Friday, January 22, 2010

Dreams





I have been having these strange dreams about the Ruahine as of late. The common theme seems to be walking amongst all the beauty and grace of the mountains, and most often with those whom I have been there with. We arrive at some far off destination and find loads people there, all sorts of noise and a confusing jumble of scrambling to find room. Last night it was just walking to Sunrise hut to find a road, cars and a petrol station up there! I wake up sweaty and filled with dread, then realize where I am. Separation anxiety perhaps? I hope so, but every day I keep waiting for this National government to show its true hand in regards to our wild places, and that combined with my own inability to Be There is leading to some very restless nights.





So it has been a real place of refuge to come here and peruse my library of experiences and recall the serenity and solitude such places still offer. The memories and sensations for instance of drinking from a mountain tarn high on the golden tussock tops of the main range as in the first photo. After a steep and sweaty climb up from Upper Makaroro valley to the tops these tarns are a welcome and beautiful sight, not to mention slaking a mighty thirst with the cold clear water. There are now signs at most of the huts which have water tanks warning of the risks of drinking untreated water, and there are those who will not drink from the streams, rivers, and tarns. I myself have never hesitated in my 17 years to simply slake my thirst in the handiest source nearby, and I recall a few times being extremely hot and thirsty with no water. A time with Nigel on a hot and steamy day on the Apiti track above Leon Kingvig hut. When we finally got down to the hut I literally staggered into the river and tried to drink it all. Or with Taylor and Jake on Parks Peak ridge, pictured above across from the tarn. It was a blazing hot summer day, and with two 9 year old boys on a long and undulating ridge we quickly ran out of water, resorting to squeezing drops of muddy moisture out of handfuls of moss. When we got to the old Parks Peak hut the sweet coolness of the nectar in that old tank was heaven. Those boys learned the real meaning of thirst that day - and I learned a bit more about tramping with young boys. Or the very first Ruahine tramp I ever did with Nigel and John in 1993. We climbed the dauntingly steep Gold Crown ridge, and on another hot summer day ran out of water long before we reached the car. I remember John and I standing on the ridge on the way down, far below us a shimmering ribbon of a waterfall which we could not reach. Fortunately we had left in the car a chilly bin, covered in ice and a six pack of beer. A cold beer never tasted quite so good as those, the best I ever had.



The old Parks Peak hut, and said water tank. In winter most often the tank was froze, and it is not an easy walk to get to, the area boggy and damp, yet it is place that I have been drawn to since my first visit there in 1997. I just stare as this photo evolves before my eyes, at the sights, sounds, the views of yonder, and moreso the amazing world of mosses, lichens, plants, tussocks, leatherwood, and twisted, gnarled and hearty mountain beech. This is the place perhaps more than any in these mountains which taught me to just slow down, to appreciate more my immediate world, all my being here in these few seconds, and really have a look around. You could be there forever and never see Everything. A place to just wander out to some point on the ridge and bash through a bit of forest, and find a place to just sit very still, Listen and Just Be. It is the most marvelous music ever. I will return here as soon as I can bear the 6 hour plus journey up this beautiful and yet arduous ridge.



Beauty is often in the eye of the beholder, and the Ruahine contains some 60 plus structures which could be called huts. I have been to 45 or so, some of my favourite spots numerous times, others only once. Above is Sparrowhawk bivouac - not a true hut in the sense the original structure was the back tiny portion. Really an emergency shelter placed just below the main range, and meant as a place to drop to when things are out of control, or getting close. There is enough room in that part for two sleeping bags, two bodies, a wee bit of gear, and that is it, and if you happened upon this place in such conditions you would consider yourself fortunate. The fact the front alcove has been added makes it a real bonus, it has a bench and a shelf to which to cook upon, and there are a few prime spots to pitch a tent if so desired. And the location itself is pretty sublime, high above the Makaroro valley and just a stones throw from the tops. Being situated in a little hollow gives it a unique almost micro climate out of the teeth of the nor'west gales common just above it. On this day John and I dropped down to it when the wind became too fierce up top and though our intention was to just have a cup of tea and lunch then carry on, the wind got even heavier and we decided to just stay the night. It was a fine afternoon and evening as we watched the clouds rip over safe in our little cocoon, and the next day, though still very windy and cold we carried onto Maropea Forks. I have never been back this way, but when I get my new hip I shall return. It calls out to me, an unreposing little gem.








