It's raining.

So I just spent eight idyllic days in New Zealand's south-west.

By idyllic I mean constantly grey, rare glimpses of sun, almost unremittingly bleak but isolated and beautiful.

On my second day the rain dumped almost continuously for 24 hours, leading our group to cancel all plans and retire to our beds reading.  What a great day, listening to the rain on the roof and reading a rather odd New Zealand novel called, 'The Scarecrow.'

We hiked the Copland track to Welcome Flats, 18km up through the rainforest.  It is so wet in this region that the more experienced hikers didn't carry water bottles- they carried cups to drink from the pristine streams.  Amazing!  The following day some people hiked to Douglas Hut and back.  I hiked only halfway and lay in a meadow reading and napping.  You may notice the pattern emerging.  Nothing enhances a nice reading-nap like a grassy meadow with 3000 metre peaks and waterfalls in every direction.  

Other highlights were soaking in the natural hot pools (again: views of 3000 metre peaks, rainforest and waterfalls), kayaking through the forest in Hokatika and discovering that the NZ sandflies had no interest in me.  And, of course, the rain.

This poem from the Haast Beach visitor centre neatly captures the situation:

It rained and rained and rained 
The average fall was well maintained 
And when the tracks were simple bogs 
It started raining cats and dogs. 
After a drought of half an hour 
We had a most refreshing shower 
And then most curious thing of all 
A gentle rain began to fall. 
Next day but one was fairly dry 
Save for one deluge from the sky 
Which wetted the party to the skin 
And then at last the Rain set in! 
(Anon)

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