I am not sure which hurts more right now. This ever troubling and degenerating hip, now reducing me to the gait of a very old man, the prospects in my current condition of sitting there above with John in such a place as remote as being on the moon, the pain like loose ends of electric wires running through my groin and down my knee which any wrong movement ignites. So I try to put myself back in places like above, where my soul burst free and waves of amazement and euphoria washed through me and cleansed me of the grime and guilt accrued out here, where I walked free and easy and roamed with a smile instead of an ever increasing grimace. Though even in good times in the Ruahine I often grimaced!
Or I wonder perhaps instead if I feel even more this pain deep inside me as a result of the unrelenting attack upon our wild places by our own government, and how in the eyes of so many it seems to make it right. These past few weeks when I have been really focused on trying to, from a grass roots approach, engage people I met through out my day, family, friends, in how they felt about the actions of our government attacking our wilderness. And to find most are either in favour of getting any economic benefit to be had from places they have never seen, or will see, or simply are not that concerned by something so far away from their lives. There are bigger fish to fry, our jobs, our mortgages, the economy, that we have all been sold the rubbish old Ed predicted. The pain of that cripples me as much as this hip.
The view from directly across the other side of the photo above, looking back at the Hikurangis and Mangaweka.
I have never claimed to be clever. I am not a highly achieved academic, I do not have a huge grasp of economic facts and figures, and I have little response to offer witty and self serving ripostes on media reporting and the ever growing world of the internet and political spectrum aligned blogs, particularly on the right. That is all beyond me, I have little knowledge of anyone even being here aside from comments left. Mostly what I do here is for me. To look upon these ranges I adore when I cannot physically be there, is pretty cool for me. And sad at the same time. My son Charlie the other night had me type Maropea Forks onto You Tube. What came up was a group of helicoptered in hunters in the roar of 2009. Most of the pictures were from inside the hut with the inhabitants in various stages of inebriation, the defining photo one of the hunters gathered on the porch when first dropped off with a person high stack of their trays of beer the focal point. It is not just from the government these places need protection. Helicopters!
Above Rangi saddle on the way to Waterfall hut. We took a wrong route and did a seriously steep climb high above the saddle, only to discover it actually was far below us. The view across the valley made it a worthwhile mistake.
Aw shit, if you don't get it you don't get it. If these places and just the knowledge of them being there does not move you, then nothing here will. I can't come up with any clever arguments to change minds and sway people over from the Cement Jungle. It seems too entrenched, too set, and the disconnection from anything wild too complete. If we have already compromised 87% of our land and now need to attack the remaining 13% to get at it's "real" value it would seem to suggest that something is inherently wrong with the system. Yet the machine grinds on.
I believe in Nature in Wild Places, in the the Earth. If that does not suit so be it. Sides are being chosen and this is mine.
Dedicated to my Wild Sister Robin, "Naked in Eden".
Even in the midst of summer, a dive into the chilly embrace of the mountain river is a jolting experience. To have done it and then stand there tingling and refreshed as the mountain breeze evaporates the dripping pure water, is a reminder we are alive. Those of us whom have done it in winter are simply Polar Bears - hopefully with a hut nearby and the fire blazing!
Not many options here!
Shingle sliding is always an interesting way down. Very quick, but one wants to make sure the bottom terminates cleanly and not in large bluffs which would not be pleasant at speed.
"All very well, the reader thinks, for a few thousand farmers and ranchers who want to save their homes and livelihoods, to preserve a charming but no doubt outmoded way of life. And wouldn't it be nice if we could keep the air pure, the wide open spaces, the canyons, rivers, and mountains free from pollution from a rash of new power plants. But America needs the energy. Our political and industrial leaders assure us that the very survival of America as a great world power may be at stake. We cannot let our future be dictated by a cartel of Arab potentates. We have more coal than the Arabs have oil. Let's dig it! The assumption is that we must continue down the road of never ending economic expansion, toward an ever grosser gross national product, driven by the mania for Growth with a capital G that entails, among other things, a doubling of the nations energy production every ten years. "Expand or expire" is the essence of this attitude, exemplified in the words of President Ford in a statement to an Expo' 74 audience:
"Man is not built to vegetate or stagnate - we like to progress - zero growth environmental policies fly in the face of human nature." But a child can percieve that on our finite planet there must be, sooner or later, a limit to quantitative growth. Any high school math student can prove that if our production of electricity continued to grow at an expotential rate of 100 percent every 10 years the result would be, in less than a century, a United States of America in which every square foot of land surface was preempted by mines and power plants, leaving no room at all for homes, cities, farms, living space, or even grave yards. Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." - Edward Abbey , essay on The Second Rape of the West, cited from The Journey Home.
Shit Ed, we haven't come too far from 1974. In our modern age of sound byte living 1974 is like the stone age and few might give your words the modern credence they deserve, and yet are so fortelling. 35 years is not even a passing of gas in terms of Nature's time. Yet so many of us seem to grasp onto our brief time here as the be all and end all. Sometimes I think I am the more religious of all my God Fearing friends. Everytime I have been in the mountains, or even dream about them now, I am in Church.
The near end of a perfect day shared above. RTC Summer Tour day 3 from a camp on the Waikamaka river to Waterfall hut. A day of sun, cloud, rain, of rivers, streams, and high climbs with huge views of these mountains. Of friendship, route finding and a an empty hut in the mountains which we made our home for the next few days, as many other kindred spirits have. Days like this are why we need these places. Kia kaha!