Living in the south east, we have a great backyard – with some fantastic landscapes to get out into: from the rocky bulk of the Otways coast, the basalt plains, through to Gippsland and the Prom, the wild coast of Croajingalong (Krautungalung), around the corner into NSW, over the Main Range and into the Upper Murray. The old Red Gums of the mid Murray forests, Central Vic woodlands and, of course the Alps.
The following is just some musings, reports, and images from various adventures, please feel free to add your own via the comments option.
Bogong High Plains, Nov 2009
Tali crossing the Pretty Valley pondage
Getting out beyond the end of the roads is always good. Doing it with young kids is different terrain altogether. In Nov 2009, we joined a big clan of people, 21 in total – from a few months old to their late 40s, in a journey to the Bogong High Plains. Perfect conditions, pale light, a slow mellow evening, big long snow drifts still drapped across the mountains as we walked in on a long afternoon, shadows stretching out, fading slowly to clear sky. Mountains coming into view, like old friends, then that long gentle descent into Tawonga Valley.
The next few days saw walks over the edge of the Plains and the Fainters, swims in the stream that cascades out of Tawonga Valley, flowing strong with snow melt, lots of fun and stories by the fire, and an ever wilder gang of kids racing through poa graslands, over rocks and snowgums and endlessly playing in the small stream that flows through the horse yard.
Mt Buller, October 2009
the atmospheric and impressive west ridge of mt Buller
The winter that just kept on going after winding down into warmth and relentless grey skies. One last wander out on west ridge of Mt Buller, mid October.
Main Range, Snowy Mountains, Sept 2009
nice bit of avalanche action, Etheridge Ridge
crossing the upper Snowy River valley
First week of September, a quick trip to the Main Range with Lou Sales. We got up there during a nice break in the bad weather of much of the season, went north from Thredbo to the Townsend area, and had fresh snow and great skiing on the eastern side of the ridges. Very scarey lightening storm on the last night got the pulse racing. Looked out of my tent as a HUGE bolt of lightening smashed into the opposite ridge, about 200 metres away …
Seaman's hut, near Etheridge Ridge
Lou, first day
Etheridge Ridge in the background
near Lake Albina
Lou climbing Muellers Peak
the cornice on Kosciusko, there was fantastic skiing on the east side of the mountain that day
afternoon shadows - Mt Townsend, Muellers Peak, Mt Northcote
we were blessed with a full moon and nightly shows of cloud and light on the valleys below
before the mega storm, we were dug in on the correct side of the mountain, ready for anything, we just didn't bargain on winter time lightening!
Snowy Mountains trip with Pemba Dorje Sherpa and Prakash Sharma, August 2009
random shots from winter 2009
Fiona, on the Razorback, July
Mia, not quite 5, fanging it out near Dinner Plain, July
out near JB Plain
THE BLUFF, MAY 2009
Unseasonal snow, and perfect conditions for a camp out on the summit. Clear sky, not a breathe of wind, the lights of Buller and the dark valley of the upper Goulburn, moon light and shadows.
on the trail up The Bluff
at the top of the north side of the mountain
clouds over Eagles Peaks & Rocky Ridge
Tasmania – a trip to Mt Gould & the Labyrinth, March 2009
DINNER PLAIN, August 2008
Tali, out near Mt Tabletop. That kid can go for miles ....
James, Tali, Mia, the igloo crew at work, JP Plain
BOGONG HIGH PLAINS, in the most excellent conditions of mid 2008
to mark my 2 decades of work with the rat bag trouble makers at FoE, i got long service leave, a strange concept for a grassroots organisation. To start it, i skied from Falls Creek to Hotham over a week or so, going the long way round via the Fainters. After the obligatory late night at the Man hotel in Falls, i headed out in perfect conditions, a gentle breeze, fresh snow, a clear sky and just the faintest of hangovers ...
in Pretty Valley (and it is)
the Fainters coming into view
the superb east face of Feathertop
just me and the foxes, the Yit-ma-Thangs in the background
camp in Tawonga Creek valley, up to day 4, enjoying the quiet
the western edge of the High Plains seems wonderfully remote in mid winter. I saw one other group in the first 6 days (and they were great company and had whiskey!). The Kiewa valley, the razorback, Feathertop, Mt Loch, such grand surroundings. I had amazing weather, including sun showers of snow, cold nights and a great moon. The last 2 days, after a monumental climb up from Cobungra Gap in thigh deep snow, i had an eagle burst out of the forest below me, then circle me about 40 feet away, and skied up into wild storms on Mt Loch, had to keep digging the tent out at night, and relentless cold coldness, it was wonderful.
after crossing the High Plains near Mt Jim, you descend through wonderful old snow forest that wasn't burnt in the last fires, the Basalt Temple in front of you and that deep notch of Cobungra Gap below.
SNOWY MOUNTAINS, winter 2008
Rams Head Range, July 2008. Spindrift, cold, the vestibule full of snow.
camp on the Rams Head Range, Snowy Mountains
FEATHERTOP, Dec 2008
escaping the heat, the last few days of 2007, the Razorback
BOGONG HIGH PLAINS, in the sparse late winter conditions of 2006
Bogong High Plains, near Spion Kopje
Philby, Watchbed Creek
Edmonson Hut, just near Mt Nelse. One of the pockets of snow gums on the high plains that survived the fires
Burnt snow gums. Sometimes it feels like fire is the central motiff and symbol of the landscape, even in mid winter. Try to balance the 'yes its fire adapted country' approach with grieving for lost old growth and the fear of ever more frequent fires being part of our future.
near Spion Kopje
Room with a view. Mt Bogong from our camp
the joys of an icy start
fire mosaic from Spion Kopje.
small but very cute children in tree, near Cope hut
Mia 'wheres the snow?' Walker, Buffalo plateau, 2006