Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Rite tonu te mahi ( Similar Role)


I have always tried to be quite clear in these writings that while the Ruahines are a mountain range that has become MY spiritual place they are not a place for mountaineers. No great snow covered towering peaks will be seen here, no miles wide braided river valleys that meander up into huge basins surrounded by tall sentinels, no glaciers snaking out of cirques and basins deep in the valleys. The Ruahines are long and narrow, the peaks are modest, the country steep, the rivers paths to the surrounding farm land a short one. To be sure it is not country to be over confident in, a fall from many places would certainly be fatal, the rivers still capable of rising and falling very fast, and the winds up on the tops quite commonly gale force. To those whom have climbed, tramped, hiked, or simply just enjoyed views of mountains more lofty than these, the Ruahines might very well escape all attention. For myself, they are a place of magical beauty, a place that from the very first time I set foot in them stirred something in my soul, and still does. I return to them again and again, and am always transfixed, always challenged, even in places I have now been 15 or 20 times. They are my Spiritual Home.

I never expect anyone else to get that, or to experience the feelings that I do there. I suspect John and Gustav have a special relationship to this place for their own reasons, but to most they would simply be a mountain playground, an interesting place to spend a few days perhaps, or someplace different than their own place on Earth that means the same to them, a mountain, a river, a lake, the forest, or sea, it doesn't matter. Maybe I should just feel blessed I have found, or been led to, a particular place where I do feel what I do, and consider myself fortunate. Already I hear them calling to me, just a few days after spending a week there, my body still sore, legs covered in grazes, cuts and scratches, my gear still spread out here in the lounge, the scent of the mountains is always upon me.








It occurred to me on this recent trip that there is a similarity between how I view mountains and how I view friendships. I did this trip with my old friend Jeff from the states, someone I have known for over thirty years, yet over that time our actual contact has been very sporadic. He has lived in Oregon, in Alaska, in Arizona, and now Wisconsin, and by the time he moved back to Wisconsin I was on my way to New Zealand. I had not seen him in over 2 years, since my last trip home to the states. Some friendships would not survive that passing of time, ours has. Like the familiar shape of a far off peak I might not have visited in some time, yet always is there to help guide me, to simply gaze upon and reflect, and even plan a future visit. However, even though that mountain looks the same it is undergoing great changes, the slips constantly eroding the familiar, the creeks and streams always flowing and cutting their way to the rivers. Then there is weather that can change on a daily or hourly basis, the cloud and wind, the snow, rain and sleet, or the perfection of a windless sunny day. The mountains, like friendships are constantly changing and evolving, or they die. New mountains, like new friends, are constantly being uplifted, shaped, and routes discovered, and old mountains being eroded yet capable of developing great beauty in what is known. Either way in the process there are steep hills to climb and descend, many rivers to cross, many gales to face. I was glad and proud to find that spending some extensive time with my friend that our "mountains" though having changed in many ways are still the same mountains.









1 Jan. 2009 Top Maropea hut
7:00 pm

A very cool moment for me to be standing here in one of my favourite Ruahine spots, the gateway to the Maropea valley. I don't expect Jeff will get what I do here, or even understand why, but as someone who loves wild places I hope he appreciates it. He was certainly given a wild crossing of the saddle. Sunrise hut was relatively full of people waiting out the gale like winds, either spending the night there, or cancelling plans beyond Sunrise because of the wind on the exposed tops. After getting a mountain forecast from a keen tramper, John, and taking a short stroll to the exposed tops, I decided we would go for it. I have crossed this saddle 27 times now and while the wind was very strong it wasn't making it impossible for me to stand, so by hunkering through the gusts we would be fine. While it was a very windy crossing they certainly were not the worst conditions I have done it in, and I was pleased with making the call based on true experience. Back at the hut a solo 68 year old tramper, Adrian, was watching our progress, and an hour after we arrived here came rustling through the forest joining us. He said we had given him the courage to give it a go. That is cool and I told him in turn that he is giving me equally as much inspiration by simply being here. He gives me hope.












