Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fathers and Sons

10 September 2009
Sunrise hut - Evening
Robb Kloss
Taylor Kloss

Taylor and I arrived here in the late afternoon, and we shall venture no further today. I had intended to cross over Armstrong saddle to Top Maropea but today my hip is not cooperating and it was a very slow and painful walk. I recall once saying to Nigel after a tramp with Taylor when he was 12 that perhaps our slow pace back then was actually as fast as we will ever go, for as Taylor grew bigger, stronger, and faster I will in turn grow older, weaker, and slower. How perceptive of me, and today how true. About halfway up Taylor was waiting for me and took my big heavy pack and took off up the mountain to the hut, and then met me when I was 10 minutes from the hut with a water bottle and carried my (his) pack the rest of the way. Normally I would not think of letting anyone do that, today I simply took the water bottle and handed him the pack. He stepped it out pretty good today. I kept humming verses from the Loudan Wainwright song "A Father and a Son". It seemed pretty apt.

Being that it is a Thursday, early in the evening, I doubt we will have any company here this evening, and Taylor is quite understanding and happy to be roaming around the beautiful playground we are amongst. We shall see what the morning brings.



Taylor with the main Ruahine range in the background (north) outside Sunrise hut.



A snowman for Charlie

Taylor looking down into the headwaters of the Waipawa river and valley.


The dip in the middle is Waipawa saddle with the Three Johns and the rising bulk of Te Atuaoparapara to the right. The backyard at Sunrise hut.

11 September
Sunrise hut - just after sunrise

Taylor is still fast asleep and I am pottering about the hut enjoying the after glow of seeing such a beautiful sight and relishing a cup of hot coffee. We had this whole place to ourselves of which I am very glad. I doubt Taylor would have been as talkative and animated as he was had we had company. Not many 16 year old boys would I suspect.

It is cold, a bit over cast, and the wind has picked up. Not enough to prevent us crossing the saddle in my estimation, which is based on having done it over 30 times now. So soon I will rouse the sleeping teen. It will be the hardest part of my day I think.

My hip is still hurting which concerns me, but feels better than yesterday and certainly won't stop me from getting over to Top Maropea. How can I not look out upon these mountains and not want to be amongst them, to not smile?

I greatly enjoyed last evening with Taylor. No computers, no television, no phones, no distractions at all. At times I looked at him and could almost see him morphing into the little boy I used to know. He is still in there and I have to remember that. The way he talked and chattered incessantly last night was exactly what he was like at age 8. I was slightly stunned and just trying to take in and savour each second.

Yet I also have to remember that he is now a young man, the way he took my heavy pack and strolled up the mountain, telling me about a girl he really likes, and asking questions about our family history. I guess as in all things it is about finding the balance between my love and longing for that little boy and the recognition and help I can give him to become a man.


The sunrise at Sunrise hut.



Taylor just above Armstrong saddle and heading up to Camel Back ridge.




Taylor with Te Atuaoparapara in background



Taylor climbing a snow filled gut to reach the ridge.



Only to take off his pack and slide back down!



Taylor on Camel Back ridge, the name he bestowed upon it when he was 8. Looking up the lovely Maropea valley and continuing main range in background. Top Maropea lies below the second big slip on the opposite face of the spur.



Snow covered forest on the way down to the hut. It may be spring but the mountains don't know that quite yet!





Taylor at Top Maropea. Recently repainted and the formerly diabolical tracks re cut. Always a fine view.


11 September
Top Maropea - late afternoon

We arrived here late in the morning. It got a bit windy on the crossing but nothing that we couldn't handle. Taylor cruised ahead of me, and though my hip was still sore I managed okay and carried my bigger pack to soothe my wounded pride. I loved watching Taylor move lightly over the crossing, wondering if his earlier tramping experiences were emerging. From the ages of 8 to 12 I would bet he did as much, if not more, tramping in these ranges than any kid of that age group. Not just peripheral outings either but rather real deep multi day mountain trips. I wonder at times if I actually pushed him too hard, too fast. Lessons learned. Again I had these strong images of him ahead of me, the little boy in the checkered knee length swan dry climbing down or up and chattering away to Nigel as we made our way deeper into the mountains. Does he remember those times?