An amazingly peaceful and calm early spring day at Lake Colenso. Nigel and I walked down into the basin containing the lake itself from Colenso hut, 20 minutes or above on a subsidiary branch of the Mangatera river. It is deep in the northern sector of the Ruahine, a reasonable walk from any direction, and a very unique and spiritual place. The Maori name for the lake is Kokopunui, as it was very productive source of kokopu, indigenous fish or trout, and there were apparently a few pa sites nearby established by local hapu for hunting, fishing, and gathering. With up to 150 metre cliffs surrounding the Kokopunui basin it is a wonderful view from high above it, a steep climb in and out of it, and a place of unique connection. I will return here as well. * My thanks to Kathy Ombler and her fine and often used guide - The Ruahine Forest Park. Still have my original copy from 1993!




The mighty stalwart beech - at some timeless moment to succumb to the irrestible flow and charms of the Pohangina river. Just above Ngamoko hut.

Aroha,
Robb

40 comments:

troutbirder said...

Progress, economic development and wilderness. A ongoing issue. Here some of our national parks are being "loved to death." I worry about our Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness. It's not a true wilderness but it comes close. And so far is holding it own in spite of ever increasing numbers of paddlers. I do think it good though. The first time visitors usually say..."this is really cool lets keep it that way."

Bob McKerrow said...

Kia Ora Robb

Gaston Rebuffat, that great French mountaineer said, " I prefer dreams to memories."

Keep dreaming Robb, for it is free. Dream harder, and you will see a new, caring, conservation-minded and competent Government. They will be in shiny green armour, defending our beautiful foests, rivers, mountains, lakes and the coastline. No windfarms, no more hydro electric schemes blotting the rivers.

What is interesting is people gave Helen Clarke a hard time when she was PM. Now she is in New York doing a brilliant job, changing the face of the UN and making it a more efficient organisation. Friends in the UN talk about her in awe ! Now we loose another brilliant leader, Mike Moore, to be Amassador at the UN. It is a common ploy. When a new Government comes it, send your top leaders overseas and let the mediocre and incompetent ones run the country, to mismanage, destroy and plunder. Imagine my MP in Gerry Brownlee and couldn't distinguish netween a beach and a beech tree.

Go walkabout Robb, get back to dreamtime, it's better there than reality.

Bob

KB said...

I love reading your memories, and your repeated mantra that you shalll return when you get a new hip. I feel certain that you will, and if it's possible, you'll appreciate it even more than you do now. When I started have back surgeries a decade ago, my attitude toward the natural places that I love was transformed. I realized how lucky I was to make each visit and remembered to stop and give thanks.

I think that you already have that attitude but it might become even stronger when your hip becomes as strong as your spirit.

Kia Kaha. We shall both return to our favorite places on Earth.

Elisabeth said...

I'm new to your blog here Robb from Marja at Dutchcorner and wowed by your beautiful writing and photos of such an amazing part of the world.

I'm also taken by your sensitivity, sensibility and the stories you tell of time tramping with your older son and friends, your rummy hip and your love of the land.

I look forward to visiting again.

Marty Mars said...

Awesome Robb - thanks for the journey

Marja said...

Oh Robb Hope you return soon to the land of your dreams which you describe so beautifully. Yes beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you are one of the fortunate ones who is able to see it and live in such paradise. I wish you and yours the best .On Tuesday I start my new job after doing training
I am offered to teach computer courses a day a week. They arranged it so that I can keep doing my current job in the same centre.I am very happy Always wanted to be a teacher

PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

Kia Ora Robb

Nature teaches us great lessons of life if only we stop to listen. Lovers of the environment that is clad in pristine wear and the therapeutic benefits derived, know only too well. I feel as though I'm actually tramping through the Ruahine ranges with you, and boy oh boy what a wonderful feeling it gives me. Nothing escapes your all discerning eye when documenting your personal interactions with one of Mother Nature's many gifts, the Ruahine.

The scenery around Sparrowhawk bivouac and Lake Colenso is refreshing to the eyes, and definitely would make great pictures to hang on the wall of my home but for now this desire will have to wait a wee longer because I have to experience the scenery in real time.

