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.
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!