After lunch Taylor wanted to explore the forest along the creek far below the hut. As I have never done so myself and we had plenty of time I agreed. We climbed down through the steep forest but were cut off by steep sheer bluffs dropping to the creek. So we retraced our steps and headed down the track to the creek. The track is in fine shape though covered with large beech branches snapped off either by the weight of snow or wind, take your pick. The drop down to the creek is still sheer, but now that the track is cut much more manageable. So we hung out by the creek, lounging around, each in our own thoughts. It is good to see Taylor not in a hurry to DO anything other than enjoy the moment. When the sun popped out for a bit I found a warm spot and fell asleep for a bit, just listening to the sound of clear cold running water and letting my thoughts run with the melody.

Now it is late afternoon, we have spent some time gathering our firewood and filling the bins. For the first time in my over 30 visits here wood is not a problem both due to the recent track maintenance and the storm. Tonite we shall be warm in the often refrigerator like confines of Top Maropea - at least till the fire goes out!


Taylor at the head of the track which drops straight down to the creek.


Waterfall on the creek. This is not a good place to fall, but one where you almost have to stop and take in the scene.

Taylor at the water fall.


Time for an ice cold drink of mountain water.



And a wee little nap by the creek.


11 September
Top Maropea -Evening

The sun I watched rise this morning in the east is now setting over the Maropea valley from the west. Like a painting that changes each time I view it I watch the blue and purple hues play amazing light on the far off peaks, the shadows cascading into the valley below. All places I know well, have been many times. This is my favourite place in all of the Ruahine. This is home. I have history here. Charlie's placenta which I carried up and buried here in the Maori custom of Whenua. The wonderful people I have shared this place with. And today one of the most special, to know my son sits inside the hut right now as I write this makes my heart soar, makes these words lump in my throat before I can write them. I am here. And you know what? Taylor does indeed remember!

Inside the fire is roaring and fills the hut with warmth, and enough wood smoke to put that pleasant mountain aroma on our gear which will wisp around us for days, a gentle reminder of her presence in my life. Little breaths of wind reach down from the gusty stream above and whisper gently in my ear. I am still here yet miss this place already.



The view from the "back yard" at Top Maropea.



Top Maropea at night. The pile of rocks in the foreground is where Charlie's placenta is buried and a small cairn has begun to grow. I hope he does choose to connect himself to these mountains, to this place.



Taylor, warm, safe and cozy in front of an excellent fire.



Taylor and Robb.



We have a new addition to our family. "T" is a little boy not quite 5 years old. He has seen and been through a lot of things in life no little child should have to endure. So he is with us now, for how long we are not sure, but long enough for all of us to have to shove over a little bit and make room for one more.

Aroha,
Robb

p.s. Old guys can still have fun too!

62 comments:

andy said...

good view, good adventure, i wish i can go with you

Clare said...

As always Robb great heartfelt writing. Thanks for sharing yours and Taylor's tramp.

Tim Koppenhaver said...

Great story Robb. Neither of my daughters are the outdoor types, so I've found other ways to bond. An epic adventure like yours with your son will mean so much to Taylor as he grows older. Thanks for sharing.
Take care.
Tim

Donald said...

Exceptional post Robb. I felt is was there.

What a cool experience for son and dad - inspiring.

Great shots too - they're real mountains, the more so with snow about.

Thanks for a great read

Cheers

Donald

ophelia rising said...

Robb, I can't tell you how I feel when I read your words. It is at once spiritual and regenerative for me, as I'm so connected with everything you say. "I am still here yet miss this place already." How incredible. I feel this so often, but never could really put my finger on it - this feeling of wistful longing, of nostalgia for the place where I am, at that moment. I feel this way when I know I have to leave a place; when I'm "home" but must go back to my ordinary home. There are places I know of that make my heart sing and my weary body and head feel at peace and totally immersed in the entire spirit surrounding them. It's joy and sorrow mixed up together, a longing for something that I already have.

Your Taylor is fortunate to have such a loving and introspective father, to give him opportunities to grow and experience life in its fullest degree. How lovely that you both got to spend this time together, and that you could see him emerging as he was when he was younger - his "true" and honest self, which you will no doubt see again, once he gets beyond the teenage years of inward reflection and the inevitable pulling away. He'll come back to you tenfold, because you have shown him how deep your relationship with him goes, and that will make all the difference to you both as he becomes a man and ventures off on his own eventually. It's so important, what you do with your boys on these mountains - SO important. And incredibly beautiful.

