One last bushwalk

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.

Kosciuszcko and Main RangeKosciuszcko from the top

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.


A Spring Ramble

Every year the local old car club, of which Grandpa is president, puts on a Spring Ramble and this year we actually had a spare weekend to roll out the MG. I managed to get away from work early enough on Friday so we could get to Goulburn before dark. The others had left in the morning and had a very leisurely drive. We kept off the freeway and away from the big trucks and toured down through the Southern highlands.

The weather had finally decided to give us some rain which was badly needed but it wasn’t too heavy. Saturday morning, the sun was dazzling in the morning when I opened the door but nice and cool so we needed plenty of layers when we set out for the day with the roof down. There was a mix of old, not so old and relatively new cars, six in total. The organiser outdid herself with baking for morning tea so not long after breakfast we had lots of choices of cake.

There is a sock factory at Crookwell in case you didn’t know, making the nicest warm woollen socks. They showed us the machines and they are the most incredibly complicated looking. The next day there was a swap meet in town and some fellas were keen to be the first to check out any bargains but we headed to the next little place, Laggan to check out their markets. We didn’t expect much but there were plenty of bargains and lots of baking and crafts and nic-nacs for such a little town. So quiet and slow too, very relaxing.

By the time we got back to Crookwell, it was time to think about lunch! So we checked out the bakery which is always closed on Sundays when we pass through. Then after lunch it was off to the Railway museum down the road. A very small band of volunteers are trying to restore and preserve the remains of the station, some track and a few little railway trolley gizmos.

Then it was back in the cars along the more scenic route back to Goulburn. But first a stop for afternoon tea, what a life!

Sunday was back to cloudy and a bit gloomy but we set off south along some more back roads towards Gunning. We stopped at a little place called Merilla or Parkesbourne at the church hall and had another morning tea. A young girl living nearby gave us the short history of the little school house up the road which is now closed and that was about the sum of the place. It is so close to the freeway but a whole world away in sheep paddocks and dirt roads.

It was time for us to be scooting back home to work on Monday, not like the lucky retirees.  So we enjoyed our last  few miles on the lovely quiet back roads and startled one of the biggest Wedge-tail eagles I have ever seen, massive.

We got home in time to find that even though it had only rained a little bit, it was easy to pull some weeds out of the garden, then we put our feet up on the verandah and had a beer. Cheers.