It was mighty considerate of you to throw in a dash of history surrounding the Mangatera river for a person like me who is fascinated with all aspects of Maori culture. The floral beauty of Ruahine does not escape your eyes and you so generously shared that through your writings in this blog. I'm fixated with your many references about the leatherwood, I suppose this is the blanket word for ground-cover plants that keep on beautifying the pathways in the Ruahine ranges. Would love to see close up pictures of the various types of leatherwood.

Yes, I do believe that when you get your new hip you will again be holding Ruahine hands as you stroll in her garden of beautiful places. My blessings to you, your family and Ruahine.

Tim Koppenhaver said...

A journal helps great memories become even better. Especially in the case of your journal which primarily records your adventures. I particularly like this memory:

"A place to just wander out to some point on the ridge and bash through a bit of forest, and find a place to just sit very still, Listen and Just Be."

Take care.

TK

Anne-Marie said...

Kia ora Robb. I haven't visited here for some time so I was distressed to read your hip had got so bad. I knew you had been having problems but didn't realise it was at the surgery stage. I hope the surgery is successful and you'll be able to get back to your beloved Ruahines as soon as possible!

I understand your anxious dreams of the Ruahine. I had something similar - dreams about ruined beaches - after my surfing injury last year.

Blessings,
Anne-Marie

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Robb, a most EXCEPTIONAL post as always with GORGEOUS photos!!!

My vibes tell me strongly it is time for you to write a non-fiction book about your beautiful journeys. Try finding a literary agent.

PLEASE consider this. It will keep you busy while you mend.

My second book, HOPE AND COMFORT FOR EVERY SEASON, with the enlightened successful author Cecil Murphey, has been posted online. It hits the shelves on June 1st.

I am telling you that becoming published is very possible!

Hugs, JJ

Ruahines said...

Kia ora TB,
Funny the those words, Progress and Economic development do not look very comfortable beside the word Wilderness. I am also starting get uncomfortable with the concept of Adventure Tourism, all the rage here in New Zealand, and no doubt the states as well. That blending of economics and wilderness - sort of like oil and water really. I am not sure how to reconcile the possibility that more people do find a connection with wild places, and that they find it in MY wild place. Though of course it does not belong to me, and those whom travel there have as much right as I do. But it is one thing to travel in the wild and another to connect, but again that has many levels as well, as does what constitutes a Wild Place in the first place. The first real solitude I ever experienced was in the Boundary Waters, and it is as real today as it was then. The call of the Loon is as haunting, beautiful, and melancholic as can be as it rolls and echoes across the black waters.
Cheers TB,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
It starts to seem that under National even Dreaming will be something middle class earners will be charged for. They giveth with one hand and take twice as much away with the other. Today it was announced that the minimum wage will be increased by 25 cents! 10 dollars per week which will then be taxed! How generous of Mr. Key and his cohorts. As for wild places that attack will be very quietly done, surrounded by buzz words like sustainability, and economic realities, non impact, future generation, ad nauseum....
So I will dream Bob, of those mountain ridges, the golden tops, and clear water, and dream of being of being there free and easy.
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora KB,
I am really feeling how much I love those mountains when I have not been there for a few months now, and won't be for another 6 or so. I am feeling how much a part of me they have become, how integral to me they are, and how glad I am to discover that what is inside me is sustaining me and I hope when the time comes will make me stronger. Your recovery and journey means a lot to my own forward thoughts KB. Kia ora and Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Elisabeth,
I bid you welcome and thank you for your visit and thoughts. I hope I find more thoughts of these places to share while I cannot physically be there and please do stop in. Marja's place is wonderful.
Rangimarie,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marty,
Haere mai! Thanks for stopping in and the generous plug over at your place a while back. I have greatly enjoyed your very topical, informative, and eclectic place. A lot on offer. Glad you enjoyed.
Cgheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marja,
I can so easily "see" you as a Teacher. You have already taught me! Congratulations and best of luck. I look forward to reading of your new journey over at your place.
Thank you for your continued support. I think about those mountains every day, trying to keep them fresh, but at the same time accepting their absence with grace and dignity so it does not impact negatively on me out here. Not always easy. Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

sarah said...

greetings Robb!

back here to wish you a belated happy new year and send some good vibes for the restoration of your hip.

