Friday, December 19, 2008

Hononga (Connection)



I have often heard people not "into" the world of blogging comment on the potential negative aspects of using such a tool. That we can choose our persona, that we can put up an image of who we wish we really were rather than are, that it is simply ego based self gratification, that we are interacting not with people but rather with cerebral entities, and so on. I sometimes wondered myself what exactly I am getting out of this pursuit, perhaps these points are well taken. I cannot write for others what their experiences have been, I can only share mine. This is my truth, and I have always felt that if I write from my heart, honestly, and genuinely, that the connections I make here will reflect that, ( and possibly even improve my writing). Here is another truth. Since starting this place a little over a year ago I have connected with many people here, and I have actually met in person 4 individuals with whom I established a relationship with via this medium. Each one of those has been exactly the person reflected in their writings, each one has improved my life in some small way, or big way, and each one is as open, honest, and genuine as I strive to be. So I am four for four, 100% accurate in connecting with people I share with here in person. I have little doubt now, that the other people I frequently interact with would be exactly the same. I like the odds.




Tara and I have just returned from a trip to the South Island. Our first real experience of any duration together, alone, in almost 15 years. So it was a reconnection of very important and renewing depth for ourselves as well. We were invited down south by the man pictured on the left, Bob Mckerrow, whom I met through the blog. Bob is back in Christchurch and had both knees replaced less than a month ago, and as is his nature and in spite of being in a lot of pain, took advantage of the time to bring people together. Bob runs the Red Cross in Indonesia, and has been involved with them and other humanitarian work since the early 1970's. A native Kiwi he has spent extensive time in India, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and too many places to list here, at the forefront of war, disaster, and famine. Long after the news media loses interest in places like Aceh, people like Bob remain behind. He has also spent time in Antarctica, been to the North Pole, is an accomplished climber and kayaker, and is also an author and poet. Blob's blog is at : http://bobmckerrow.blogspot.com/

Bob invited Tara and I down, having never met us before, and on crutches met us at the airport along with his lovely daughter Aroha. That afternoon, and stretching long into the evening, he hosted a barbecue attended by a fairly amazing and accomplished group of people. In the photo above are Bob, Tara - my amazing wife, and to the right is Ed Cotter. Ed is a legendary mountaineer in the world of climbing. A contemporary of Ed Hillary, George Lowe, Norm Hardie, he climbed with Hillary in the Himalaya's and probably most of the high peaks in New Zealand and was also instrumental in the establishment of the Great Walks of the South Island. At age 82 he is still active in the hills. I was in awe of him, yet he had no ego whatsoever, just a genuine and calm presence, and put me completely at ease. He started to ask me about my travels in the Ruahines, saying he had heard good things about them, and then complimenting me when I told him I often venture out alone! A guy who has done what he has saying that to me. I felt 10 feet tall.




Pictured above to the left of Ed Cotter is Colin Monteath. Colin is one of the worlds leading Nature photographers, writer, and mountaineer. He has traveled the world and is particularly a leading expert on Antarctica, having spent summers there for over 27 years. He established a publishing company named Hedgehog Press, with the ideal of "increasing the awareness of the need to look after the polar and mountain regions of the world". His web site is at : http://www.hedgehoghouse.com/ .

Colin and his wife Betty were both lovely, friendly, and a joy to meet.




Enjoying a red wine with Bob is Robert (Bob) Headland. Bob came along with Colin and Betty and had just docked in Lyttleton after returning from Antarctica. A delightful man, I found out the next day he is considered the worlds leading authority on Antarctica. The information below was taken off the website for Quark Expeditions: http://www.quarkexpeditions.com/

Robert Keith Headland
Bob Headland is a Senior Associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge. His principal interest is historical geography, specifically concerning human effects on polar regions. Bob is an adviser to several expeditionary organizations, departments of government, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a member of the Institute for Historical Research of the University of London. His published works include books and numerous articles on his specializations. In 1984, he was decorated with the Polar Medal and is a member of both the Arctic Club and the Antarctic Club.
Bob is the historian aboard the Northeast Passage and Arctic Islands expeditions in the boreal summer of 2008.


Robin Judkins, founder of the Speights Coast to Coast Race, one of the fathers of Adventure Racing, artist and raconteur. An old friend of Bob's.



