I took one weeks leave from work in early December and forgot about all the hullaballoo leading up to Christmas to walk in the Snowy Mountains. I missed out on this walk last year, so I wasn’t going to miss out again. There had been some really cold weather the month before and I held out hope that we would get some snow but the weather forecast looked pretty good, except for some rain. That prompted me to buy myself a Christmas present at least, I do need a new rain jacket, so some expensive Goretex it was.
I drove to Cooma on Monday through drizzle most of the way and it was really cold when I got there, not summery at all. We all met Tuesday morning and did car shuffling to leave some cars at the Round Mountain end of the walk. We waited at Kiandra and tried to keep out of the rain and wind.
Our first night was at Four Mile Hut which was not far away, 4 miles actually or 7km. We were following the Australian Alps Walking Track on old fire trails, so the walking was easy, though hard uphill at first. It was an old miners hut, very rustic and tiny, only about 4 or five people could go in at any one time. I cooked outside because it wasn’t raining at this time, just a bit windy. The hut was nestled on the edge of a small valley filled with wildflowers, mullock heaps and a creek flowing with clear, freezing water. The general consensus was early to bed, so by 7.30, I was in bed, the snow grass was so soft and comfy to sleep on.
The next day was still overcast and threatening rain but it held off and I was thrilled to see a gang of Gang Gang cockatoos in the trees. We walked up higher into the clouds/mist and lunch was cut short as it turned freezing and more mist came in. It wasn’t far then to Happy’s hut where we were to camp tonight.
All the rain had made the ground really wet and the creeks rushing. The water flows in, around and under the tufts of snow grass and if you find a hole, you’re up to your knee in water. My shoes were really wet now, so I tried to dry them as best as I could at night and used the spare plastic bags I had brought the next day. That was better, though I had woken up with a terrible headache.
Sunshine in the morning and we were warned about the creek crossings, some would be fairly deep. So it was back across the soggy Happy Valley with views to Mt Jagungal now. I had forgotten my walking poles and thought a stick would be useful to cross the creeks. It was working fine until crossing one particularly deep creek I leant on my stick too hard and crack. I ended up on my backside and an impromptu wash as well as my socks. At least this creek was not as freezing as the others.
We continued on the Mackey’s or Mackay’s Hut (take your pick), set beside another beautiful flowing creek, no worries about how many cups of tea you have, or if you want another wash.
We left early the next morning because, depending on the weather, we might climb up Mt Jagungal that afternoon plus there were some more wet creek crossings ahead. We crossed Doubtful and Bogong Creeks, taking off socks and shorts. As it turned out, we had a long and leisurely afternoon at O’Keefes Hut as the days seemed to be nice in the morning and a bit more cloudy or stormy in the afternoon. It cleared up nicely that night, so we woke up to a heavy frost and frozen water.
After the frost it was a clear sunny morning, just perfect for bush bashing up to Mt Jagungal. Climbing up over the rocks reminded me of the Larapinta but today I didn’t have my pack on. The view from the top was great, not very far away was Mt Kosciuszko and the Main Range peaks that everyone else had been to but are still on my to-do list.
We spent plenty of time up there chilling out, out of the wind and in the sun. The rest of the days walk was pretty much downhill to Dershko’s Hut, where I had walked to in March and we had another long relaxing afternoon.
Sadly, that was the last night but the stars were spectacular. There were already plans being made for next year’s walk and I will make sure I am on that as well. We only had a fairly short walk back to the cars, past Round Mountain and a coffee stop at Cabramurra before everyone went their separate ways and got caught up in all the Christmas goings on again.