backcountry

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

philby west ridge Oct 2009_opt

buller west ridge_opt

climbing west ridge_opt

the atmospheric and impressive west ridge of mt Buller

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

icy rock_opt

nice bit of avalance action, Etheridge Ridge

nice bit of avalanche action, Etheridge Ridge

crossing the upper Snowy River valley

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

Seaman's hut, near Etheridge Ridge

Lou, first day

Lou, first day

Etheridge Ridge in the background

Etheridge Ridge in the background

camp_opt

near Lake Albina

near Lake Albina

Lou climbing Mt Mueller

Lou climbing Muellers Peak

Watsons Crags

Watsons Crags

the cornice on Kosciusko, there was fantastic skiing on the east side of the mountain that day

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

afternoon shadows - Mt Townsend, Muellers Peak, Mt Northcote

afternoon shadows

afternoon shadows

we were blessed with a full moon and nightly shows of cloud and light on the valleys below

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!

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

Fiona, on the Razorback, July

Mia, not quite 5, fanging it out near Dinner Plain, July

Mia, not quite 5, fanging it out near Dinner Plain, July

Mia

Mia

out near JB Plain

out near JB Plain

Razorback ridge

Razorback ridge

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

on the trail up The Bluff

the bluff climb_opt

at the top of the north side of the mountain

at the top of the north side of the mountain

looking east

looking east

clouds over Eagles Peaks & Rocky Ridge

clouds over Eagles Peaks & Rocky Ridge

liz summit_opt

tent_opt

yoga_opt

descent_opt

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 ....

Tali, out near Mt Tabletop. That kid can go for miles ....

James, Tali, Mia, the igloo crew at work, JP Plain

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, going the long way round via the Fainters. After the obligatory late nihgt at the Man hotel, i headed out in perfect conditions, a gentle breeze, fresh snow, a clear sky and just the faintest of hangovers ...

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 ...

Spion Kopje

Spion Kopje

in Pretty Valley (and it is)

in Pretty Valley (and it is)

the Fainters coming into view

the Fainters coming into view

the superb east face of Feathertop

the superb east face of Feathertop

just me and the foxes, the Yit-ma-Thangs in the background

just me and the foxes, the Yit-ma-Thangs in the background

camp in Tawonga Creek valley, up to day 4, enjoying the quiet

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.

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.

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.

Rams Head Range, July 2008. Spindrift, cold, the vestibule full of snow.

camp on the Rams Head Range, Snowy Mountains

camp on the Rams Head Range, Snowy Mountains

FEATHERTOP, Dec 2008

escaping the heat, the last few days of 2007, the Razorback

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

Bogong High Plains, near Spion Kopje

Philby, Watchbed Creek

Philby, Watchbed Creek

feet_opt

Edmonson Hut, just near Mt Nelse. One of the pockets of snow gums on the high plains that survived the fires

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.

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

near Spion Kopje

digging in

digging in

Room with a view. Mt Bogong from our camp

Room with a view. Mt Bogong from our camp

the joys of an icy start

the joys of an icy start

skis_opt

fire mosaic from Spion Kopje.

fire mosaic from Spion Kopje.

small but very cute children in  tree, near Cope hut

small but very cute children in tree, near Cope hut

Mia 'wheres the snow?' Walker, Buffalo plateau, 2006

Mia 'wheres the snow?' Walker, Buffalo plateau, 2006

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