i, too, love to drink the water of wherever i walk so freely partook of the ruahine 'juices' while i was up there. i haven't made it back to your part of the country yet, still working on getting people to walk with me as i much prefer the richness of company over solo. this summer i'm having to stick to more beaten tracks like the ruapehu round the mountain track, i don't mind doing them as i've not done them before but prefer the wilder reaches of our national parks.

we're also booked to tramp the newly formed hillary trail in our beloved waitakere ranges, not as high as your mountains but well walked by us. we have purchased hennesy hammocks and will be embarking on a 4 day hammock/tramping trip which is a first for us! (don't know if i'll be drinking the water out there, they say it's best not to but what do you reckon?). not sure how the hammocks will go but i've been reading promising things about them and am going over to pick mine up on saturday to sleep out in the bush around my place sunday night.

sending warm greetings to you and yours! stay well

sarah

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Paterika,
Thank you my wonderful friend. Sometimes I see a gift in this trouble with my hip in that it forced me to slow down and SEE more. Even when I get this fixed and get back amongst those wonderful ranges I will still walk slow and take it all in.
The Maori did indeed have many interactions with the ranges, not so much for permanent places, but as I wrote in the post, hunting, fishing, gathering, and as a refuge from other warring tribes. I have some old journals written by William Colenso, the first white man to cross the Ruahine, guided by Maori, and in onoe portion tells of one of his guides at a rest point casually poking a stick into the ground, striking something firm and finding a beautiful greenstone adze, so travel there certainly predates Colenso's time there in the mid to late 1840's. I always wondered if that adze was tied to the legend I have heard of a western war party falling to their doom trying to cross the notorious Saw Tooth ridge, and it was said the bleached bones could be seen for years lying broken on the bottom.
Leatherwood, or Tupare, is an actually flowering tree daisy which is abundant in New Zealand, and the Ruahine contains the largest unbroken mass in the southern Ruahine. I will post some photos for you soon, but it is a tight growing shrubby gnarly bush which in mass is virtually inpenetrable. Many times I have simply walked and crawled over the tops of it rather than try to find a way through it. Those who know it and have battled with it usually refer to it with another adjective in front, such as that ###### leatherwood!! However I find it a stunning tree, and a feature of the Ruahine that I always enjoy, and know when I see it I am getting high as it grows only above 900 metres or so. In flower it is a subtle form of grace.
To stroll again in the Ruahine Garden is my dearest dream. Thank you Paterika, for your presence here and for your wonderful support. My finest thoughts to you and yours. Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Tim,
The less I am there the more that pile of little notebooks means to me.
The Ruahine is full of places, and varied options, to Just Sit and Be. But Parks Peak is indeed a very very special place. Thanks for checking in my friend.
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Anne-Marie,
Always good to read from you, and I appreciate your thoughts. It (my hip) just got really bad over the latter part of last year, and I knew it was bad when I finally had to turn back from a trip into Pohangina valley last November. Outside of a short and easy trip into Heritage lodge with my friend in early December I have not even contemplated a trip until this is done. I am scheduled for surgery on 8 April, and with recovery I am aiming for a Ruahine reunion in July for my birthday. Fingers crossed.
I wonder what it is about being injured and unabble to connect with places we love that causes our unconscious thoughts to run so strange? Hope all is well Anne-Marie, and here's to connecting at some stage this year. Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora JJ,
I am trying to find opportunities and meaning in this journey, so I am taking you very seriously. As I look at this pile of little note books, all battered and wrinkled documenting my every journey into those mountains, I know there is something within them. I just am not sure what. But I am taking my down time here to try and figure that out, along with what I want my life to be over these next 10-15 years. You are an inspiration my original Turangawaewae wonderful friend. My regards to Jeff. Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Sarah,
Glad to read you from you again. I hope your summer has been full of fine and wonderful walks, and it looks as if it has been. The Ruahines will be here waiting for you, just as they are waiting for me.
The Waitakeres may be a little too close to a heavily populated area to chance drinking the water, but hey, if I personally was thirsty enough, and it looked right, I would take my chances. I have drunk water straight from the dark murky lakes of the Boundary Waters after being warned not to on many trips and never suffered, filled my old canteen on biking trips as a youth from sources I hate to contemplate now, and have imbibed in the Ruahine water for 17 years without ill effect, but that is just me. There are a lot of compact, and reasonably inexpensive filters these days so it might be a wise investment in our ever growing world. I have never used a hammock for camping but I have heard nothing but good things about them. You are off the ground, so a sleeping mat is not necessary, and if they have some sort of cover in case of rain, or you also have a bivvy sack, I would write it would be very comfortable. Might be a bit problematic if up real high in terms of finding a place to tie it up, but outside of that it would be wonderful.
Thanks for your thoughts Sarah, and for stopping by to share. I appreciate your presence. Happy tramping and kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Pam said...