"Reflections on the Maropea River"

My soul shines and glitters
like the red and yellow beech leaves
that shimmer and dance on the river bottom
as the clear mountain water passes over
In my mind I soar down this river
joining the unerring and exhilarating
flight of the Whio
yet my steps are slow and deliberate
and there is only now
I relish in this freedom
this river
this moment
these mountains
the Beauty before me blurs
My heart sings



Photo above generously supplied by Pohangina Pete and taken on the Pohangina river in the Ruahines. Pete is linked below and has another blog of his fantastic photography at his photography blog the Ruins of the Moment: http://worldsenz.blogspot.com/







2 Jan. 2009 Maropea Forks

A beautiful day on the river, just overcast enough with glorious patches of sun bursting through at times, the water level low and easy. After 15 trips down this river it is still spectacular to me, and offering less technical river walking aspects of huge boulders and log jams and bigger rapids and pools in some of the other Ruahine rivers, on a day like today just a magical experience. I just walked quite deliberately and let me memory guide me, giving myself to the rivers flow. At one point I felt a euphoric joy wash through me, a connection I always await. Jeff and I took our time, stopping often to talk, debate, and discuss, taking an extra long lunch by the river and boiling the billy for a cup of coffee and tea. There was absolutely no need to hurry.

An additional benefit to our slow pace was that I was thinking John Nash might very well catch us up if he got across the saddle as he was planning to meet us at Maropea Forks that day. About 45 minutes from the hut I heard his familiar voice shout "Helloooo" and saw him coming around a bend in the river. It was a fine reunion, and introducing John to Jeff on a Ruahine river I thought very fitting to their places in my life. So my thoughts are of friendship. Of John, whom I have known now for 15 years and developed a huge bond and intimate sharing of these ranges with. Our travels together here have led to one of the most important friendships in my life. And Jeff, whom I have known longer, though spent less time with, so while we are rediscovering our bond, the roots are strong, and we are now nurturing it the best possible way. I am fortunate to have such people in my life. Friendship does take work and effort. It has to be nurtured and cared for. It takes acceptance of differences as well as similarities. I am learning. Today on the river I just relished Jeff's presence in front of me and also the thought of perhaps John's behind me enjoying his own walk. When it proved to be exactly the truth I just smiled.













3 Jan. 2009 Maropea Forks

It has settled into a rainy day, the river which was low yesterday is now singing a louder Tune. We have been joined by a couple fellows who appeared out of the mist like Bedouins from across the river. They had come from Lake Colenso, a good days work to be sure. Bruce and Gwynffryn or Gwynn for short. Gywnn hales originally from Wales, the second Welshman I have been in these ranges with, and both hale from Waipawa, a town not far from the Ruahines. They are on a pretty hearty mission covering some big country but I think are happy to be here in the dry warm hut. On days like this the hut porch is a fine place to be, and so is curled up in warm sleeping bag on a bunk as both Bruce and Gwynnffryn are now. I reckon they are here to stay.

Jeff, John, and I are gearing up for a walk up through the forest to the tops and Point 1450, a route John and I came down a few years ago and opens up into some pretty wide open tops of the main Ruahine range. It will most likely be pretty clagged in up there but the rain has slowed and I think Jeff in particular would like to get out and stretch the legs, and explore some of this country. The rain has slowed to a slight drizzle and the forest should be amazing and alive in the muted light of this grey day.



"Walk to Point 1450"

Oh how the upper forest beech trees
dance and sway
in the gusting music playing overhead
they creak and moan
in the misty grey storm
singing with the wind
Gaze down upon the forest floor
of this steep ridge
and see the lichens and mosses
come alive and illuminate this mountain
Their true colours no longer contained by sunlight
it is their time to shine and glow
against the muted grey sky
In the distance the creamy green flanks
of Orupu and Maroparea emerge
their golden tussock tops hidden
in the clouds
as are we
Cloud Hidden
I walk with my friends



Jeff fishing on the Maropea after the forks.



