Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mountain Dreams

30 July 2003, Maropea Forks - solo and my 43rd birthday.

I will settle upon this photo as my own personal favourite of myself in terms of the Ruahine. I was 43, certainly not a young man, but I was fit, there were no physical barriers holding me back.

A solo birthday celebration, a venture into solitude and a place I love in the middle of winter. No easy feat in the grasp of a long walk down an ice cold mountain river. Shit! It was cold. To arrive at this beautiful place, cold, wondering, exhilarated. To build a little fire in that wonderful stove just for me, but yet for everyone, was a distinct pleasure and honour, and very warming in all ways. The next day I just stayed put as the water I put in the billies inside the hut had a coat of ice upon them! Quite content I got the fire going just quietly and decided I would stay here another day. What I really love about this photo is not me, or the fully loaded already burning wood stove, but that kindling bucket in back of me , which states 28 Litres of Golden-Syrup. which is a lot of syrup, of any kind. It harkens us back to days long gone, days of yore. When people knew spots like this other than just once, other than just passing thru.

Snow fall at Maropea Forks. Such a magnificent moment!

Back yard at Maropea Forks.

John and Jeff, meeting for the first time at the beautiful waterfall about 30 minutes from Maropea Forks. A somewhat out of focus photo, but one I have come to love. Jeff, a great mate visiting from America, and I had walked in via Sunrise to Top Maropea the prior day, spent the night in that lovely spot, and then carried on late the next morning leisurely paced both due to my hip, but even more to the fact it was just such an incredible place to have such a fine reunion with one of my oldest friends. After all what's the hurry? John started early that morning from his car and caught up to us just a few moments before the photo above unfolded. We then spent the next three days in this amazing area, walking the rivers and ridges to the tops, Jeff doing a bit of trout hunting (successfully), and a lot of just lazing about doing not much at all. This area is my goal for returning to the mountains in July for my 50th birthday.

Maropea Forks in August. Another winter birthday celebration with a fine friend and brother, Gustav.

27 August 2007 Maropea Forks hut:

I shall always remember the exhilaration of standing outside the hut by the river under a full moon. After an afternoon when on a walk up river a huge snowstorm blew in, wild and furious, and I rushed back to the hut where Gustav had the fire stoked up and we stood out on the porch watching the trees sway and dance, the wind rushing and howling, building to loud crescendos, the snow swirling all around. Then it settled into a gentle snowfall, something like out of the movie "It's a Wonderful Life", where Jimmy Stewart runs about the town joyfully after discovering his own worth. I'm with ya Jimmy! And now the fresh snow covers all, the only man made footsteps to be seen for miles are ours! The entire scene is translucent, the snow has been lit into life by the light of this full moon. The water fall of the stream across the river unfurls in a cascade of glowing shimmering satin, the tall trees on the surrounding high ridges reveal their true character as the snow brings their souls to life in ways we have never before seen. The faces tell us their stories, each individual tree speaks to us. Some tell of laughter, many shed tears, and even seem to howl in despair of what will become of this scene. We are here for this brief second, but for just these few moments we have connected with the Timeless.

Moments like ones above are what I miss most right now, and thoughts of being amongst these mountains overwhelm me as I write these words. To know what roaming amongst them means to me, and to be unable to do so, cripples more within me than the physical pain of this hip will ever do. So roaming amongst them once again is my goal. To accomplish that I am having my hip replaced in a matter of days, then under taking my recovery, my rebuilding, and God Willing, my reunion with the Ruahine.
I am not sure when I will return here, how I will feel, the thoughts I will have. So I thank each and every one of you whom has made this under taking so special. I could write many words to so many people, but I will just write Kia ora for your time in coming here, for your time in your own special places, in your words and thoughts of encouragement, and support. For the aroha that I feel in my heart. Enjoy the Wild Places! Till I return with a tale of the mountains! Roam the wilderness and may the mountain breeze blow gently upon you. Don't Look Down. Kia kaha!