Robb with Bob and Ed. Pretty heady company at this function for the likes of me, but I guess life is about learning, meeting new people, and finding new paths to pursue. It was really a lovely evening. Bob's daughters Ruia and Aroha, and Ruia's partner Gavin providing an array of nibbles and a fine cook up, chops cooked perfectly!

Another interesting person there, whom left a bit before I was brave enough to get out my camera was Jamie, another person connected with through the blog. Jamie had just returned from China and was finishing up a stint as the director at the Arthur's Pass Outdoor Recreation Centre. He invited Tara and I to drive up into the mountains and spend a day or two with him at Arthur's Pass, one of the famous and historic South Island mountain areas. How could we say no?










While the above photos are all in the Arthur's Pass area and taken along the road, they were not taken by me. For two reasons, one being that the whole day was either raining steadily or torrential so our view was very narrow, and secondly after doing a walk in the rain with Jamie up to the Devil's Punchbowl, pictured above, my camera completely malfunctioned. So the above photos were all supplied by Bob, and certainly give a taste of what the area is like. My goodness, the possibilities in those mountains is only limited by the imagination, and skill level.

Tara and I drove to the village and met Jamie. Jamie's parents Chris and Debbie run the information centre for the Department of Conservation and live right in the middle of the small village Arthur's Pass, population 40. They kindly offered us a place to stay, lit the fire, and left us to enjoy the rain, the shimmering white water falls forming on the steep hill sides, and a fine library to browse through. Eventually I had to get amongst this place, rain or no rain, and Jamie and I walked up to the Devil's Punchbowl, and hours walk or so. Any time spent in Nature is valuable to me, and judging by the smile on Jamie's face, to him as well. How cool to walk in the rain and get to know someone I have become connected with via this way and feel completely comfortable doing so. These moments are ones we recognize and grab onto, or let them slip away, and I am getting better and more intuitive at knowing when they are here. This was one.

Later, joined by Tara, Chris, and Debbie, we retired to the local, and only, pub - The Wobbly Kea, for a few libations and then returned to the house for a lovely dinner prepared by Debbie. Afterwards we enjoyed a fine evening around the fire, a robust discussion, laughter and stories, and a few wee drams as well! Tara tried Stone's Ginger Wine for the first time, and judging by the small amount left in the bottle at the end of the evening seemed to enjoy it. Chris and Debbie on our next trip through we will bring another bottle. The hospitality of our hosts was exceptional and a day and evening Tara and I will recall fondly.



















I returned to the Arthur's Pass highway on my own a day later. Leaving Bob's house early in the morning, again an overcast slightly drizzly day, but I had to get out and climb up something. I stopped at the Korowai / Torlesse Tussocklands and headed off. I was fairly limited as I had no pack, extra gear, compass, or water, but stuffing a few big juicy apples and some cashews in my pockets started climbing into the mist. I climbed about two hours up, to around 1100 metres or so judging by my map, and it started getting a bit windier, wetter, and colder. I could see the higher peaks above me emerge through the mist from time to time, the whole scene not unlike many experiences in the Ruahines. Had I been better equipped I would have gone on, but climbing into unknown terrain in cloudy, wet conditions alone and with no equipment is just not very smart, so I just enjoyed walking back down thinking, and being lost in the moment. I was surprised to see the the car suddenly appear in front of me. How the mountains call to me.























Kura Tawhiti is a large area of an ancient limestone sea bed now eroded into fantastic shapes and sizes. Not much further up the road to Arthur's Pass than Korowai/Torlesse area I drove up hoping to get a few photos we had missed in the rain a few days earlier. Just as I arrived there the sun came out and so I walked up amongst these amazing formations, and then spent a few hours just roaming around them. The sense of energy I felt here literally pulsated, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. At one point way in the back of them I felt the Earth gently calling me to lie down on this sun warmed limestone and connect to Her. I fell asleep amongst this mystical place, surrounded by mountains on a bed of warm smooth limestone. As I pulled out of the parking area onto the road it began to rain again.

Later when I returned to Bob's I was almost reluctant to tell him of my experience when he asked what I had done that day. So I simply said I had been to Kura Tawhiti, and that I sensed a lot of energy there. Bob just looked at me and told me it is a very spiritual place, his connection to it, and how the ancient Maori used its caves and local streams to shelter and gather food on their journeys across the island. I, too, somehow feel part of it, or at least cognizant of its pull.




