Plague of Mice – Anti-Crow Hut

“A Mish a Day” #159 Anti-Crow Hut. Arthurs Pass National Park. 24.2.2015. I’ve always said “the worst thing to happen to New Zealand… it was discovered”. With the discovery of the last lost world, hiding in the South Pacific Ocean, came the destruction that comes with human beings and their vermin friends. On a summer visit to Christchurch I found myself with a spare afternoon, and the craving for a mission to a hut…

A quick check of the map, and I decided on a return to Anti-Crow Hut in the Waimakariri Valley. The beech forest was in mast, and this meant a massive increase in rodent numbers as the beech trees dropped their seeds. As I drove into the small car park beside the Waimakariri River I saw a mouse dart out of the bush across the car park. I don’t think much of it as I got my gear out and got ready for another adventure into the wilderness, and I was lucky to have no rain forecast for the afternoon. I headed across the wide open spaces of Turkey Flat, towards the massive snow capped peaks of the Shaler Range, lovin’ it. The simple hike took me to the hut in about two hours, and I was happy to see the hut clean and in good condition. I had been at the hut for about an hour when I was joined by an English fella. I spent the evening collecting firewood, and then headed the surprising far distance over to the main braid of the Waimakariri River to enjoy the last of the day’s light. After sunset I headed back to the hut, and enjoyed dinner with my new hut buddy. We had a yarn over a few whiskeys and he told me about what it was like living in Arthurs Pass during a rodent takeover. The hut had a small basic mouse trap and within an hour of heading to bed we had already caught four mice with the trap, and knew with the supply of vermin if we kept removing dead mice from the trap and resetting it we would have a pile of dead mice ten feet high by the morning. I double checked my food stash, which I had hanging from a hook away from the uninvited guests, and then retreated temporarily back to my sleeping bag. I hadn’t even zipped my bag up when I heard the trap snap with another victim, and then I went to sleep to the occasional sound of tiny feet scampering around the hut. It was best to just learn to live with the little buggers, as this was their home now and we were just visiting.

I was up early-ish, as I had to get back to Christchurch and also beat the weather, and the early rise was treated with a very cool sunrise just as I stepped out of the hut into the cool morning air. As I made my way back across Turkey Flat the sky continued to darken with rain clouds, and as I looked back at the Shaler Range for the last time before entering the forest near the car park, I felt the first drop of liquid sunshine, and knew leaving early was a good idea. Can’t wait for the next adventure…

Sunrise over the Waimakariri

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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