Anne-Marie said...

Kia ora Robb, I wish you all the best for your operation. Hope to read of your next trip in to the Ruahine before too long ...

feddabonn said...

kia kaha robb, and i'll be looking forward to more tales!


Lynda Lehmann said...

Robb, you have blown me away with your description of the trees coming alive in the snowstorm. What a beautiful and passionate passage.

Our hearts will be with you as you face surgery and I'm certain you will be up there again, feeling joy and gratitude beyond what you can even now imagine, at your renewed vigor!

We've known several people who have had hips or knees replaced, and they did fine. You will do better than that!

I wish you a successful surgery and speedy convalescence. I await your next birthday on the mountaintop. Blessings on you.

Jamie said...

All the best with the operation Robb.

Take care aye


Joe McCarthy said...

Robb: best wishes for a successful surgery and recovery!

I see the hat you're wearing in the first photo of the post is the same as in the first photo on the right sidebar. If you still have that hat, you may want to wear it during the surgery, as extra fortification, and a closely held (or worn) reminder of where you've been and where you want to return.

Allan Stellar said...

Good luck!

lph said...


Good luck with your surgery. I predict that in less than a year you will find that this surgery was your savior. Let the mountains be your guide. You will return. Strong, pain-free, and revived!

My thoughts are with you!


troutbirder said...

It will be for the best. My knee replacement surgery eventually allowed me to resume the outdoor life I so desperately missed.
I really enjoyed you description of a "special place". Mine have always been the trout streams of Bluff Country (southeastern Minn.) and the canoe country of the Boundary Waters.

Robin Easton said...

Dearest Wild Brother, You are in my thoughts much this last month. You always are, but I have really been thinking of you going in for surgery. Months ago you told me it would be April 8 and felt like I was watching the time pass just as if I were you. I keep you much in my prayers (in my own way of prayer) and in my thoughts, and ALWAYS in my heart dear soul.

It has been one of the most intense last two months I've ever had work wise. So I have been slow in getting here to visit you. I wanted you to know how potent your mining piece was. I read it twice and wept. I saw this same thing in pristine Alaska when I lived there. It shocked me, and the streams we destroyed. I love you for the passionate work you do bringing awareness, and being blunt and unrelenting in your voice as you speak out for the wild. You don't couch your feelings or thoughts and I just SO admire that. You HAVE to sometime read JACK TURNER'S "ABSTRACT WILD". It is you inside and out. Especially the chapter called "THE RANT" It is a thin inexpensive book that you can get used on I relate to it so strongly as it is me as well.

I loved this post Robb, but then I LOVE everything you express. Do you know I swear over the last 3 months you writing has become more raw, passionate, beautiful and gutsy. I'm not sure why that is but I JUST LOVE IT. There are passages in this post that are soooooo singularly beautiful I can't do anything but have tears come to my eyes. You are a brilliant soul Robb, and you ARE my "Wild Brother". I have the deepest respect for you.

You and your family will remain in my thoughts everyday through the coming weeks and I just know you will go on to do what you love and will heal and go on to express more of the wild wisdom that you ARE.

I, and so many others, are with you Robb. I am sending you a HUGE hug dear kind beautiful friend. You have made and make a dramatic difference in my life. Just in being you. You change the lives of many. I look forward to next time I read your words here and feel your beautiful soul. Aroha always, your Wild Sister.

Marja said...

Hi dear Robb
First of all all the best with your surgery and I am sure that after a recovery you will be ready for your mountains again and write with great passion about it.

Nice to see you smiling with a heavy backpack on the top of the mountains. I just had my first 3 day tramp and loved part of it, but can't write with such delight about cold and rain.
Catched probably a bug as well as I am a bit unwell today. But I will do it again. Next plan is the queen charlotte track near picton, which must be beautiful.
We do live in paradise that's for sure Arohanui Marja