Kahurangi: Kieran Mckay

After our blog post Kahurangi we received this amazing response from Kieran Mackay on why Kahurangi was special to him.

Why is Kahurangi National park so special? For me its adventure and the contrasts….I look up at the marble mountains and limestone hills of the park with excitement and awe and wonder, what else are you hiding? Will I be lucky enough this year to discover some more of your incredible secrets?

It is more than this. though…

It is the senselessness of it it all.
Climbing pitch after pitch while lugging a heavy pack of gear, feeling the exhaustion creep into my limbs and body like a insidious disease as I negotiate small cracks and bully this uncaring pack of kit through the cave, pushing, pulling and kicking it and cursing its inert form. Getting pounded by freezing cold water that thunders onto my head and soaks my overalls and poly pro clothing coating me in an ice cold blanket. Shivering with cold that runs so deep I wondering if I would ever feel the glow of warmth again.

It is through opportunities for exploration and discovery. 
Strolling through huge hallways, canyons and rivers deep inside the mountains, finding a world no one knew existed and being the first to shine a light into a landscape that formed before mankind arrived on this plane. Walking passed exquisite jewel like formations, wading through crystal clear pools and abseiling big shafts. There is so much left for us to explore.

Its the special moments of camaraderie. In a world where everyone wants to know where everyone is, we can be exploring deep underground inside Kaurangi in places where no one on this planet knows where we are. If anything goes wrong you are totally dependent on your mates for survival. There is no EPIRB to set off, no cell phone reception, there is just the uncaring cold and darkness and the warmth and spirit of those in the team to keep you going.

Its the contrasts of landscapes
Fighting your way out of a deep cave up pitch after pitch, tired and exhausted covered head to toe in grit and grime you flop down on the marble at the cave entrance after 8 days in the dark. For 8 days your horizon has been the distance your light could shine, the colours underground were sombre blacks and browns Out of the cave the sky is blue the sun is warm. At your feet lie basins full of golden tussock and view of the mountains and valleys of the park stretch off to the horizon. The only sound is the wind rustling the grasses and the distant cry of a kea, there is nothing else. For a moment you feel like you are the only person in the whole world. Nothing else seems to matter…

Kieran Mckay


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