"T" is a lucky little boy to be staying with such a wonderful family. Much, much love to you all.
xoxo

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Andy,
Cheers, glad you enjoyed and hope you do get out there as well!
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Clare,
Being a father never seems entirely easy to me, but out there in the mountains, with no distractions it all seems just a little less stressful. Glad you stopped in and enjoyed.
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Tim,
Any way we can connect and keep our children close accomplishes so much. I hope Taylor still wants to continue getting into the mountains as it was good for us both. We had a bit of a fight tonight over a few things, but we were both able to pull back and sort it out. Residual from the mountains perhaps? Thanks for your thoughts Tim.
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
Yes the Ruahines always look a bit more impressive with a bit of snow on the flanks. It was a pretty snow filled winter up there and gazing across at some of the bigger peaks I would have wanted a bit more gear before attempting to go higher. Indeed back at the car park ran into a guy doing just that with crampons, ice axe and rope in tow.
Teen age boys are such an enigma, girls too I guess. It was just cool to be in an environment where Taylor felt comfortable enough to let loose with me. As I wrote above to Tim we had a bit of a set to this evening over his plans and assumptions about his Saturday evening activities, but before it got ugly we both stopped, got our thoughts together away from each other, then sorted it out. it was just good to be in the bush and see through all that bluster for even just a few moments and know deep down his is actually okay.
Hope you and Dougal get out soon my friend. These boys have a lot to teach us.
Rangimarie,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Ophelia,
I have missed your presence here, though knowing fully it has been for good reason, and congrats to you once again sister Ophelia. I think of you often up in the mountains, your spirit roams them with me.
Yes that is a feeling we melancholic people have to deal with isn't it. That feeling of longing for something even in the moment we are amongst it. Very hard to explain, and sometimes hard to live with. It is both beautiful and mournful in ways, exactly as you allude to.
I hope Taylor keeps the mountains within him. He has been amongst them enough to have it in his soul should he wish to bring it to the surface. Teens are distant creatures at times, very difficult to understand. Just to get a glimpse of the boy I loved so much, and the potential of the man he might be warms my soul. Maybe it is my job to keep the mountains within him.
"T" is fast asleep on the couch, didn't even make it through 30 minutes of The Incredibles which I said he could stay up and watch. He is a strong soul and I just want to keep him safe.
My aroha to you and your lovely family as well my wonderful friend. Rave on, and Kia kaha!
Aroha,
Robb

Barbara Martin said...

A wonderful post on your hike with your son, Robb. The early experiences of hiking and camping stay fast in a child's memory. Mine do. My earliest memories of going to Banff are of large stones heated around the campfire to be placed at the foot of the sleeping bags in the tent to take the chill of the night away.

A piece of folded flannel placed where your hip aches should help on your walks. It's the cold that sneaks into the joints.

Your sons will treasure these hikes for years to come, and establishes a firm nuturing bond that will carry into their adult lives. Robb, you are setting a fine example.

Marja said...

Robb this story completely warmed my heart. I think the bonding you did with your son will stay with him forever. It is delightful to hear that you had such a good time and I think the mountains were a big help of bringing you together.
I was also delighted to see the little boy and already see the trust he gained. I am sure he gets lots of love wich help him to raise above his past although that will not be an easy journey. I have respect for both you and Tara
Bless you and may all be well on your path

Wilma Ham said...

Doing things together in the great outdoors is the best way to get to people's heart and hear them.
New Zealand offers so much in that respect.
In nature we access our heart and our mind is left behind. Our heart is the intelligent one and can sort out life issues, the mind cannot.
That is why in nature we connect heart to heart and we get intelligent conversations.
Great recordings of your time together.
Love Wilma

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Barbara,
I had neglected the apple cidar vinegar for a few weeks as well, so I will get that back into system very soon.
It was good to discover that Taylor does indeed have memories of those earlier trips. I hope that they help steer through these next few years as a teen.
Soon comes Charlies turn, so stay tuned!
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marja,
Well, I think the mountains are where I am best, and though we did not have any earth shaking break throughs or revelations it was good to find out that basically he is okay. I don't know what more we can ask of teens to be honest.
"T" is relaxing more each day. Yesterday I took him, Charlie, and Charlie's cousin out to the river for International Rock Flipping day and a picnic. We had a blast and I don't think ol'T quite knew what to make it of all at first, but he soon got into it - the sun, river, bush,biscuits, yummy sandwhiches and rock flipping, it was pretty easy really. He is an old soul for sure, I am just glad that for once he is warm, safe, and cared for. Kia kaha my friend.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Wilma,
Haere mai (Welcome) and thank you for your kind words and observations. New Zealand is indeed a great place to find nature
and the benefits that brings. I am still learning to Listen with my heart, and the mountains certainly help me to Learn.
Aroha,
Robb

pohanginapete said...

