A couple of years ago I went on a road trip with Dr Jo through Central Otago, inland from the coast on which we both reside and right into the midst of the strange lakes and arid mountains of that massively scenic region. It was late autumn.
'Central' is very sparsely populated, a happy circumstance for any contemplative invert; in fact, it is beyond lonely, its prevailing character (to me) being one of ambient spookiness. I find Lake Wanaka (left) particularly haunting and don't care to spend much time staring into its endless blue volumes for a variety of reasons. It is a hungry place to me, latent and sinister, both passive and aggressive.
It's photogenic enough though, as is its smaller neighbour, Lake Hawea, which also features here. Strangely this latter body possesses none of Wanaka's negativity despite lying less than a click distant and sharing its geological features. Why do expanses of water seemingly accrue their own character and energy? Perhaps they are a lens for the forces that surround them. Maybe it's just my anthropomorphic bullshit.
There was a stretch of mixed exotic and nature forest behind the camping ground, grading up into the hill above. It had been partially burnt out and was full of the sour dark colours and smells of dead vegetation, a blanket of damp charcoal collapsing underfoot as we walked through it. There is something intensely pathetic about blackened trees, their tilted, twisted forms sagging and capitulating while their surviving neighbours divide their decaying substance between themselves and enjoy the sunlight admitted by their demise. All kinds of unfamiliar fungi were emerging; porcelain white and gleaming caviar-coloured mycena, chrome-yellow amanitas and dour, spongey boletus.
Looking over these images strengthens my previously-stated (in the Glacier post) conviction that mountains are a universal thing; these scenes could be virtually anywhere on the planet. They could be Kashmir or British Colombia or Bolivia. Pas d'importance. They'll all be called something else in due course.
We don't associate snow with xmas down here; it's a June/July/August thing for us.
I'll post some images from those sorties next time.