Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On Top Down Under - 7310 feet

The omens were not good for our 3-day visit to the Snowy Mountains of Australia. We hadn’t gone far before we saw a dead wombat by the roadside - clearly a recent roadkill. Gay was very stoic about this. Then, while we were stopped at a t-junction, we were rammed – or thrutched, as they say in Stoke-on-Trent, in the boot by a car driven by a young man who was dreadfully upset by the experience. Not to be outdone, Dana was very stoic about that. After all it could have been worse, and after all it could have been her own car she was driving, instead of husband John’s. I should say that was not Dana's attitude at all, just a little joke by me.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt and the young man clearly took responsibility. And, even if his insurance cover did prove to be illusory, he rang John to say that he would pay for the damage.

After a 5-hour drive, we arrived at Jindabyne and booked into the Alpha Centauri apartments. The next morning we drove on to Thredbo (altitude 1365 metres), and took the ski-lift up to a height of 1900-odd metres. At this point I took off for the first decent walk I have had since we left home in France on 4th January. I walked to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko (2228 metres or 7310 feet), the highest point in Australia, then back past the ski-lift and down into the heart of Thredbo, where a Blues Festival was going on. Total for the walk was over 20 kms, with other bits and pieces for the day, over 25 kms.

Back in Jindabyne, the next morning when we arose, it was snowing! Although we were in the Snowy Mountains, we were at an altitude of only 914 metres and this is the middle of January - the summer - the equivalent of the middle of July at home. Fortunately it soon turned to rain but stayed cold for the remainder of our stay, and plenty of snow stayed on the ground at only slightly higher altitudes.

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