I may be way off track here Robb, but I had no idea the spirit of Aotearoa was such a sacred healing force, almost the forefront of sacred plant medicine in New Zealand,and wonder if your restless spirit, manifesting in your dreams,may be calmed and soothed by the essences of the environment you love so much.Even may be great for post-op healing!If you can't get out and into this environment pre-op,perhaps it could come to you!... the actual essences of these places dear to you,taking advantage of the healing strengths offered from such sources taken from the ferns, trees etc that are there? Much work has been done in this area- a lot of research and ancient healing techniques with plants from Aoteara,an area of interest of those such as New Zealander Franchelle Ofsoske-Wyber.It's just a hunch.These essences are from her organization First Light. She seems a very wise woman in touch with the healing power of nature, and as a New Zealander has also come here to Australia to work with our indigenous healers.Even the specific area of pain relief with plant essences from this area you love so much, could be interesting to check out...just sayin'. Good luck.

Robin Easton said...

Dear Wild Brother, Your memories are as poignant and filled with Life as the real thing...because they STILL are the REAL thing. Do you know why? Because You ARE that place, Robb. You ARE the wild. You are not something separate from it. I SO relate to this in myself as well. Although I am no longer living in the wild for months and months on end like have in the past....and although I know I will one day return to living full time the wild, I made SUCH a complete connection with the wild... like you, I became it. Your BEAUTIFUL memories here make it very clear to me that you’re STILL these mountains speaking, as fresh as if you had just been there yesterday.

Through various changes/circumstances and "callings" in my life, I returned to "society" many years ago and the last 15 in a small city. Yes there are mountains to hike ten minutes way from my home, but not RIGHT outside my door for miles and miles. I didn't always understand these strong "callings". They seemed so against the wildness I had known and BECOME. I only lately begin to understand the need or reason for my being "out" here in society, both for myself and Earth. During this time I wrote my book, although at the time of the writing it, it was merely a way to re-experience my wild realities in a world that few people understood.

I've grown in this "concrete jungle" in ways that gave me contrast, understanding, compassion and vast insight that has been just as HUGE as my time in the "green jungle". Nonetheless I will return one day to live wild. It's who I am. Maybe this time for you is to lend contrast and perspective on what you REALLY ARE and HOW MUCH you have that is unique and special. There are few people on the planet that spend as much time in the wild as you do. Robb, I came out of the rainforest thinking my life/time there was the norm. I kid you not. I didn't see my wild ways as anything unusual or unique. I DID see them as off the charts in terms of growth, madly in love with the wild, deeply grateful for every single moment, total freedom, powerful, and more. But I really had not contrast until I was unable to be in the wild and lived in society pretty much full time except for my hikes. My point being that this time away due to your hip may help you see the truly remarkable, unique YOU, the parts of yourself that you see as "just you" and nothing more. I can't really explain this. All I can say it might help you see more clearly just HOW unique you are.

Young people need your voice. Have you ever thought of talking to kids (and parents) at schools, putting together a power point presentation of your photos and encouraging them to seek truth and initiation through the wild. You have something to GIVE that young souls are desperate for but don't even know what they need because they’ve not been exposed to it. I see a shinning and powerful future for you. Life can often take us on mysterious paths. Your writing is as unforgettable as your memories and experiences. This may not be an "end" but possibly a "beginning". You are always in my thoughts and your wild heart speaks to me. Aroha my brother, Robin