A lovely, gentle and reflective post, Robb. I'm so glad you guys had the place to yourselves — a real stroke of well-deserved luck, especially at Sunrise. :^)

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pete,
Cheers my friend. It was pretty lucky to get Sunrise to ourselves, even during the week, and it definitely made it a better experience. What always amazes me is the relative solitude one can find at Top Maropea with that real back country flavour. Not many venture beyond Sunrise, except perhaps to the saddle, and only 9 parties have actually stayed the night there this year, including 2 by me. In my 30 visits there I have only shared the place with 1 other person, and I had my tent anyway. It is just a great spot.
Hope to catch up soon Pete.
Cheers,
Robb

Gustav Risberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kylie said...

hi robb
your description of a young man bringing water for his dad and carrying his pack is a wonderful picture of respect, of tenderness, of thoughtfulness.
a good young man reflecting good parents

lovely to see young "t" there with charlie. i am so pleased that there are people like you who have the heart to "shove over and make room"

aroha
k

Lost Coyote said...

I am impressed. As tough as it is to be a father now-a-days at least we have the mountains to help us with the task.

We need wilderness now more than ever!

sarah said...

how inspiring to be back and reading of your wilderness wanderings yet again! i look at your pictures with longing as i ache to be back out there but do not have the luxury at this present time. i see the snow on the tops has receded greatly since august!

my heart goes out to little 't', may he grow up safe and strong within the loving bonds of your families arms and hearts. it brings tears to my eyes to know he is now planted in a good place with rich fertile soil to flourish in. bless you all!

sarah

KB said...

Your account of your time tramping with your son was touching and beautiful. One line caught my attention "I am still here yet miss this place already.". I feel that way so often, both in terms of the mountain oases that I visit and in terms of relationships with those I love.

It's a great gift that you've given Taylor - a love of nature.

Peregria said...

A coincidence, Robb. The guy with crampons and ice axe whom you met at the Sunrise Track carpark was my tramping companion on the Iron Gate trip the week before.

Last year we, too, had a night at Sunrise Hut just before the first weekend in September, but there was a layer of cloud on the horizon so we missed seeing the sun come up from the distant sea. I enjoyed looking at your photos and remembering what it was like up there. It's a lovely hut in beautiful surroundings with remarkable views. No wonder it's so popular.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Gustav,
Taylor is indeed a member of the RTC and paid his dues fully. He wore his badge with honour on this trip and even asked questions about it.
It was excellent talking to you last evening brother, and I look forward to Thanksgiving.
If we do not stand upon the hallowed ground of Top Maropea we will at least stand in a spot where we feel its embrace. And one which will allow us to hunt a few trout as well. Pohangina valley perhaps.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Kylie,
Thanks for pointing that out. All I felt in the moment was old, humbled, and relieved.
"T" is coming along well. The hard part of this is how to not fall hopelessly in love. Maybe Maithri could give me some advice there eh.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora LC,
It convinces me more and more that getting away from all technological distractions is the only way to go when needing such contact. Rave on brother.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Sarah,
Well I am glad you get some virtual enjoyment of the mountains here till you can next get out again. I have another trip with my youngest Charlie in October, another with my friend Gustav who is coming over in Novemeber, then my annual summer tour in December, so that all puts a smile on my face. Indeed not much snow on the eastern side, just enough to make it look cool and provide a bit of fun, but on the western side where you were there is still a fair bit, and more fell last night.
Thanks for you thoughts and concern about "T". Keep him in your thoughts. He desrves it.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora KB,
Sort of feeling of melancholy in many ways, which is not a bad thing in my view. The mountains are always calling us I guess, which makes us appreciate all the moments we have in many ways.
I have been enjoying the unfurling of winter, gently thus far, in your daily trips. Thanks for tuning in KB.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Peregrina,
Wow that is cool! You know I was pretty tired when I got back to the car but saw that fellow with all the gear and getting ready and thought he is pretty serious. Then he came over to ask me about the snow up top and we had a brief conversation, then I watched him stride away up towards Sunrise. As I was driving back home I thought about how I should shaken myself out of my tiredness and focus on getting myself and Taylor ready to head home and taken a bit more time to talk to him, as he obviously was very a capable gentleman with a love of mountains.
Good to find out that is true, and please pass on my regards.
Yes that area is beautiful and the track and hut certainly allow relatively easy access. The hut has changed a bit since I first went there and it was the old 8 bunk affair. The day (Saturday) Taylor and I returned there was a constant stream of people headed up there. Your mate was headed to Top Maropea, I hope he got the place to himself, did he? As beautiful as the area is, not many venture much further than Sunrise, which makes it a great place to get access to the inner ranges. I often walk up at night and get an early start the next morning.
Cheers Pergrina, hope we catch up ther sometime!Rangimarie,
Robb