A nice Ruahine rainbow trout



5 Jan. 2009 Top Maropea


Our final evening on this summer trip. A different experience than in the past but I would not change a moment. As I wrote on an earlier post, accepting the Gifts we are given in Nature is far better than being upset over plans that might have been.

The sky is now completely still and barely a whiff of a breeze ripples the forest here at Top Maropea. In the distance the peaks begin to reflect the play of light from the setting sun moving beyond us. The 27th time I will have watched this canvass being painted. Each one unique in its own way.

I walked up from Maropea Forks on my own just being absorbed in the beauty all around me. The river and forest like old friends,the high peaks above calling me home, which suited this trip quite well really. To my surprise I found myself at the head of the side creek which climbs to Top Maropea after what seemed like no time at all. I climbed up to the track and waited for Jeff and John in the beech forest.They came along within a short time and I waited for them as they did the grueling vertical climb up that nasty 200 metre "track". So my final evening here in the Ruahines on this summer trip with Jeff. I know John and I will return here at some stage, but these could be my final moments in a place I love with an old friend I love. I am trying to absorb it all.

We have what will surely be a lovely and rare beautiful and calm walk back over Armstrong saddle in the morning, but the final evening is always melancholic for me, and now those reasons are twofold. Leaving these ranges, another trip completed, and also saying goodbye soon to my treasured friend, friends.

I console myself in that we have created moments to relish, that windy crossing of the saddle, a day on the river, renewing friendships and creating new ones, climbing in the forest, cups of tea, watching Jeff hook that beautiful rainbow and give Thanks to the Ruahines. Time grows short but we will enjoy this evening and tomorrow will unfold on Her own terms.



Friendships that are old, some that are relatively new. It is all full of Possibility. I thank the Ruahines, Jeff, John, Tara, all the people I have traveled with in these mountains. To Nigel, Taylor, Gustav, Rick, Steve, Adam, Scott, another Steve, Gyro, John, John from Wales, and last but not least ol' Bones, the man I was with when first coming to this for me sacred spot at Top Maropea. I gaze out upon this view and Thank You all. And also the people I have not met, aside from Bob, Pete, and Jamie, who might read here and hopefully enjoy. Some I have connected with in ways I know this place calls strongly and others where it is enough to know places like this just are there. I raise my tin cup to you all!

Aroha
Robb

40 comments:

PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

Kia ora Robb

Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family. It is great to have you back from your trek to the Ruahines refreshed and in high-spirits.

You have done a fantastic log of your trip on yet a very historic moment for you, connecting with the place that is so good to you (Ruahines) and with friends on the brand new start of the New Year. Your prose on this was skillfully written for I found myself connecting with the Ruahines in a special way, the pictures breathtakingly beautiful; the fact that you made it quite clear as exactly what the Ruahines are by contrasting it with snow-capped mountains found elsewhere in New Zealand and that was opportune especially for a person like me who sees mountains only in pictures and occasionally when I'm airborne. My first real experience of mountains was when I lived in New Zealand and my yearly visits to Jamaica where the Blue Mountains tower magnificently. In your writing of your recent trip to the Ruahines I felt I was in the Ruahines with you as well. That's how the reading of the trip drew me in, in the most pleasing way and I like the feeling derived. Even though I have live all my life on flat land with no mountains only surf and sand. Our highest peak on the island of 166 square miles is Mount Hillaby only 1105 ft (337 m). What a laugh, I got when I described it with my Kiwi guide on seeing the mountain ranges on my tour of Whangarei and a little beyond.

While you were in the Ruahines for five days of the New Year, I was touring rugged parts of Barbados where Mount Hillaby is located. As we drove along the hillsides of Barbados in our Explorer with my daughter at the controls I kept on referencing of the beautiful landscapes and mountain ranges I saw in New Zealand's northlands. I shall post some pictures sometime on my blog for you to see our little mounds and hills, lol our landscape as flat as a pancake but beautiful in its own right.

