Sunday, March 16, 2008

I Need to listen to Ry Cooder

I face a long and busy week, my most stressful of the year in a period leading up to to what I know I am exactly up against. I should be perhaps be at peace with this dead line driven part of my life, and maybe I am. Sitting here on Sunday evening with the next four days looming over me is a different picture. Yet I cannot help but laugh. It is what it is, and part of my life currently that must be dealt to, and will be done. When Tara finishes her studies it will be my turn to go explore a different, and more spiritually rewarding path. I will continue my search for finding a love of what I must do to bring in cash flow and actually really enjoying that task. Something that has eluded me thus far. I have to find those moments elsewhere. My family, friends,music, and of course, the Ruahine ranges.

I just received more photos from my treasured mate Nigel of our Ruahine ventures. I just want to post some of them, mainly so I can return here during the next week to look at them and remind myself of what awaits. To calm myself. I often return to Pohangina Pete's blog, for interesting reading and beautiful photos - many of the Ruahine. There is a link to his site at the bottom of this page. The week following Easter I am off with my son Taylor for four days in the Ruahine ranges! Though I feel some trepidation about that is well, it is a far more palatable scenario than these next 4 days. And all too soon they shall pass and I will breath the mountain air!

Taylor and his mate Ethan on Camel Back ridge - between Sunrise and Top Maropea and thus named by Taylor who has traversed it 4 times now, so has that right. This photo was taken a few years ago and Taylor and Ethan, now at Boys High, no longer are close mates, as teen age boys often find different directions. We traveled with Ethan a few times. 0n this trip we carried on to Maropea Forks and stayed there a few nights. I was glad to see that since then in the hut book that Ethan has returned with his own father. Above was his first trip into the Ruahine. I am glad to see the Ruahine impacted him in a fine way.

Gustav and I on our first visit to Maropea Forks, winter 2000. Freezing cold outside but oh so cozy with the corker blazing inside the hut. We had spent the previous night crammed into Gustav's one man bivvy along the river when we got caught by darkness. We awoke to frozen boots, hoar frost, and icy rocks. Gustav slipped and broke his hand - as it later turned out. Then we arrived at Maropea Forks, to a beautiful sunny day at this wonderful spot. What lessons were learned on that trip, on every trip.

This is Maropea Forks hut, circa 2000. The river has since changed course dramatically, and has now gouged out the shingle, grass, and trees to within 10 metres, perhaps less, of the hut. The Department of Conservation is supposedly looking at ways of stabilizing the erosion, but outside of moving the hut, I see little in the way of hoping to win this war. I suppose that is the way of nature. Yet this is a very meaningful place to many. To see the erosion in a better view from this past summer, see my Summer Wanderings 2008 post.

Above is a photo Nigel captured at sunrise while at Howlett's hut. Everything looks smooth and inviting, but not quite reality. George lowe, from the Hawkes Bay, cut his teeth on these ranges, and made mince meat out of them really. There was an air crash in the late 1940's near this hut, and lowe was called on upon after "police" led searches came up short. He found the wreckage and bodies absorbed by the leatherwood belt, and was actually criticized for not bringing out the bodies straight away. In the end huge amounts of man effort and rough tracks had to be cut in along the 0roua river to get the remains out. George went on to be as big a presence, in my humble opinion, as Hillary in the annals of New Zealand mountaineering. What a cool photo of an exceptional Ruahine spot. This one alone sends me to very calm place.

Rick and I are behind Wakelings hut on the Waikamaka river. As can be seen by its colour it was up and angry - certainly in comparison to our summer trip this past year! There would have no getting up or down the river in this state, and even getting across it after arriving from Maropea Forks was a bit dicey. But after settling in, getting a warm fire going, and finally having the rain stop after 50 some hours things were looking up. And with a wee small dram in the tin cups it was even better.

The last photo is lake Colenso - my apologies as my capital l does not work - way deep in the Ruahine and a very spiritual place in my opinion.

This is an aerial photo of Colenso : New Zealand Aerial Mapping: Survey 5752, Photo M/30, Scale 1:2500, Flown 14/10/80. The hut lies in the bottom right of the photo, obscured by trees, and the track is up above the lake and can be seen as a dark squiggly line in the bottom third of the photo. The Mangatera river meanders on by. This is a rugged area, a long way to get to from any direction. It is surrounded by bluffs and cliffs and the whole area is a natural basin, and holds very unique flora and fauna.

Well that should tide me through the next few days. A place from time to time to remind myself of another place so important to me and so far removed from the stresses and trivialities of dead lines and the like. I will sign off with a last photo below - up high on Parks Peak ridge, I spent 8 hours plugging steps through thigh deep snow and arrived at Parks Peak - which was much like sheltering inside a freezer! I did get the corker going, but it is a tough spot to find dry wood in winter, thank god for my down sleeping bag. It was minus 9 Celsius in the hut the next morning.
Still, looking back now, a thoroughly enjoyable solo experience.



Gustav said...

Kia Ora Brother

The pic of Colenso is shrouded in mystery and intrigue for me.

We were going to go to Lake Colenso on one of our trips but we were foiled by lack of time.

I have often dreamed of this magical place and the aerial photo reinforces my desire to one day
visit its saintly waters.

Excellent pics - man you and I look young in that photo at Maropea Forks...a few grains of sand have passed in the time capsule since then.

Asta Brother.


Anonymous said...

Kia ora Robb,

I wish I could join you and Taylor on the four day excursion. As you know, I love Taylor like a little brother and have nothing but respect for him. I will never forget that day when we were returning from Maropea Forks across that open area en route to Armstrong Saddle. It was raining slivered ice (I recall it building up on my coat sleeves)and was literally freezing, but he soldiered on without complaint knowing we would rig him up with a hot drink when we reached Sunrise. Suddenly, that other party loomed out of the low cloud that wreathed us and they were stunned to see an eight year old out in that kind of weather and in that kind of place. I could tell he was proud as hell as he calmly answered their questions about his age, but actually I think I was prouder of him, and of you for giving him such a gift so early in his life. Sadly, few parents make the effort. Anyway mate, happy trails and my thoughts will go with you.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora e hoa Gustav,
Yes, we were thwarted by Colenso, or maybe it just deemed to not be our time by the Ruahine Goddess. She can be moody! And perhaps a venture there now would hold more meaning for us anyway.

Tena kou Nige,
I remember as well a long walk along Parks Peak ridge with you and Taylor in the sleet and then snow, and how relieved I was to get him into warm clothes with a hot drink at the hut. He has certainly been to a few spots as a young boy not many would have been. I hope some of that returns to him, or is in there waiting to emerge, when we get out there.
You are always with me in the Ruahines brother.

Anne-Marie said...

Kia ora Robb. I hope you and Taylor have a wonderful time in the Ruahine. The sun is shining where I am right now; I hope it is for you too. [If I wasn't at work I'd be at my favourite place - the beach. Dammit!]
Ka kite,

Anonymous said...

Kia Ora Robb,

I am fairly certain that Taylor will take those memories with him for life. When you are eight, I suspect what you subconsciously choose to keep and what you discard is largely governed by either the enormity of the experience or, conversely, the sheer triviality of it. In Taylor's case I think that slogging through snow drifts in low cloud must have been a fairly awe-inspiring experience for him. I sure as hell know it was for me!

Be cool brother,


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Nige,
Aroha to you my brother. Kia ora and again I share a connection to you and these ranges that needs no explanation