Bob McKerrow said...

Kia Ora Robb

The weekend is here and time to catch up with blogs.

I really enjoyed reading of your trip with Taylor. The photos were superb, You can't turn the clock back and make up for the time you didn't spend with the children. These trips are precious.

Thanks for sharing this Robb.


Bob

Mike said...

Hi Robb. Thanks as usual for another very interesting post.

Sometimes I wish I'd had opportunities in exploring the back-country as I grew up. Not that I really mind after I think about it for any length of time, since I had plenty of alternative opportunities to compensate and spent my time doing other things that I'd have otherwise missed out on instead.

On an unrelated note, I noticed a recent post on DOC's Conservation Blog that talked briefly about their Whio Conservation Programme, and it reminded me of some of your earlier posts.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
I guess the most important part of that time, for me, is just finding out he is okay in there. Communicating with teens is so difficult sometimes. So the get genuine and even enthusiastic response and offerings was pretty cool. Hope all is well Bob and you had a great weekend.
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Mike,
I came to the mountains and nature late as well. Outside of a bit of hunting and fishing my father was not much interested in the outdoors. We were close in other ways, mainly sport. Coming to Nature on my own has been the most interesting journey of my life really.
Thanks for the links, always interested in the welfare of the Whio.
Cheers,
Robb

vegetablej said...

Hi Robb:

Your son is the perfect picture of you, and what fun to have time together and really talk, especially with a teen. The magic of the wilderness.

Little T is very cute and snug under Charlie's arm; hope you are feeding all those boys well!!!

:)

Bee said...

Robb, how wonderful to return to your words. I think, as I read them (and the words of all our dear friends) it helps me reevaluate humanity to a better place. I love the views of the Ruahines. I know one day I will see them.

It reminds me alot of the alps. Living in a place where you literally walk out into a range of peaks that take your breath away gave me a lot of peace this summer. I'm excited to return to them and perfect my hiking skills so I can keep up with you and Taylor (well, at least you!).

Bee said...

P.S., I'm jealous of the Thanksgiving adventure you and Gustav have planned. By next year I'll have the money to join you!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora VJ,
So good to read from you! I am not sure Taylor would appreciate the comparison, but thank you. Indeed Wild Places can be a great equalizer if people are comfortable there. I was glad to see Taylor is that.
Any suggestions you have on how to get some vegetables, and fruit into little T are welcome! I finally managed some broccoli with soy sauce the other night, but it is a tough battle. His exposure to healty foods, and dental care has been minimal. But he is quickly becoming part of our chaotic family. Hope you are happy and well VJ! Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bee,
Welcome back and my thoughts are with you and your family.
The Ruahines will be here waiting, and Gustav and I will think of you as we roam amongst them in November and wear off a hearty Thanksgiving meal or two.
There is something about stepping out your door and seeing that sort of view, glorious mountains in the distance, same as some feel about the sea I guess. It seems to put things in a proper perspective,or at least one that makes some sense.
Sending our aroha and strength to you my friend. Kia kaha!
Aroha,
Robb

vegetablej said...

Hi again:

I just happen to have a few ideas. One is lasagne with veg in the layers. Probably corn, peas, shredded carrots, even a bit of spinach would work when covered with a layer of the tomato sauce and cheese and melted to gooey goodness. Then there's pizza. You can hide sliced and separated onion rings, red sweet pepper bits (I would dice them small), tomato slices, and even thinly sliced zucchini on top of the tomato sauce and under the cheese.