I look forward to reading more poems from you on the Ruahines because your true feelings about the Ruahines shine awesomely too in your poetry.

Thank you Robb for sharing the highlights of your five-day trip you had with your friends. May you have many more trips in the Ruahines to share.

Cheers
Paterika

Bob McKerrow said...

Kia ora Robb

It was a joy to travel with you through your prose, photos and words. Your non-verbals give a glimpse of your take on the Wairua, the Wairua tapu, your sense of Turangawaewae you feel in the Ruahines. We all need that sense of belonging to some place. I love Albert Wendt's words, " This is my land and I am firmly rooted in lt."

I loved reading about the twists and turns of the track, the river, your friends and meeting the Welsh. And the trout! How did you cook it ?

I am off to Arthur's Pass with Robin Judkins today. He has a wonderful big, Mercedes Benz convertible. I will play Janis Joplin as we wind up to the plateau and will enjoy hearing her wail. " Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz."

I am walking more than an hour now, and might have a walk up one of the tracks. Six months down the track I will be climbing.

Thanks again for such an inspirational posting. Your prose is very good mate.

Arohanui.

Bob

Gustav said...

Dobber my fine friend and blood brother,

This post brought a tear to my eye. Roaster is among the finest naturalists on Earth and a dear friend to me.

You can see the wild eye of Roaster immersed in the beauty around him. How cool is it that you two connected again and may I suggest that you will again connect a few more times before departing this planet. And perhaps you two will connect again after leaving this world?

The pics are spectacular and I will return many times over the next few days.

This post requires multiple comments.

I love you brother and keep the beauty flowing my great friend.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Robb, you should have this published in a travel magazine. How eloquent you are with your imagery and love for your mountains. :D

I have a steep forty-foot ridge that leads down to the creek that meanders along the back of my property by way of a balsam fir deer trail. As soon as I step onto the scented pine needle pathway, I feel God's presence and my soul sings with joy. I know you have that same feeling as you trek your beloved slopes!!!

I have broken my arm on that ridge...slid on some ice and hit a branch with my arm when I fell, so I can understand the danger of which you do. Every step counts.

You are living my dream...I have only seen the Porcupine Mountains and I think the word "mountain" is exaggerated.

Thanks for this fantastic post and beautiful photos!!!

It snowed all day yesterday AGAIN. LOL

Cheers! JJ

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Paterika,
Happy New Year to you as well! Barbados reads lovely and I would love to visit one day. And the thing about your mountains to always remember is that they also start at sea level, so 300 metres up is still a hearty climb!
I am so glad you enjoy reading here about the Ruahines and thank you Paterika for your continued encouragement with my poetry. I know I am not a very good poet, but the words are written from how I feel, sometimes I just can't get them out in the right way. Well, we are now off on a family camp for a few days, taking all but the proverbial kitchen sink. I would hate to carry all this stuff in a pack! Cheers Paterika.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
Yes, I do firmly feel that the Ruahines are My Sacred Spiritual Place, my Wairua Tapu. Tuarangawaewae in the sense I did have a bit of rebirth in these mountains I now consider my home.
I am so pleased to read of your continued progress, and as I have alluded to earlier the thought of you climbing again makes me smile, and I believe will make your Soul shine even brighter.
As to the trout, once my mate saw those pools he lost interest in higher places! It was a beautiful sight though watching that lovely fish hit and jump. We had him in a fry pan within 30 minutes, cut into 4 chunks, a bit of olive oil, salt and dill, and perhaps 5-6 minutes on each side as he was a pretty thick bugger. We said a little karakia of thanks to the trout, the river, and the mountains, then we ate the succulent flesh just picking it off the bones on a communal plate. Just a very cool and memorable meal shared amongst a few friends.
Hope you a clear day for the Arthur's Pass drive and had an enjoyable day. Kia ora Bob, and travel safely. I hope one day we can tramp in the Ruahines!
Rangimarie,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Brother,
You were in our thoughts and conversation often. As this post alludes to friendship it also takes into account absent friends as well. Your presence is always nearby in the Ruahines.
Roaster is Roaster and you know what I mean, so I just appreciate the moments I have. He is, was, talking about coming over for my Big Celebration in 2010, I suspect more attracted by the possible return to those trout laden pools as my birthday!
I love you too Gustav. Cheers brother.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora JJ,
Perhaps that ridge is your own Wairua Tapu? A place you are so connected to it keeps calling you back, even though there are risks, the beauty and Spirtual Wholeness you feel there are worth it.
I have tramped and camped in the Porcupines JJ, and they are still mountains, maybe a bit worn down from being run over by massive glaciers but still mountains. They are beautiful and I can smell them right now!
Jeff must be busy hauling in loads of wood! Keep that stove burning. Off camping now with the family, a couple days by the river. Stay warm my friend.
Aroha,
Robb