Bob signing my copy of his book, Teichelmann, for me enjoying the afternoon sun with his brand new knees.

I would like thank Bob, his daughters Ruia and Aroha, Ruia's partner Gavin, for their unflinching hospitality. It was really a special experience and they are all wonderful people. Also to Jamie, and his parents Chris and Debbie, it was delightful, and Jamie we hope to see you up here! The South Island is a beautiful magical place, full of wonderful people, and I can't wait to get back to explore more of her charms.


Always good to get home to these two though! Happy Holidays to all, may you all be blessed with joy and happiness!
Aroha,
Robb

49 comments:

Maithri said...

Dear Robb,

What an awesome post!

Loved the pics and reading of your connections with these amazing people...

When I first heard the term 'blogosphere' i thought it was all a bit of a joke... But the more i am involved in this practice the more I realise that everywhere, there are like minds, kindred spirits who are doing their best to live their truth and make whatever difference they can...

It reminds me of our oneness as human beings.

Wishing you and your beautiful family a peaceful Christmas season,

and much love and laughter in the year ahead,

Maithri

Marja said...

What an amazing post. Made me feel I was there. How great to meet all these interesting people. Nice to have talked to you and sorry for me being busy all the time.
I didn't know the Maori name of the place with the rocks We call it Castle Hill rocks and the Dalai Lama has declared it the spiritual centre of the world.
great that you could sense the energy. It is also used as background in the movie Narnia
Your visit was way to short. you should spent a holiday on the South island . There are such amazing tracks here
wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year and hope to meet you next time. Ka kite ano, marja

PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

Kia ora Robb

This is a fantastic blog you have written. You have provided awesome pictures to support your contention and to give me the good news about Bob. I'm so elated that you and your wife have taken the time to visit Bob and to send my way those pictures of him with his contemporary mates. Looking at those pictures of Bob I see that he is doing very well on the road to full recovery, thanks heaven for that. Tara is as beautiful as you said and she is quite photogenic too and so are your sons. I still have plans to revisit New Zealand but must include Australia as well sometime during the late part of next year, God willing. I hope to meet as many of my blogging friends when I do get to visit countries mentioned.

Thank you very much for posting those links. I take blogging seriously and I'm drawn to blogs that feed my curiosity on things that mean so much to me. The list is huge.

The blogger's profile is one of the many ways that defines serious bloggers in the blogsphere world, my opinion really. If my posting of comments seem to be tardy please be assured that I do read everyday those blogs I'm following through google reader but I find this facility is inadequate so it is imperative that I visit the site to post my comments. So my next urgent stop is at Bob's place. Then at those new links you have given and many other blogs as well.

Again thank you very much for sharing your holiday experience. You are indeed a great reporter and your writing tends to connect the reader in wonderful ways. So until I come your way again do have a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

Paterika

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Robb, what an AMAZING spiritual and inspirational adventure Tara and you were on!!! Your great imagery and photos brought it into my living room and I am in awe of your experiences. Tara and you will count the days until you can have this great connection with special people and nature again. What a great bonding time. :D WOOT!!!

This has to be the best blog post on the Internet ever!!!

Happy Holidays!

Hugs, JJ

Bob McKerrow said...

Kia Ora Robb

Now in Timaru for another Tamasha. My son in law is playing the guitar in the background as I type. My five daughters will be coming round soon for an early lunch having travelled from all corners of Kiwiland. You and Tara left a lot of Aroha in Ch Ch and the Southern Alps and your new friends ask after you. Robert Headland's icebreaker makes its way to Antarctica. He'll have a white Christmas.

Love to the family.

Bob

ophelia rising said...

Robb, beautiful, as always. I'm so glad you had such an amazing visit, and am equally glad that you've found such lovely people through this strange blogging world.

I have to say that the rock formations really struck me - they are certainly PEOPLE-like in their spirit, and I can feel them, just in looking at the photographs. I so much wish I could be there to see them in person. Perhaps, someday. Truly, the most spiritual pinacle one can hope to experience is when one is connected to rock, trees, mountains, brush, gardens, sky, etc. I can't imagine anything more spiritual.

Thank you for sharing this. I send much love to you and your family.

Greg Brave said...

Hi Robb,
Reading your posts is becoming a tradition for me. It lifts me up and reminds me that there are so much great people out there! You just need to know where to look...
Wish I could spend a week or two on South Island these days. There are a lot of tramps that I have to walk there!

vegetablej said...

