Thursday, January 20, 2011
Posted by Ruahines at 11:00 AM
Sunday, January 9, 2011
3 Jan. 2011 Parks Peak - late evening
As I write this lying in my tent which is placed upon the lovely mountain meadow on which Parks Peak hut is located I feel content, relaxed, and relieved to be lying here. Pete has his bivvy bag located not far from me, and John is in the hut. I did not feel so content, relaxed, or relieved a few mere hours ago when climbing the ridge. It was a very hot summer day, very little wind, and very heavy packs. I would have thought my mountain foray last week would have held me in good stead, and expected it to do so. Alas, it did not. I struggled and plodded up the steep ridge, pausing for breath and rest, and it was not till just short of 8 hours from leaving the car that I staggered into this meadow.
It occurred to me that in this story I tell here of my love and travel in the mountains, I write most often from the hero's perspective. Travel is light and easy, the mountains speak and the rivers sing as I bound about. It is easy to forget the moments of doubt, or fear, or simply not wanting to climb or descend anymore, of running out of water on a hot day and feeling cramps coming on, or walking for years with a hip not fit for such activity. So today was a very honest day, a reminder that the mountains always hold the upper hand, a reminder of my real place here.
Yet upon arriving and getting into some fresh gear, being handed a cup of sweet tea, and then roaming out a few minutes to overlook the Makaroro valley and watch the colours of a Ruahine sunset with John and Pete. Those hard hours on the ridge seem like a long time ago.
John and Pete on Parks Peak ridge. A long series of climbs behind, a few more ahead. One of those days when I had to remind myself of the reasons I love these places, or perhaps it was the mountains reminding me.
* my ankle was very swollen, stiff, and sore. We wrapped it up and I hobbled off well ahead of John and Pete. The river eventually becomes a very wide and braided bed, much easier, if not a bit tedious, to walk down, and in about 4 hours I was at the car. Not too far a drive from there to the Onga Onga pub for a couple very cold beers. Kia ora John, Kia ora Pete, Kia ora Ruahine!
Posted by Ruahines at 6:18 PM
Saturday, January 1, 2011
29 December 2010 Top Maropea
After an almost two week wait for the weather to come right, my son Taylor decided he had better things to do with his girlfriend and mates. At 17 can't say I blame him. So I took off myself when the forecast looked promising. And at least today it was as I sit here now at Top Maropea. I must write that I do miss the company of my matamua tama (eldest child). Taylor was with me a little over a year ago when this was as far as I could get on a trip planning to go far deeper but stopped as my hip hurt too much. So it would have been cool to share the smile on my face today with him.
And I was starting to feel a bit nervous and anxious about why I just did not go anyway with Taylor, and bugger the forecast. I have done it before. I realized today on my own that is my choice but to put my tamariki (children) in harms way would simply be irresponsible. The mountains always clear my foggy head and bring clarity.
It is always a pleasure to cross Armstrong saddle on a relatively wind free day, particularly now when the high alpine tussock and plants are in flower, and the mountain world is lit up with the shimmering brilliance of the small and short lived mountain flowers as the more muted golden browns and greens burst into life. Wind free days are rare here. It is the weather itself which keeps this place wild and relatively unintruded upon. So days like today are to be enjoyed, and I met a man at Sunrise who had never been to the Ruahine so I walked with him out to the saddle and showed him the lie of land, and then carried on here.
This is my 28th night spent here. I have arrived here with some wonderful people. Tony, Nigel, John Nash, Taylor, Rick, Steve, Gustav, Adam, Tara, Jeff, John Streat, Scott, and Ethan.Some only once, some many times. All I toast now.
I love it here. Truly my most special place in the Ruahine - of many such special and unique places for me, each holding it's own charms, beauty, and nuance in my soul.
Yet this was my first. The first time looking out at the Maropea valley and the ranges beyond over 13 years ago, I was moved by the wildness and beauty. I now know those places well, have traveled to and from here in every direction. I am still moved by this view as if it were my first visit and I am laying my eyes upon all this for the first time.
I am now completely shrouded in by cloud and mist. The newly painted bright orange hut less than 10 metres away from me is enveloped in mist and glowing. I am truly Cloud Hidden. I am Home.
Posted by Ruahines at 2:30 PM