I have a great easy recipe for mushroom, yes mushroom, pakoras that I'll put up for you on my blog soon. They are so good that he'll never know what's in them, and they are just great served with what all kids, and me, love - ketchup!

Great job with the broccoli! Keep trying; sometimes it takes a while before they can appeciate the different tastes.

:)

lynda lehmann said...

Hi Robb,

Just wondering how "T" is and if your hip is any better.

The dampness here is sure kicking up a lot of aches and pains in my joints, so I know how you feel.

Sometimes the aches in my hips wake me from sleep. Hope I don't have Lyme.

What do you figure sets yours off?

Ruahines said...

Kia ora VJ,
Thanks heaps for the ideas. Those Pakoras sound tasty and I shall look forward to that. Any ideas are greatly appreciated, T is prone to very angry mood swings and I wonder aside from the environmental factors how much of that might just be related to the food he has eaten in his short life. I have been making pizza with the sauce from you as a base but had not thought of sneaking on a few veges, great idea! I will keep trying, I am learning a great deal more about patience than I thought I was capable of having. Kia kaha VJ.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lynda,
Thanks for your thoughts and concern. I actually had an xray this week, and have an appointment with a specialist next week in regards to a possible hip replacement. It is just starting to hurt and ache all the time, particularly in the groin and knee, and takes any pleasure at all out of walking, much less tramping up a mountain with a heavy pack.
I have noticed during the damp winter it felt worse, but I think in my case once the cartilege is gone it is gone. I did try acupuncture which helped, but was too much of an ongoing cost. The best relief I had was suggested by another reader here, Barbara. Which was simply apple cidar vinegar, the dark natural one, a couple of tablespoons or so with a bit of honey as it it fairly puckerish is a great all around tonic for general well being,
and very good for joints and bone density. I did it every morning and definetly felt better all around, but with my busy life lately have neglected to do so but will start again. If not for my hip than just the all around feeling of good well being. Give it a try.
We have our moments with T, but I think overall he is responding very well by just caring for him, giving him cuddles and love, and having definite boundaries and rules in place. He is a pretty damaged little boy in a lot of ways and I always have to be cognizant of that. Thanks Lynda for your support, words from others here give me strength.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Hi Lynda
When I mentioned the tonic, I meant a couple of tablespoons or so of the cidar vinegar with at least 8 0z. of water as well. Try it to taste.
Cheers,
Robb

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Robb, what beautiful photos and inspirational writing. We all want to trek with you!!! What glorious times you spend with your friends and familyl

I hope your hip is better now. I have bone loss in one of mine and it bothers me now and then, but I am under a doctor's care.

Cheers! JJ

Pam said...

Hi Robb, did not have time to read all the above comments but am sure many pay hommage to the bonds you strengthen with both your sons, nature in all her majesty and unpredictability, and tentatively and carefully with little t. Your hip may be giving you problems, but your generosity is alive and well. Good luck with all your future ventures, and to your dearest wife, in her four- male household! I'm sure it takes a lot of strength from both of you to accomodate personalities and individual needs,and be determined to enjoy love,laughter and life in general.I appreciate your comments on my blog, when I too am facing physical challenges that I could not see coming.Along with medication for bone strengthening,I'll try the apple cider and vinegar suggestion...thanks!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora JJ,
Well if you ever get to this side of the world you are more than welcome. In the meantime I shall enjoy my virtual tramps with you and Jeff in my beautiful homeland.
Enjoy the remainder of a stunning fall, judging by your photos! Take care JJ
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pam,
Chaotic is the word I think I most use in describing our family. But within that chaos is a lot of Love, hopefully that will rub off on T. He needs it.
My hip is pretty bad, I saw a specialist today and the only option is a replacement really. So it looks as if sometime early next year it will happen. In the meantime I guess I will just have to struggle through a few more outings with this bum hip. I will still resume the apple cidar vinegar though. Please let me know if it helps.
Aroha,
Robb

Donald said...

Sobering news re the hip Robb. Still I've heard of nothing but good outcomes for many over the last several years. I have also heard all say it's imperative to follow post op. instructions to the letter.