The smiles and your big eyes say it all. How nice to know you and Tara had this wonderful visit just before Christmas, and so good that you met these people through blogging.

I am a definte blogging proponent. It's too easy just to be cynical about everything. It takes effort to be doing something positive and sharing it, for those of us who want to read. And I loved reading this!

Stones from the bottom of the ocean travelling to the top of a mountain, that in itself is a wonder. And they do look powerful.

Seeing the smiles of Tara and the boys makes me think you will be having such a good Christmas.

Warmest wishes to you all! :)

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Maithri,
Thank you my friend. This experience has really opened my eyes to the possibilities we have here. Sharing with each other, teaching and learning with each other, and growing as people. To find out in person my instincts of being open and honest are indeed the Right Path has been inspirational to me. Our best wishes to you as well for the Season and year ahead. I shall look forward to following your journey.
Rangimarie,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marja,
Yes, it was at least good to connect with you on the phone and hear your voice. I hope to plan a much more extensive trip, perhaps next year?
Thank you for the info about Kura Tawhiti. If the Dalai Lama believes it is the Spiritual Centre of the Universe I certainly won't disagree. It is a very powerful place and my experience there was wonderful and renewing.
Enjoy your holiday with your brother and my best wishes of the season to you.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Paterika,
Cheers to you my lovely friend. Should your Journey bring you this way our home is open to you.
Yes, Bob is getting much better, and the improvement in him in the 5 days I was around him was great, though he still has a long journey ahead. The routine of recovery is very tedious for such a man and this (blogging) is certainly one thing he greatly enjoys.
Thank you for your visits here, you are another we thought of at that gathering and how we are all connected. Have a lovely Christmas!
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Tena koe JJ,
I thought you would enjoy this post. I can visualize you and Jeff at Kura Tawhiti and know you sense what I did there. Hopefully one day eh!
It is pretty neat to meet people we connect with and have it all be an enriching experience. Very validating.
Thanks for the compliment, pretty high praise!
My best wishes to you, Jeff, and family.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
I hope you all had a wonderful night of celebration of life and being together again.
We took a lot of Aroha home with us as well, and I am still buzzing from the experience.
I hope your improvement grows in leaps and bounds and was glad to read your doctor is very pleased with your progress. The thought of you climbing a mountain brings a smile to my face!
Please give my regards, love, and best wishes to your beautiful family from both Tara and I.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Ophelia,
I KNOW you and Robin would love Kura Tawhiti, and all of New Zealand for that matter. I had a very magical experience while there and thought of you both. If this adventure taught me anything it is that it may be entirely possibble for you to see this place! How cool would that be!
Ophelia my best holiday wishes and aroha to you and your beautiful family.
Aroha,
Robb

pohanginapete said...

Ah, I'd have loved to have been there with you and Tara and Bob and the others. Maybe another time. I'm off up the Pohangina on the whio survey in the morning; out on Christmas Eve, so if you're around during the week between Christmas and New Year I'd love to catch up. In the meantime, my very best wishes to all of you for a wonderful Christmas. Cheers Robb!

ophelia rising said...

Robb, I just have to comment on your comment, and say that I would LOVE to come to NZ one day. That would be incredibly cool. It won't be soon (finances won't allow at this point), but maybe someday Robin and I could both take a trip, and then you and Tara might show us this amazing spot.

I find it endlessly fascinating how certain places in the world have such a spiritual "hum" to them. Is it something physically within the earth itself, a sort of magnetic pull? Or is it a spiritual center, somehow manifested in a certain location, from centuries of divine souls? I only know that I can certainly "feel" the energy in places, and notice that some have a much stronger level of spirit than others. It's a mystery, and perhaps I don't want it to be solved or explained. Maybe some things are better just felt, and left at that.

adam said...

Criminy sakes. This is one for the ages. The photos, the boys, the family, the friends, and heck, you look great with what looks like a sharp, new haircut.
I am jealous, though, and somewhat worried that your perfect record would be in jeopardy if I was fortunate enough to make it down to Aotearoa. Nah, after thinking about it, I'm very envious of your good times, though I'm deeply happy you're having them!
Things have been good here, with intermittent maladies sweeping through the gang of eight and a few situations to work through, including politics and uncertainties at the school I work at and a small-town debacle over a spring here in town involving a committee i co-chair. I have been loony-busy and humbly submit this as an apology for another of my moody disappearances from the radar.
Oh, I love the photos. I am drinking them in like the elixir of temperate summer that they are.
All the best of the season to you, Tara, and the boys.
All the best, indeed.
Adam

Joe McCarthy said...

