Friday, June 11, 2010

Hokinga mai - Homecoming

4 June 2010
Sunrise hut - late afternoon
Robb Kloss
Charlie Kloss

I have pulled out my little notebook a few different times in the past few hours here at Sunrise hut to try and gather the thoughts running around inside my head, but each time till now I have failed to put pen to paper. I could only stare out at this place, and even if only here at Sunrise today that is a huge step, and a wonderful place to be as I reunite with the Ruahine. I came here back in October of 2009 with Taylor, and on a stormy day where crossing the saddle was not an option we stayed here and had the place to ourselves. Today as I sit here on the porch I watch a well used swan dry garment once worn by Taylor as a little boy, now filled by another little boy, Charlie, buzzing about the tussock and tarn looking for ice and snow and taking in this huge new environment. His first over night trip into these mountains, age 7, the age I first took Taylor beyond here to Top Maropea, the first of many trips for his young legs. I sit and stare at Charlie, yet I think of Taylor and that time gone in the blink of an eye. And, of course, this is also a homecoming and a first for me. My first connection here since November of last year, and my first outing with this new tin hip. Wow!

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, stunned to have walked up here with a reasonably heavy pack, and discover the joys of walking which I have not experienced for almost 5 years now as I look back. To actually enjoy walking and climbing rather than it being simply an arduous and painful price to pay for being here. As I walked today I kept waiting for those signs to flare up, which they did not. I felt light and giddy, walked slow, steady, and easily instead of a painful lumbering gait. I walked with a smile upon my face rather the mask of grimace I have been used to. I felt like I was having some sort of a religious experience. Maybe it was I just felt normal.

( Had a bit of a problem with the camera so these photos were all experienced with the camera on my cell phone. Charlie is a better photographer than I am.)

4 June : I felt pretty nervous about this walk, even if just the 3 hours or so up to here. There was a lot at stake, a lot to find out, and I found myself checking and rechecking the gear I had packed for us last evening as a way to let some of the steam off. And we have had a beautiful, flawless day in which to venture up here. A big fat high is sitting upon us, meant to last until Sunday. And as I took a day off work, and Charlie a day off school we have this whole playground to roam on our own. Not a breath of wind on the the saddle. Charlie runs about with little appreciation how rare these days are in this particular place in the Ruahine. Of the over 30 plus times I have crossed here, less than 10 would be on a day like this. I feel like the mountains are smiling with me. Welcome Home!

4 June Sunset : The mountains seem ethereal as they are lit up against the setting sun. Across the headwaters of Waipawa valley Te Atuaoparapara dominates the scene and up high upon her slip ridden steep flanks lie the vestiges of recent snow melted by the persistent rains. Waipawa saddle dips in a graceful arch between her and the curvaceous loveliness of the Three Johns to the east. The dying sun light clings to the Three Johns and expends its last energy in the familiar evening hues I know so well. Burning orange on the very tops, with the purple and blue streaks running down the flanks into the dark depths of the bush. I have gazed upon this so often, never tiring of these encounters, and today in this moment it feels like I am seeing it for the very first time.

Sunrise hut evening: Charlie is fast asleep. Bereft of computers, x-boxes, and television he is instead full of fresh mountain air and the tiredness which comes from a full hard day. At around 6:00 pm he was wondering what we do now, and 20 minutes later I had to rouse him from the warm depths of my sleeping bag to get a feed of venison and rice into him, only to watch him fall soundly back asleep minutes later. He is safe, fed, and warm, and the whole day the only people we have seen are ourselves. That has to mean something.

Sunrise at Sunrise.

As I sat with a cup of coffee before sunrise I saw Charlie stir and then wake up, (he had over 11 hours of sound sleep). So for the first time in my life I watched the sunrise in the mountains with my youngest son. How wealthy was I in that moment, sitting on the porch of this place, the only ones in the world watching the sunrise from here, Charlie snuggled into me and my arm around him.

My thoughts cannot help but wish we were heading in deeper into the Ruahine for many days, but this first journey for us both was more prudent and the results satisfying. Charlie and I will experience that, differently perhaps than I did with Taylor. I want to one day come with both my boys together. But to be here now, not just with Charlie, but with this new hip, to have set my mind to getting back here, to have accomplished that, to know they will still be the part of my life I need so much. I can only bow my head in Thanks. Kia kaha!