and dawn under cover, these deer are relaxed and chewing mid day with their chestnut coats glistening of health. The males have impressive racks. I quickly conclude my feeling is that even though they will be systematically slaughtered, they may live just as long as if in the wild and their quality of life has been greatly increased. The fear bred out of them, their squirrelish brains calmed by the presence of everything they need plus each other here in New Zealand paradise. In editing I read this last sentence and realize it's loaded with emotion and meaning for me- I am envious of their twist of fate. We later find out that they were brought here in the 70's as game but quickly grew in populations that began to threaten the local fauna so they were culled to the horror of the New Zealand people and an export market developed. Our informant reported that many farmers have a hard time doing the right thing and take to naming them.
Our second stop to stretch our legs since leaving Hakitka was determined randomly in between a couple of righteous mountains at the Haast Pass n Mount Aspiring National Park. We set off in the rainforest and crossed a couple of swingy bridges high over a river gorge built for a max of 10 and arrived at the blue pools a half hour later. These pools are so clear that fish apparently appear to be suspended in the air when in them. Fishing is prohibited and signs showing rainbow and brown trout are native. The kids start to declothe and wade in but it is dusk and adult sandflies attack Joe and the babies cover my ankles like a bad tattoo. We scream for the kids now a cliff away from us to exit the pools and they don't take us seriously and wade in further...