Robb,

Thanks, as always, for sharing your inspiring insights and experiences.

It hardly surprises me that you've connected with other adventurous souls through the blogosphere, and through the blogosphere, in person (and in nature).

As is often the case when I read your wonderful posts, I'm reminded of the poet David Whyte; in this case, his invitations to find the essence of our living "by hazarding our best gifts in the world". The theme of a willingness, and even dedication, to hazarding oneself seems to flow through all the people you described meeting ... and, I might add, through the person writing those descriptions :-).

While looking at those amazing photos of Kura Tawhiti, I was reminded of photos I've seen of Machu Picchu, and your description of the energy you felt there is reminiscent of reports I've heard and read from others of a similar energetic vibe at that sacred site. Alas, I've no first-hand experience - yet - with either of these places.

But, as you note (in so many words), there are no ordinary moments, and there is abundant energy to tap into wherever we are, whenever we're willing to really pay attention.

Thanks for helping me sit up and pay greater attention for at least a few moments.

I wish you, your family, and your friends - online and offline - a happy holiday season!

Joe.

Jamie said...

Hey Robb (and Tara lurking around there on the penumbra of the blogosphere)

Merry Christmas aye, really nice to meet you, looks like we might be based in Welly next year so will have plenty of time to visit you and the local mountains.

Take care

Jamie

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Greg,
Cheers mate! Indeed the South Island contains endless possibilities. Still, the local mountains here, particularly the Ruahines, call strongly to me. I will be there for 5 days soon with a great friend from the states who is coming over. You'll have to check it out sometime eh! Happy Yuletide Greg.
Rangimarie,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora VJ,
I hope one day we can sit down and enjoy the company of something started with written words here online. I have little doubt my premise would hold true with you. Instinct here has proven so true in the physical world, sometimes you just know.
I love your words about Kura Tawhiti! It is really a powerful place. Interesting, in a way it is how I personally connect to the Ruahines. From the moment I set foot amongst Her there was a far deeper meaning than just a walk in the mountains. When the Earth Speaks to me I have to LISTEN.
VJ, I know this past year has been one of Transition for you, and thus a difficult one no doubt. My holiday wish for you is Peace and Gentle Love, and may your Journey be a Beautiful One in the coming new year. You are a special connection for me here.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pete,
Your place is the first one I ever visited and your exceptional writing and photography has always set the bar high. Thank you for the inspiration! Was it simply by chance we met at Iron Gates hut all those years ago only to reconnect via this medium, and then beyond?
My heart felt best wishes go out your success in finding many Whio. To my regret it has been almost a year since I have seen their magnificent presence in the Ruahines. They are the Essence and Soul of the mountains, in my humble opinion.
You were missed at that gathering, truly. You would loved loved it. Pretty exalted company to be sure for the likes of me, but I have a feeling you would have fit in perfectly.
I will contact you later this week and Tara and I would love to catch up, long over due!
Rangimarie,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Ophelia,
Yes, it would be very cool. And when the stars align, and it feels Right, it will happen. The important aspect Ophelia is that you know it lies awaiting you.
As I wrote above to Pete,indirectly, I wonder if it is us who are not called to Places? When we open our Hearts and Souls to Nature She will find us. That is all I can be sure of my wonderful friend.
Our home awaits you!
Our finest greetings for the holidays are returned to you!
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Adam,
My Kindred Spirit Brother. You would be most welcome here! I fully understand your absences and am always most delighted by your presence. What we Share here is who we are, and your place is one that always humbles me.
Bless you and your wonderful family in the Season, and all through the New Year.
Stay connected brother! Kia kaha!
Aroha,
Robb

Gustav said...

Brother

Your post reveals the truth.

You are a soul that seeks to connect people, to energize, to bring disparate forces together.

Your blog is an example of that force.

So thank you my fine friend for lighting our galaxy and inspiring us to be ourselves.

Happy Yule Tide.

Gustav said...

Brother

Your post reveals the truth.