Good on you for helping T find security and love. Well done to you and yours

Cheers

Donald

troutbirder said...

Beautifully written & photographed Robb. These are and will always be the best days of your life...children growing up nutured in adulthood by loving parents.

Pam said...

Wow - hip replacement, who would have thought!Found a blog that makes me laugh. Paddy in Buenos Asia says of his many treks "It's addictive, and if I don't get my regular hiking fix, I have severe withdrawal symptoms inluding bouts of crankiness and flatulence..." Watch out in your house I'd say!!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
It was a bit sobering to confirm what I thought, but also something of a relief. Weighing up the risks I guess I would rather have access to the mountains and time with my sons over the next ten years than to wait as long as possible before taking action, or simply continuing to plod amongst the mountains and enjoying the walking less and less because of the pain. I too have spoken with a few people whose lives have been transformed with new joints - including Bob McKerrow and his new knees where I was with him literally days afterwards. He by himself is an inspiration. The mountains await Donald!
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora TB,
So true, and thank you. As Van Morrison wrote and sang so well, These are the days of the endless summer....
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pam,
Ha! I shall have to check that place out, and certainly could not agree more with the sentiment. I have 3 more trips to get in where I will just have to endure my hip for what it is before "going under the knife" in late March or so 2010,then it will no doubt be 6 months of getting cranky for the hills. Good thing I have so many great memories stored within me to give me focus and hope during my convalescence. I just close my eyes I can be amongst the Ruahine. Thank you Pam, you inspire me as well, thank you for your presence here.
Aroha,
Robb

Hell Mission T.C said...

Hi Robb,

I have added to the Hell Mission Tramping Clubs website-www.freewebs.com/hellmission/

1.)Touching the Boyd by Jeremy Collyns, Hell Mission Tramping Club, easy trip.

Leaving Poronui Station carpark as a party of three myself, her indoors for her first tramp in a while and Phillip. We soon became two, Phillip disappearing into the distance, beginning much hand wringing from her indoors. After three and a half hours we reached the Mohaka River this involved a waist deep crossing and then shortly after a crossing of the Oamaru River again waist deep invoking a comment from her indoors being shorter that she was actually floating across them. After that she announced she did not like rivers anymore than swing bridges (the result of the Heaphy Track experience, this may prove a problem tramping in New Zealand!)...

This one can be found under 'Moderate Hell Missions'

2.)First Solo Tramp-Kaimanawas to the Kawekas to the Ruahines (almost to Ruahines by myself)

Many would think I should not be tramping solo at 17 but you got to do activities like tramping for an adventure something missing from many of my classmates who I doubt any are out there tramping for their holidays instead doing drugs etc which is just about as dangerous as tramping!...

This can be found under 'Lunatic Hell Missions'

3.)Into Shute’s Hut and back in Sun, Rain and Snow-fantastic SPRING school holiday weather


One hour on from being picked up from the end of my solo five dayer I was soon walking again. The first hut for this trip was easy as it was driven to-Komata or Comet Hut. ...

This can be found under 'Overnight Hell Missions' and rolls on from my first solo story.

Cheers
Phillip Collyns

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Phillip,
Good on ya mate! I am glad to read of your continuing explorations and shall pop over to give a more thorough look.
I am sensing a solo trip welling within me as well. There is always much to learn, many comfort zones to get beyond when on our own, but the places we get to seem all the more relevant.
I think these trips you are undertaking on your own are very valuable to you. Don't forget about your dad though! Kia kaha mate.
Cheers,
Robb

lph said...

Robb,

It's been quite a while since I checked into your blog, or any others for that manner. The new school year has slapped me in the face. Two new classes and two new novels to teach make Larry a dull boy.

I very much enjoyed your story. While following your blog over the past few months I am certainly aware that your relationship with Taylor has been a bit strained at times. But it looks to me that this tramp into the mountains was good medicine for both of you. Sometimes we just need to be patient as we wait and try to outlast our busy and preoccupied teenagers (I certainly have one myself). And besides, are our young ones acting any different than we acted to our own fathers.

I finish this by quoting from the new Wilco CD: "Hey you children stop acting like children, every generation thinks its the best in the world." Makes me smile every time I hear it.

Take care me friend.

Larry

Robin Easton said...

