28 September 2013

The central Ruahine Range from Top Maropea hut

The weather wasn't great at Top Maropea hut when I arrived there a bit over a week ago, but late in the afternoon the cloud broke up enough to let the sun through. I sat in the clearing, drank Ali Shan High Mountain GABA Oolong tea, and enjoyed the sight, the solitude, and the sound of the wind roaring in the beeches and hissing in the snow tussocks. Surprisingly, only an occasional gust buffeted me.
[20 September 2013, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 14–45 mm at 23 mm, ISO 200, 1/320 at f16]

All content © 2013 Pete McGregor

22 September 2013

Top Maropea hut, Ruahine Range

Late last week I managed to get away for a few days in the Ruahine Range. Work commitments meant I wasn't able to go in with a couple of friends, but I followed them later and met them at Top Maropea hut, a delightful place that overlooks the heart of the central Ruahine Range. Although the weather wasn't great (as you can see), it stayed dry when it mattered most, and the ferocious winds typical of this part of the Ruahine even abated a little at just the right time — namely, when we were crossing the tops.

Those couple of nights in wild country did my soul good.

[20 September 2013, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 14–45 mm at 14 mm, ISO 200, 1/25 at f16]

All content © 2013 Pete McGregor

14 September 2013

Karearea (NZ falcon) on the No. 1 Line track

The demands of work and the wild spring weather meant I hadn't been for a walk up No. 1 Line for almost a month. It felt like an age and probably was.

Today I finally made it up there. I sat at the top in the blustery wind, writing a little while the water heated, then sipping Lapsang Souchong. I watched patches of sunlight drift across the far mountainside and listened to the wind and a little riroriro somewhere a long way off, and I remembered the pipiwharauroa I'd heard yesterday — the first this spring — and wondered how many riroriro would end up raising pipiwharauroa chicks instead of their own this summer. 

A little light hail tapped at the hood of my parka on the way down, but it amounted to nothing. Near the bottom of the track I heard a bird call — a tui, I thought. But it didn't sound quite right, even allowing for the huge range of calls tui can make. I heard it again and became even more convinced it wasn't a tui. I thought I knew what it might be, so I retrieved the camera and headed off the track. 

I was right. This was one of two karearea — New Zealand falcons — sitting high in a massive dead tree. The whole time I photographed them and watched them through the binoculars, they said nothing. Just those two calls as I came down the track, as if they were calling out to me rather than at me. 

I'd like to believe they were saying, 'Welcome home, Pete'.

[14 September 2013, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 300 mm, ISO 200, 1/320 at f5.6]

All content © 2013 Pete McGregor