You are a soul that seeks to connect people, to energize, to bring disparate forces together.

Your blog is an example of that force.

So thank you my fine friend for lighting our galaxy and inspiring us to be ourselves.

Happy Yule Tide.

Mike said...

Hi Robb.

Sometimes I wonder what I get out of having a weblog (I never quite caught onto the term Blog), and it's not always clear to me. I've always enjoyed online community involvement since playing in online forums in the mid-1990s, even though it has its ups and downs. To me it's just an augmentation of face-to-face communication, and I find it a different way to communicate which works for me. For some people it'll never work because of how they like to organise their lives or otherwise, and that's fine.

Self-gratification does have something to do with what my weblog is for, as long as you consider that interacting with people at all is for self-gratification. My own one is based around trip reports, and I think I'd write them regardless of whether I published them because I like the idea of recording detail for my own records. I also like reading other people's thoughts, though, especially when they're about places I've been to or want to visit, and that's much of the reason I decided to publish my own. (The insightful and sometimes correcting feedback from other people is a bonus.) It also just gives me an excuse and motivation to write, and I enjoy writing.

Anne-Marie said...

Hi Robb, I'm glad to hear you met Bob and all those other wonderful people and places. It sounds like you had a grand time!

I hope you and the family have a lovely Midsummer, Christmas and New Year. See you in 2009!

Anne-Marie

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Joe,
I have been contemplating the meaning of reconnecting with Jeff in a few days, and yourself over this past year. The better part of thirty years has passed since those days at Ripon College. Jeff's love of Nature made a huge impression on me back then, and so did your Natural Curiousity about Everything. Interesting times indeed, and the fact I still am in contact with you,Jeff, and Iron Mike is a huge plus in my life, my memories. Your place is an inspiration, and along with Pete above the reason I went down this path. That is pretty cool in my book.
Joe, you and Amy and family are always welcome here to experience a few Moments. I would be honoured and proud to show this place to you. I will certainly share jeff's visit here, so stay tuned! Happy Yuletide Wishes to you and your loved ones my friend.
Aroha ( Love),
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Jamie,
That is great news! You and Penny are welcome here my friend. I hope you two have had an awesome reunion and that the wedding plans are proceeding with clarity. My best wishes for the upcoming nuptuals and may you blessed by the weather Gods. Jamie I would truly be honoured to travel with you in the Ruahines, or at least behind you! Stay in touch and Happy Yuletide to you, Penny, Chris and Debbie. Please pass my regards on to them.
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Gustav my Brother!!,
A hearty HOHOHOOOOOOOO!!!!! To both you and Maya.
In our own way we too our travelers and Learners, and you my brother have taught me so much. Your open honest acceptance has been a treasure in my life, and I smile now writing this thinking of you.
I hope we will speak in the next few days, or at least leave a few meandering messages howling our Greetings and Love!
Please give Maya a big Hug from the Dobber. HAPPY YULETIDE!!!!!!
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Mike,
An interesting subject eh! I started this place for my family and friends back in the states, and a few whom have shared the Ruahines with me. I thought it would be a cool way to keep them in the loop as it were.
After a few months I was ready to shut it down, my family did not respond, nor my friends, or at least they did not comment or let me know they were aware of its existence. Then I became aware that a few people were checking it out. Since then it has taken on a life of it's own. Is that important to me? I would be lying if I wrote it is not cool to see comments from people whom read and view here. I think the fact I have now met 5 connections from here speaks volumes. Not that I have met them all as a group, but all 5 of those people together in one room would be a very awesome and intersting gathering. And the people I have met through them in turn simply addds to the eloquence. There is a pattern there. Somehow that is very reassuring to me for my own reasons, and even ones I have frankly shared here in my own place.
Yet I agree with you, that ultimately this is a place for me, to record significant thoughts for my later life, for my boys, for future family generations. Though how I share here is not a whole lot different than the 25 or so hand written note books outisde in my garage. Just easier to read here, and store on a disc. Those notebooks though are still pretty fun to read through from time to time. Do we access the words and photos here like those notebooks, or family albums that gather dust? I wonder.
By the way Mike, your place is great, the trip reports I find valuable and excellent reading. If I was even 10 years younger I could, and did, a lot of those routes - but never as fast as you guys. Nowadays 5-6 hours a day does me fine, and slower has its own benefits as well. I am heading out to take an American friend of mine out for 5 days on New Years Day. I think he will be blown away by things he least suspects! Happy Yuletide Mike and I shall look forward to reading about your travels over the holidays as well.
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Anne-Marie,
It was an awesome experience, as was meeting you and Pete as well.
I hope you have a lovely Christmas as well, and a lovely trip. See you in the New Year!
Aroha,
Robb

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

A Very Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, Robb!!!

