Destination = Lake Alabaster, New Zealand
On the South Island it's first light; there's the cough and splutter of a single outboard, the slow moving tinnie, low in the water, laden with 5 orange-capped Kiwi hunters; already a speck in the brooding shadow of far forest shores.
We're in Fiordland, hiking the `Land of the Long White Cloud' and my girlfriend shouts from a slippery pebble beach. "Hey, in there, you really need to see this."
I rush for the door and outside on the verandah. There's a severed stag head propped by a tree: a hunters' trophy, complete with antlers, wide eyes like brown glass - the noble beast just vermin here.
The air's so cold and crisp; early light washed, wine-dark water still; the smell of last night's rain, wet rotting leaves, dank moss... and burning toast.
Photo: All Smoke and Mirrors - Lake Alabaster, South Island, New Zealand _ Ian Cochrane