he quiet here is eerie. It’s one of the first things I noticed about New Zealand. As I fill a jug for coffee from the head of a mountain stream on the South Island, there are no birds chattering or even insects humming. No coyotes howling. Even the riverbed itself is strange. The rocks—called greywacke—look like coarse stone hauled in from a quarry. The banks are lined with spear grass stout and sharp enough to pierce a calf muscle. The peaks above seem lifeless. It is, in a word, foreign. Returning to camp, I notice a small chunk of meat stuck to the outside of the tent, remnants of our savage feast the night before. David Draper is sitting in a damp chair, snapping twigs and trying to rekindle our fire, and I can tell he’s been waiting for someone else to appreciate the piece of flesh.