Flint said...

Robb, glad to hear the trip went well. Whilst you spent your last night at Top Maropea , I was enjoying a beautiful evening at Sparrowhawk Biv. Plan was for next day to travel the tops to Totara spur and down to Upper Makaroro hut but the wind got up and I headed down Colenso spur to Barlow Hut. Having hunters already there, I headed out to the carpark and home. Felt gipped about having the trip shortened and can't wait to get back up there.
I love the solitude. Its not that I don't enjoy people but I enjoy the mountains better alone. The only time I have ever shared a hut was with you and John at Waterfall some years ago. And an enjoyable meeting it was too. Drambuie is still my very special 'mountain reward'.
Took a leaf from your book and decided to slow down, stop looking at the time and enjoy this time. Took way more photos too.
Thank you for your wonderful account.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Flint!
So cool to read from you mate! We almost joined you there at the biv as we had a serious discussion about heading out over the tops, and those were the days to do it. We were all set up to camp so would not have used the bivvy. That is a cool spot though, John and I stayed there a few years ago when it got nasty up top.
I know what you mean about the solitude, I am that way as well. Tougher in the summer to get it hence I always carry the tent. And John and I have tramped together for so long we often go hours without speaking, or even walk separately. I do enjoy my solo tramps though as well. That day at Waterfall was a good one, John and I did it hard coming off the wrong creek from Mangaweka. I remember that wee taste of Drambuie! Excellent to read from you mate, please stay in touch. Would love to run into you again!
Cheers,
Robb

Pam said...

Hi Robb. Great account and photos.Freshly caught trout.Yum.Many have expressed their appreciation of this posting with more eloquance than I, but it is a fine post with the joy of your experience shining through.Joy is a key word for me this year.You are one of the people that I have given credit to (on an earlier posting about a week ago),for my need to get out in Nature more,and my husband and I are walking an hour a day in preparation to building ourselves up in fitness for the bushwalking and camping we used to do.We intend to do a lot of these neglected activities. By boots are on order! Seriously!I am also with you on spiritual places. Strangely enough, mine is Wales! Thanking you again for an inspiring post.

Barbara Martin said...

Robb, the post and photos were excellent. I think the reason you resonate so well in these mountains is because you have a very old soul, and these mountains are old as well. You lived here in another life; that's why it feels like you've come home.

Its the same feeling I had when I went to live in London, England some years back.

Robin Easton said...

Hello dear Robb,

I just stopped by to see what your up to and say hi. I have a bad head cold and am running slow. I will be back to read more fully this post. I read the poetry and as usual it brought tears to me eyes and made me wish I was there. And the PHOTOS made it even worse because they are sooooo beautiful and clear and the land is breathlessly beautiful. I wanted to walk right into the photos and like a portal into another land. I wanted to sit by the streams and just close my eyes and never move, (I'm serious Robb) I wanted to listen to the water fall and watch the mist rise over the mountains. So pristine. So powerful and yet so gentle. I gasped over the red leaf in the water. I too photograph leaves in water. Your poetry is evocative and sensed deeply by those of us who are embedded in the land.

