Cass was up in the mountains just before Arthur’s Pass. Our mapping area was Castle Hill Basin, just below where the final fight scene in the Narnia movie– The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe– was filmed (watch the last 30 minutes, and there is where I spent the week mapping). The scenery was unreal– no wonder they chose it for Narnia! Also some Lord of the Rings filming occurred in the area, and we think it was the Riders of Rohan, but we’ll have to verify that.
Along the way, we encountered the Kea, the world’s only mountain parrot and a trickster who will steal anything shiny.
The fieldwork was not easy: the structure of the folds was complicated and involved a lot of faulting and poor places to measure and the topography was hilly and steep. But it was really really FUN. I was pretty terrified at first to be scrambling up steep hillsides and scrambling down scree slopes but I got more used to it by the end of the week. The mapping area contained almost all sedimentary rocks, so the slopes were not so stable. One day it was particularly windy and we had to climb up to the top of this ridge, and at the top, braced against outcrops of limestone and spikey Matagari bushes.
All that work paid off and the mapping itself was less daunting than it initially seemed: we mapped 12,000 sq. meters. At the end of the week, we went to Barrytown (population 1= Barry himself, the only permanent resident in Cass) who opened up his pub and we made dinner on the grill and laughed at the silliness of a group of geologists hanging out together and getting each other’s jokes.
We then drove up to Punakaiki—a beach town to have a free day and two nights of camping on the beach. We saw the pancake rocks and walked on pebbly beaches and up rushing rivers. We saw the Southern Cross and Orion upside down in the expanse of the Milky Way. I slept in for once. The ocean was chilly and wavey and I got kicked off the beach by the high tide. It was a great break.
Just arrived in Westport for field module 3 with lots of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Lots to learn and beautiful scenery to gawk at!