I know you have a joyful house at this moment. You are one special dude.

Jeff and I are socked in with back-to-back winter storms but we have the woodstove, wine, chocolate and...each other!!!

Cheers! JJ

Mike said...

Hi Robb.

I guess it's a lot like an online diary in many ways, except I tend to be more careful about what I say and how I say things when they go in my weblog, especially when I'm referring to people who I'm not sure would appreciate being mentioned online.

Over time I've heard many criticisms about people who write thoughts in weblogs, but I think it usually comes through either a misundestanding, an over-generalisation, or just a non-appreciation of what other people get out of it. If I ever feel bad about experessing thoughts in a weblog, I just think about the tens of thousands of people who happily pay a dollar to phone companies and TV networks every night to anonymously express their opinions in meaningless 0900 opinion polls. :)

I certainly hope you enjoy your new year's trip, it sounds like it'll be fun. I haven't quite figured out what I'll be doing yet and I've been getting out a little less often lately for various reasons, but if it's anything, I'll probably be doing something solo for a night or two in the vicinity of Mount Taranaki/Egmont. With any luck and if the weather plays nicely, I'll find a good place to fly-camp and I hope it'll be enjoyable.

As usual I'll look forward to reading about how your 5 day adventure turns out.

Steffi said...

Fantastic pictures!

I wish you and your family a very "Merry Christmas"!

Steffi

Pam said...

It is truly a delight to visit here Robb, thank you.This year I
have felt very much on the periphery of Nature instead of where I love to be, in the centre.The seasons come and go regardless, as I have been busy doing other things.It has just been one of those years therefore I cannot thank you enough for sharing your insights, photographs, beautiful family and friends,and for making these walks and climbs you have shared with us, a priority.Your enthusiasm has ingnited my spirit and given me incentive to dust off the backpacks and camping gear and get back to interaction with environments that I really enjoy. Have a wonderful holiday season Robb with excellent company!

MB said...

Robb, happy holidays to you and yours, and wishes for much love and happy adventure in the new year! Thanks for checking in. I'm enjoying a white Christmas (relatively rare here) in the company of loved ones, and hope you are doing the same! My best to you.

Robin Easton said...

I am, once again, sitting here with tears in my eyes. So much comes to mind reading this. I hope I can sort it out and leave some understandable response.

I am NOT surprised at all, Robb, that you have drawn such wonderful people into your life, kindred lovers of nature. Because you always speak from your heart and very soul. I believe we draw to us more of who we are, especially if we are in touch with ourselves and not running from ourselves.

Your greatness, Robb, is equivalant to any greatness you meet. Always remember that. You are truly a great man, one of courage, depth and sincerety. I too believe that we can meet people online who are absolutely stellar people. I have met you and Ophelia and know without doubt, in my deepest heart, that you both are part of ME. Who knows, we may have been connected long before we connected. :) I just know I can be myself with both of you.

Remember the greatness you see in these new friends of yours is also the greatness ALREADY in yourself. It's why they are coming into your life.

Also....I felt SUCH a longing, a naked unashamed hunger to see the Kura Tawhiti. The photos brought immediate tears to my eyes. I yearned to just lay down upon the smooth stone and NEVER leave. I wanted to explore there SOOOO badly. It reminded me a little of some of the places here in the southwest that I don't want to leave.

We just spent a few days exploring some ruins here in New Mexico and I didn't want to leave there either. I hope to make a video of what I filmed when I have more time.

I read Ophelia's comment and it hit me that when I have more time and money I would love for the two of us to come to NZ and meet you and your family and go treking. I'm going to keep that in my mind and heart for down the road. My connection to both of you is very strong and healing. It also gives me something to aim for through my intense workload right now. I know the next couple of years (right now getting my book ready and then once it comes out promoting it) will probably be quite hectic but eventually things will calm down and I want to do some traveling. Although I've been to NZ I wasn't able at the time to explore the mountains, which I STILL want to do. I've always been drawn to the south island.