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pam,
Thanks for those thoughts, concern, and the link. Part of the gathering at Kokopunui would no doubt have been plants, herbs, barks, ect. not accessible at lower altitudes. It is something I had not considered, and I thank you for opening up my mind to the potential. Just a few of the aromas of the mountains would be restorative I have to believe. I close my eyes now and breathe deep the mountain air. Thank you Pam. Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Wild Sister,
I feel you very strongly. Like recognizing the eyes of a child I know you SEE these things, and with those same eyes that I try to do so. I am not so good out HERE at doing that as I am in THERE. I am getting better, and having connected with a wide and varied group of people here in this place, united by a Love of Nature, has made a tremendous difference for me in many ways. Writing being one, the memories of the mountains I recall so vividly in my mind and try to capture in words. Perhaps capture is too strong a word, there is nothing to capture, just to observe and be part of. In any case my wonderful friend, I am slowly learning to look at this enforced abscence from such an Integral Place for my soul, to interact with it in other ways, and that somehow it is a way for me to bring more awareness to other people. Not that I am any more aware, but this one little narrow thing - I GET IT!! Perhaps that is mine to share. I am pondering many things, and those mountains are always just behind my shoulder.
Thank you my beautiful friend, for your presence here, for your belief in the Wild Places, and in me. You Rock! Rave on, Kia kaha!
Aroha,
Robb

Nigel Olsen said...

Hi Robb,
Have you been following the goings on with the industrialised dairying project down in the Mackenzie Basin? It'll be intresting to see what Nick Smith will do now that he's stepped into the fray. Traditionally, National have been champions of business development & indifferent at best towards the environment, but given the hue & cry from all quarters (even Meridian Energy are opposed), surely they'll listen & put a stop to it?

Ophelia Rising said...

Robb, as usual, your words and pictures touch my heart and soul. I'm in love with the beech tree, the very last photo here. It's beautiful. I wish I could see it, in person.

Actually, I'm in love with trees, in general. They always speak to me, in ways that I can't explain. I love a book, entitled, "Meetings With Remarkable Trees." Maybe you've heard of it...? If not, I highly recommend it to you, the photos are wonderful, and each tells a good tale of the tree represented.

I wish I could take a drink from one of the rivers or tarns. I'm in awe of, and have no words for, the beauty there. There is something about drinking water from a stream, or river, that is different - it's alive, moving, breathing water. Like the difference between writing on a computer, and writing on paper. Or the difference between reading a book and seeing a movie. It's tactile and fresh and resonant. It's real. Not that the other isn't, but there's a genuineness there...

Your words always bring to mind a spiritual, beautiful existence in this old world. I thank you for that, with tears in my eyes. Much, much love to you and your lovely family.

Aroha,
Mary/Ophelia
xo

sarah said...

thanks for the acknowledgements, Robb.

i like the idea of purchasing a filter (wow, those steri-pens are pricey!) and will look into it, the further along we 'progress' the more our water becomes contaminated but like you i am determined to keep drinking it until i'm confronted with a personal experience and reason not to - although perhaps not here in auckland. just slept out in the new hammock in the backyard sunday night and it was as they say, exceedingly comfortable. because it's a tramping hammock it comes complete with fly so despite the wild weather i was dry.

stay positive, you will be back out in your beloved ruahines before you know it.

sarah

Ophelia Rising said...

Robb, I just read one of your friend's comments, which mentioned a vibe that you should put your energies into a book right now. I can't tell you how much I agree. You have loads of material, all beautifully rendered, all exquisitely written. I want to put my two cents in, and say that it would be amazing if you did it. What a wonderful
"love letter" it would be to your beloved Ruahines - and a perfect way to experience and remember your journeys through them while your hip heals. I *know* it would be successful, and something people would really need to read, right now.
Love to you!
xoxo

Barry said...

As it is in New Zealand, so it is in Canada, Robb. Our wild places are vanishing at a rapid rate.