In my mind I could hear Paterika's voice reading your poem. I seriously think you ought to have her record her voice reading all your poems and then market them. You could even puts sounds from the mountains to them....of water, birds, wind, grass, etc. I am serious about that.

When I feel better, I will catch up on your last post. I've had to keep working with this cold...long hours. I actually don't feel too bad except for my head. From the neck down is good, from the neck up is baaaaaad!! :) :)

You inspire me to plan a solo summer trip next summer...(when you are in winter).

Thank you dear friend...always,
Aroha...you know it.
Rob

Lynda Lehmann said...

Robb, this is an astounding post. So beautifully written, authentic, and emotional. I feel the call of your Ruahines, as the call is the same from the White Mountains where I have roamed many times. Although I think the White Mountains are probably far less remote and unspoiled than your land...

Those of us who have heard the voices of rivers, peaks, and sky, can identify with your passion and the glorious feeling of One-ness.

Your descriptions and commentary on friendship and nature are gorgeous--and now I feel that I too, have stood at Maropea with good friends. It's a great comfort to me that other people besides me, feel this way, even if I haven't met them.

I wish you many years of such precious friendships, and kinship with the land. Thank you for bringing the Ruahines to your readers.

I LONG to live your kind of life but it's not to be. In my deepest heart of hearts I too, would like to wander in anticipation of the gurgle of the stream, the whisper of shadowed glens, the balm of sunlit peaks and the wind on my cheek. But for me, it can only be part time. Yet I'm very blessed to have the passion for nature coarsing through my blood, as you are.

Thanks for helping me connect to it on this snowy New York day!

Kate said...

Robb,
Beautiful post. You are a fantastic writer and I hear your real voice in a little voice-over in my head as I read. I posted a Ruahine sunset picture you sent me months back on the sidebar of my website, giving you proper credit of course, and a link through to your blog.
Love to you and Tara,
Kate

adam said...

Hiya, Robb.
Good, good account and splendid writing. Sometimes I expect that I might come to your site and find a little audio file of you singing a composition about something you see or care about. It's just that beautiful and that sensorially engrossing.
I'm just very happy to hear about your time up there.
Many, many thanks.
Adam

kylie said...

hi robb,
i dropped by here by way of maithri's link to a favourite post of his, where you talk about the connections developed through blogging and how you have found your friends' online personas to be true to life. i havent met any blogger friends as yet but i have to say that i think the essence of a person shines through their writing, even when they try to hide it!
i was interested to read your post because i am a bit fascinated with the whole subject!

wow, long first comment, eh?
cheers
k

ophelia rising said...

Robb, this is so beautiful, and your poetry is amazing. I love the line about being "Cloud hidden."

The photos are also amazing. I find myself wishing I could be there, especially on that lovely tree-laden trail - for whatever reason, it appeals to me in a way that I can't explain. As if I have been there before, or as if I vividly dreamed it.

I'm so glad that you experienced this trip with such a wonderful friend. Much love to you and your beautiful family. I think of you.
xo