Dear Robb,

I left a long comment here just after you posted this and have been back a few times, but it looks like my first comment was lost. As I didn't see it here. So then I came back today and just now wrote a "mile long" comment LOL!! And when I hit the publish button after I was done my Firefox crashed. I cannot believe it!!!

Both comments were so from my heart because this post just ripped my heart out. It is sooooooooooo beautiful. The writing, your insights into Taylor made me cry, the remarkable photos of the mountains and land, of you and Taylor, of tiny little "T", of Charlie so lovingly and proudly putting his arm around "T", almost protectively.

I wish I hadn't lost my comment. It was a beauty. Suffice to say that I've not only fallen in love with your beautiful family. Every one of you, from you and Tara to DEEPLY sensitive Taylor to little "Snow Turtle" and now precious little "T". But something else has happened. Even though I love Earth with my entire being, I usually don't fall this in love with place (on a soul level) unless I've been there and spoke to the trees and rivers and birds, BUT through your eyes and soul, I have fallen so deeply in love with the Ruahines, as if I had known them for a lifetime. I know in my heart that I am connected to them and MUST see them some day.

There are some connections, just as I am connected to Ophelia (Mary) and you and your family, I am connected to the Ruahines.

My dear Wild Brother, you truly are the "Voice of the Ruahines". I feel all the way over here that they deeply love you, as you do them.

This post was magnificent, gut wrenching, beautiful, Life-filled and a gift to me and all who come here.

Aroha...always, my Wild Brother, "Voice of the Ruahines".

Robin

Ruahines said...

Kia ora LPH,
Good to read from you old friend! I suspected the new school year was keeping you well away from the cyber world. Hope you stay with it though as I enjoy reconnecting with you, as well as your writing and photos. I am still waiting patiently for a post or two on your Boundary Waters journey!
You know mate, since the trip with Taylor we have both been a bit calmer, a bit more understanding of each other perhaps. He is very into being "different" at the moment, and I can hardly blame him for that, and the fact he is a joining of Tara and myself I should understand that and be proud of him really. And I am. Yet there is that part of me which knows the road ahead. Yet we each have our own path. Tonite he came out dressed up like I can only describe as Paul Westerberg from The Replacements, in the very early days. I showed him the picture from their album where they are all on a roof in Mpls. all "different looking" with wild hair, skinny jeans, and Chuck Taylors. He loved it.
As soon as I get a little extra coin from the budget I will check out the new Wilco cd. Tweedy is up there as a song writer no question.
Gustav is coming over for Thanksgiving! A short jaunt to the mountains for a bit of away time and fishing, then an excellent weekend full of good food, good friends, family, tunes, and I dare write a wee dram or two. We shall raise a toast to you brother!
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Robin,
I know you Love the Ruahine. You Love All Nature so this makes my little patch just a part of what you are. I love how you write that unlsess you have spoken to the trees, the rivers and birds can you fall in love with a Wild Place. Wild Sister, if I have given you the Gift of the Ruahine from so far away, then it is worth in itself the reason for spending far too much time in this cyber world.
Please come and see Aotearoa before they try to destroy its inner Wild Soul as well. Come and Listen to the Ruahine!
I always love your comments and I too would have enjoyed your missives. But these words from you will suffice as well. Rave on my unique Sister!
I am gearing up for Thanksgiving, and my Brother Gustav is coming to visit. Yes!!!!
I will give all my boys, Taylor, Charlie, and T a big Wild Heart Felt Hug from You. SOUL HUG!!!!! Tara too!
Aroha,
Robb

Joe McCarthy said...

Hi Robb,

Another great and inspiring post, on many dimensions!

I must say that in reading about a father and son, heading up into the mountains, exploring both the external expanses and the internal depths, and struggling with an old wound, I'm reminded of one of my favorite books of all time, which I know we've discussed over the years - implicitly or explicitly - and which I re-read every 5-10 years or so, uncovering new insights based on whatever stage of life I'm in: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Thanks for sharing your journey to the "high country"!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Joe,
You know I have not read that book in some time, since I used it as a theme for differences in teaching methedology back in grad school. Time to pick it up again. I agree there is much in there relating to traveling in the mountains, and with my son. The practical side of planning, route finding, technical problems of climbing or river crossing, gear, fire building, and many others. As opposed to the more subtle spiritual side of simply being in the mountains. Both essential.
Kia kaha Joe!
Rangimarie,
Robb