Your beautiful photography reminds us all of what is at risk.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Nigel,
I have been keeping an eye on these goings on down south. I recall not long ago reading of one the south islands richest men who has made a fortune out of dairy farming and claimed he would invest millions more if he could, that it is the only economic salvation we have here in our beautiful place. This is what we are up against. I have to believe in this instance that cooler heads will prevail, though I may be a bit naive. If the dairy farmers were sane enough to invest in holding ponds, filtration systems, and a sane policy of effluent control we could have a debate. But the wanton disregard and destruction of our greatest resource, the water, is a sin beyond compare.
Like what you are doing over at your place. Rave on!
Cheers,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Ophelia,
It always warms my soul to see your presence here, and I smile from ear to ear reading your words.
Indeed the trees do speak to us, if we will Listen. I have felt energy flowing from many, both here in New Zealand, and in the states, the mighty and elegant red woods and majestic sequoias, or the fragrant smell of pine in a deep Wisconsin forest or Boundary Waters. But here in the mountains these gnarled, twisted and hearty friends greet me and talk to me more than any others. That beech you write of I watched for hours across the river, wrote a poem for, toasted with a wee dram, and I talked to it there clinging to life as I was in that moment. You get that. Kia ora.
To drink from the mountain stream or tarn, to slake my thirst unincumbered by worries of the world or what other my think, is the greatest gift the mountains have given to me.
I hope you and your beautiful family are well my wonderful friend and Wild Sister. Your words here mean more than you know. May the mountain breeze be gentle upon you, and the crystal clear water always nearby. Kia Kaha!
Aroha,
Robb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Sarah,
Glad to read the hammock was a success. Should be a good way to travel without the weight of a tent, yet having the safety of shelter. I like it.
There are a lot of filters out there these days. New Zealand Widerness magazine has done some good reviews and might possibly have them on their website. But I would expect to spend at least a couple hundred bucks. The biggest concern for me would be how long the actual fitering part lasts in terms of litres filtered, and how much it is to replace. I guess weight and size are also important.
I guess that in terms of drinking water, at least in the Ruahines, my philosophy is the same as yours. I have not had any bad experiences and don't expect to anytime soon. Maybe a bit naive, but thats the way it is.
Thanks Sarah, I am looking so forward to getting this fixed and out there. In the meantime it is good to stay connected with like minded people and share a few memories and thoughts here. Kia kaha.
Aroha,
Robb

adam said...

Robb-
I dart my head from underneath the drift that has been my home for this long winter, and insodoing, I salute you with gratitude.
I've a friend who drinks from our local streams with less caution than I, just as you do from your pools and brooks. I lost a great deal of faith in our water over a case of liver parasites a few years back, probably caught from a lunch of cress from a spring or a drink from a source close to a spring. That was a hairy winter, I'll tell you.
I don't relate this story as a caution or even a foil to yours; I'm trying to fully understand the feelings that I experiences while reading your story. I love water and the mountain, I cherish my childhood drinking from every source I could, including the occasional irrigation ditch when necessary. Those Arizona flows could be nasty.
I know there have been many pieces about the change from pure to polluted over the years as filth and imbalance swept over the earth with industrial 'revolution' and advancement, but I still haven't resigned myself to the effects. I still try to drink close to the sources I know and can trace, but those places carry risk. Sometimes I lack the faith necessary.
Sometimes my life too closely mimics my experience with mountain waters, I regret to say.
I'm glad that your stories build my faith and make me think things through.
Mitakuye Oyasin, faro-off brother.
Aroha-
Adam

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Brother,
All of our experiences relate to the mountain water in some way. To drink or not to drink is our choice.
I have never been bothered by such ailments as you my fine sir and when I did my one foray in the desert country always had water with me. I have always felt a certain calmness in the Ruahine about my interactions with Her water. So I give into my Trust. That is as close to religion as I will ever get. Though I guess maybe I am really more religous than most in some ways.
Adam, the next time I am in those mountains, please rest assured, I will dip my tin cup, well used, into those clear waters running cold and wild, and I will raise it to you my fine friend. You, the Coyote, and a fire.
Rave on brother, I love you indeed. Kia kaha!
Aroha,
Robb

Kirigalpoththa said...

Superb blog you are having here!

sarah said...

as always, your advice is more than helpful. i've started looking around for filters, thankfully it's something that will not be a major problem as this is the first time i've had to look into water purification. perhaps using the pills will be a quick, easy fix. we shall see.

All the best!!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Sarah,
No worries. I would definitely get a filter as opposed to the pills. My only experience with them was in the Boundary Waters in the states. My mate coped with them, but I couldn't stand drinking the horrible taste they impart on the water, and took my chances with the lakes and streams and came out fine. That was years ago to be true, but I can't imagine the pills have improved since then. If I had a choice between buying a filter and pills I would spend the money on a filter and be done with it. Best of luck my friend. Happy tramping!
Aroha,
Robb

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Robb, I know how much this is tearing you apart. What great photos and inspirational poignant post. My prayers are with you as you deal with your conservation concerns and health.

Hugs, JJ