20 January 2012

Ridgeline above mid Pohangina hut

On Monday, Jesse and I walked to mid Pohangina hut, hoping we'd see whio. We did — we watched a pair on the evening river, saw them first as they worked their way upstream, feeding, sometimes climbing out of the water onto a rock to preen a little before resuming their foraging. Later in the evening the female flew from downriver to alight on the pool in front of the hut. She swam around, calling, and climbed out onto a rock right in front of us as if posing. We saw the pair for the last time later still, a little way downstream. Cloud had lowered, hiding the tops in grey, ominous mist, but by morning the weather had cleared a little and shortly after I rose, warm sunlight hit the ridge on the far side of the valley.

Fewer people visit mid Pohangina hut than many of the other Ruahine huts (probably because much of the  track comprises a dispiriting series of descents and climbs into and out of deep gullies and has enough ongaonga to pretty much guarantee getting stung). The rewards can be well worth the effort, though.

[19 January 2012, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 100 mm, ISO 200, 1/160 at f8]

 All content © 2012 Pete McGregor


The Elephant's Child said...

That is an amazingly lush scene. And thank you for the link to the whio - such a beautiful bird.

robin andrea said...

Ah ongaonga, I had to google it. I understand why people would avoid an arduous trail with stinging nettle thrown in as an added bonus! But that light on the hillside and the whio, are so worth the effort.

Ruahines said...

Kia Ora Pete,
Love the Ruahine light. Last time I was there was coming down from Ngamoko when I could not get out via the tops.

Anonymous said...

Lovely light.... once more captured by your keen eye. Happy to hear you encountered a pair of whios. The word "ongaonga" made me laugh. Well worth the effort indeed!

pohanginapete said...

Elephant's Child, whio are even more beautiful when seen in wild places like the Pohangina headwaters.

Robin, we were both stung, but the pain feels more unpleasant than, well, painful. I've been stung by ongaonga many times, and the effects have never lasted more than a few days.

Robb, mid-Pohangina's one of the few places where one can get out safely if the weather turns nasty. That's a major reason why I'm not happy to hear DOC's considering removing the swingbridge.

Maureen — whio, ongaonga, ... both essential elements of the place.