Earlier in the year we had bought a hiking backpack that would allow us to go walking with Alayna and allow her to have a good view. This weekend just gone we decided it was time to test it out and see how Alayna would like it so we planned an afternoon at Zealandia. The morning was spent at home with Alayna playing around with her toys. She was a little unsettled but perked up whenever the cats came by. Cadbury and Earl are still not sure about Alayna but seem to realise that Alayna doesn’t move very fast so they’re fine as long as they keep their distance. Alayna will roll around to get where she wants but hasn’t yet figured out crawling, her attempts generally seeing her moving a small distance backwards and leading to frustration. No doubt it’ll all click soon enough and then the cats will no longer be safe, or at least will need to be even more wary.
On to Zealandia and Alayna was seating in the backpack. She seemed to be happy, possibly because it was comfortable and she had something to easily suck on. Alayna is teething and currently has one bottom tooth and two eye teeth at the top coming through. As such she enjoys having something to place in her mouth and the backpack has a bumper pad at mouth height that suits her needs perfectly.
Having a forward facing view made for a very happy wee girl and Alayna was constantly checking out our surroundings. At one point while we were watching a friendly toutouwai Alayna was reaching out to a nearby plant and grabbed a leaf for sampling. Keryn was quick to spot this and the plant matter was removed before ingestion.
With Alayna comfortable we took a longer than usual walk. Keryn had mentioned on a previous visit that she hadn’t walked the round the lake track so we headed up to the dam and took started clockwise around the upper lake. The forest was lush and being autumn there were lots of plants producing berries and seeds. This meant a lot of food for birds and we had a number of great viewing experiences. Three or four times we stopped because we’s see birds nearby and then over the next few minutes we’d count three or four species in the immediate vicinity. Family groups of tieke, flocks of popokotea, toutouwai chasing each other around the trees, dozens of tui and kaka calling frequently when they weren’t seen nearby.
We were also entertained by piwakawaka, saw tuatara and I caught a brief glimpse of kakariki and as we left the valley there were pairs of kereru to be seen flying back into the valley. The walk went well for Alayna and she remained happy and interested so long as we didn’t stop for extended periods. She also found it funny to reach out and grab my hair when I was looking up into the canopy. The only downside was a lack of sleep, the walk just too stimulating for rest to be considered.