Robb, I am so glad you are in the world and that you SEE, FEEL and appreciate all the beauty we humans have been given. Bless you for that. Your photos here are precious, warm and simply stunning....I really LOVE Kura Tawhiti. Someday.....my friend. Someday.

This was a remarable sharing and I am so happy for you. Hugs and much Aroha, Robin

Ruahines said...

Kia ora JJ,
Ah that scene you paint with your words reads lovely. I miss the white christmas as you know, but had a lovely one in any case, and I hope you did as well. Stay warm, and snuggled in front of that fire!
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Mike,
There no doubt is a fine line between writing and sharing thoughts of interest and pure self indulgence.
I guess keeping my own place here based mainly around my love and interaction with Nature builds in a natural safe guard. Though I have had a few friends whom have questioned how much, and what I have chosen to share about myself. Yet I can't "edit" the realities of my life simply to make myself more interesting, or together, than I really am. Goes back to the writing honestly and genuinely, and for me, thus far, it has produced satisfying and interesting results. But it certainly is for each of us to decide those limits. And if we post it here we have to acknowledge we are putting it out there for enjoyment, critisism, anaylsis, ect. And you are so right, I would rather connect with people via this way than dating sites, 0900 numbers, chat rooms. And as written above in the post, actually meeting people I have has been a very honest and pleasant experience. Tara and I are having dinner this evening with another interesting writer and photographer met through here, Pohangina Pete, linked below. You would enjoy his place.
Mike, have a great trip to the Naki, hope you get out under the mountain for a few days and get the solitude you seek. I shall look forward to reading about it.
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Steffi,
Thanks for the visit and my best Happy Yuletide wishes, and Happy New Year to you and yours!
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora MB,
I am so happy to read you are in the company of loved ones and hope you are enjoying that White Holiday Season! Hot and muggy here though I shouldn't write that as a complaint after talking to my snow bound family in the states.
I wish you a happy New Year as well MB. You have a treasured connection here as well. Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Robin,
Thank you my wonderful friend for all your beautiful words and thoughts, and actions of support and aroha. I am slowly finding my Path, and it has been inspirational to connect with such amazing people, including yourself. Your selfless, open, honest, and genuine presence has been a great Gift this year.
As I wrote to Ophelia you two were both very much with me, and I felt your Spirits at Kura Tawhiti strongly, I lie on those sun warmed limestone rocks and felt embraced by the Earth, could almost hear you two laughing and talking. It is a special place, as is all Nature. And it is no simple pipedream to imagine ourselves there, it can Happen. We have created a door that simply awaits being Opened. The Maori are a people of great patience, as are almost all indiginous peoples. I am learning that, so the door waits patiently for us to Open it. By staying connected here, we step closer to that reality.
Robin, enjoy the rest of this year, and may you be blessed with abundant aroha, and interaction with Nature. I am off in a few days for 5 days in the Ruahines! Stay Tuned. Rangimarie and Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Super Nova said...

Dearest Robb,

This was more than just a trip, it was a journey. I too have found that the people who I have connected with over this medium of blogging have turned out to be true and real and amazing and as full of life and energy as the words on the written page paint them to be. I have a feeling, Robb, that one day, we too will meet in person. You'll be my guide in the Ruahines.

What a wonderful year you've had, full of life and wisdom and love and fighting and struggles and so many things. You live life fullly my friend, and I hope to catch a bit of your enthusiasm, take it into my pumping heart, and send it forth into this world of ours.

Rangimarie and kia kaha.

Bob McKerrow said...

Good morning Robb

I am back in Ch Ch and busy interviewing Peter NcCormack, a mountain guide who operated out of Franz Josef for 40 years. He is now 86. What a story he has to tell.

Happy New Year to you, Tara and family. Bob

Ruahines said...

Kia ora D'Arcy,
You make me happy viewing your presence here! I KNOW you are one of those special people. I would be honoured to share the Ruahines with you.
Your journey mirrors mine in many ways, and I have so enjoyed watching your growth. And it has only begun. Kia kaha my lovely friend.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
Of that I have no doubt. I am looking at a photo of him with Harry Ayres and Ralph Warburton on Mt. Cook in 1955. Legends, as are you! Happy New Year to you as well my friend.
Cheers,
Robb

Web Hosting Delhi said...

Really great picture, I love these pictures.