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pam,
I read your post and am very humbled by your words, thank you. I think any walk, and time spent in Nature is valuable, that can even be your own yard. I just spent several days camping with my family in a lovely spot, but I was also appalled at the amount of rubbish and damage done by people who supposedly are enjoying these place. I am going to post about it, but the amount of discconection from Nature by we humans is fairly scary. So to read of your RECONNECTION is heartening to me. I look forward to following your progress. Cheers Pam.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Barbara,
Something inside me tells me you are exactly right. We all have a place to relish and connect with. Cheers.
Rangimarie,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Robin,
You were there, and I could hear your laughter bouncing off the steep walls of the valley, literally. I have no doubt you would immediately feel at home, and that somehow the Ruahines would be very glad to have you amongst Them.
Yes, Paterika has a way of reading those words far more effectively than I do. I would love to have a cd of that!
Sorry about your head cold, they are rotten things and I hope you feel better and are smiling and laughing soon!
I shall be around to visit soon.
Aroha my wonderful friend,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lynda,
Thank you, and I am so happy to read you also have a Special Place to feel that Oneness. As I wrote above I am very concerned by the disconnectedness of seemingly so many to nature, and it heartens me that so many who read here have a unique place and certainly appreciation of all Nature. People can find it in their back yards, or the local park, can start by picking up some rubbish along the way, or slowing down a bit more, but we need to get some of that back in our lives and culture.
I said to Tara after reading your comment, that I wish it were true, that my WHOLE life was devoted to Nature and roaming amongst such places. But alas I return to work today. Though as I said to her, those days I do spend there are exactly as you describe, and I am blessed. Hope you are enjoying a lovely New York winter day! Cheers Lynda.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Kate,
Cheers for that, and the photo looks good on your blog! Sorry we have been a bit out of touch, but the Kiwi holiday season can be a long one! I hope you and Gene had a great season and a fine and happy New Year. Will be over to visit, your blog, soon.
Aroha,
Robb

Lynda Lehmann said...

Yes, you are blessed, Robb, and so am I. I also know your despair.

You don't know how many times in my life I have felt and stated that it is nature that sustains me and give me solace. And it gives me great pain to bear witness to our collective despoiling and disregarding the Earth.

I wrote four young adult and middle grade novels while our daughter was growing up, and two of them are heartfelt testimonials to my love for our planet. They read like action-adventures, but have feminist and Gaia/earth stewardship themes.

I wish I could wander full-time, and somehow siphon my reverence and peace back into this chaotic society and world.

But all I can do is blog, write, and make art. I guess that's okay, because so much of my inspiration comes from nature--and so many of my images are attempts to capture the beauty of the nature that is all around us.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Adam,
I think this year the audio portion is something I need to work on. I know I probably have not used this technology to its fullest in my nature travels. In any case so good to read from you brother, and I hope you and your family had, and have, a splendid New Year. It is always a pleasure to share with you just as I learn and enjoy so much from yours. Your last post just left me sitting there pondering, you write so much with so few words. That is a Gift my friend. Kia kaha Adam. I look forward to interacting with you this year.
Rangimarie,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Kylie,
Haere mai. Maithri's place is indeed an inspiring one in so many ways and I am happy and pleased to welcome you here. That is what connecting is really about. My "real life" experiences gained from meeeting people through here have all enriched my life, truly. And I think a lot of that does come through simply writing honestly about what ever it is we choose to write about, as you allude to, we cannot hide behind our words, we need to stand beside them. Have a great Kylie.
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Ophelia,
Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family as well my special friend.
That track in that spot is a magical place, and always seems to grab peoples attention. It is really signifying leaving the lower forest and entering the alpine world. And there is something very cool in that, part of what lies ahead being so different from what we know lies behind, but also that the major part of the climbing is over! You were there with me in my thoughts Ophelia.
I thank you for the kind words about the poetry. I wish I could claim the words Cloud Hidden as my own in a creative sense. But they are actually words, and the title of a Van Morrison song which was playing in my head at the time, one of my favourite Van tunes, and fit the moment perfectly so I included it in my poem as best I could. I wish for you some Nature in your day Ophelia, and Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

ophelia rising said...

So relevant for me now - "what lies ahead so different than what lies behind." Sadly, I fear the major part of my climbing is not yet over - at least, in this phase of my life. But I will persevere, hopefully with a clear perception and any amount of wisdom.

And now I'm off to listen to "Cloud Hidden!"

Thank you for your kindness and insight. Aroha,
Mary/Ophelia

MB said...

Kia ora Robb, I enjoyed reading your account. It's a great tribute to your friendship and to your connection to the land. Lovely photos to bring it alive. You are blessed and share your blessings. I'm glad to have taken a peek. Arohanui.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lynda,
I think you do much for the world with your words and moreso your art. Your connection to the Earth is obvious and undeniable. Are your books still available?
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Ophelia,
Kia kaha my sister! I am going to go Listen to Van right now myself, and think of you.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora MB,
I am always pleased by your visits and comments and I thank you. I am so pleased to share this place with you, and you are so correct, I am blessed to experience and to share. I hope your new year is full of Aroha.
Aroha,
Robb

Marja said...

Hi Robb it is always a pleasure to read your posts. You can always feel the intense love and enjoyment for the ruahines in your writing. you write with such passion. I loved how you compared mountains with friends. Alway changing and interesting.
It find people you meat on a track always very friendly. probably it is the atmosphere and the shared love for the outdoors.
I still prefer a warm shower and a comfy bed after hours of tramping.
I slept in tents and had fun but my body doesn't want it anymore.
Hope you make many more trips this year so I can enjoy it from home.
Ka kite ano

Maithri said...

Dear Robb,

What a beautiful adventure you took us on here...

I can feel the deep love and respect you have for the Ruahines...

I love your reflections on friendship also... I think when we draw closer to nature, we become able to deepen the well of love we have for those whom we care about...

The wild teaches us so much about human nature...about loving without clinging... and giving freely of ourselves without conditions...

I love your words...

"Tommorrow will unfold on Her own terms"

Amen to this beautiful benediction my friend...

Heres to you and your precious family,

May the circle around you be nourished by the deep peace that is grounded in the earth and the untamed love which opens its wings and flies towards the Mystery...

Be Blessed my Brother,

Maithri

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marja,
I was happy to read from you and see you had a lovely time exploring with your brother. You know most of the huts do have fairly comfy mattresses,though don't offer the hot showers - how about a quick dip in an ice cold mountain river pool? Marja, as long as you love nature, and get out into Her Beauty, is all that matters. Happy New Year my friend!
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Maithri,
Thank you for your kind and beautiful words my friend. I feel at my best, and most open when amongst nature and particularly the Ruahines, so it is always so amazing to watch other important parts of my life unfold amongst her. May you Blessed with Wild Places as well brother.
Aroha,
Robb

Joe McCarthy said...

Robb:
I always enjoy reading about your experiences in the Ruahines, and especially enjoyed the words and photos about this trip, and your reconnection with Jeff.
It motivated me to find - and post - some photos I'd taken during a trip our family shared with Jeff, Sarah and Zoe to Second Beach, here in Washington, back in August 2003. I'm sure this was far less adventurous for Jeff and his family than it was for ours, but it was good to stretch a bit out of our zone(s) of comfort and familiarity in the company of good friends.
I'm glad you enjoyed your time(s) together, and still hope I can share the Ruahine experience with you someday.
Joe.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Joe,
Those photos are just fantastic, some real beauties in there. In a way, that place you are camped on the coast has quality to it that reminds me a bit of Kura Tawhiti. It was pretty special to reconnect with Jeff, and as I wrote at your place, your name came up more than a few times. Joe, you, and your family, are always welcome here and it would be an honour to share the Ruahines with you all. A small part of the Beauty of Aotearoa to be sure, but one that has captured my Soul. Aroha to you and your beautiful family.
Cheers,
Robb

Donald said...

>I never expect anyone else to get that, or to experience the feelings that I do there.

We can never quite know the heart and soul of another, but I grasp what you're getting at Robb. I have my special places and interestingly I don't have to go to them often, and some are not spectacular - it is enough to know they exist.

The Eagles said it well in Hotel California: "you can check out, but you never leave"

Thanks for dropping by my blog too.

Cheers

Donald

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
Haere mai and thanks for dropping by. That is exactly how I feel, like these mountains are always with me, and just knowing they are there brings a joy to my soul. It can be hard to explain, cheers for understanding.
Cheers,
Robb