Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Year road trip day 5: Mt Kosciuszko

Today was the day we were to summit the highest mountain in Australia. That sounds impressive, but there's no actual climbing involved - you can walk the whole way to the peak on a purpose-built metal pathway - and at 2,228 metres (7,300 feet) above sea level, it's a baby mountain by world standards. 

Nevertheless, we did it! There was rain and possible storms forecast for late afternoon or evening and Luke thought we should probably change our plans and go only as far as the Mt Kosciuszko lookout (a 5km round trip compared to the 13km to get to the top and back), but I was having none of that. Pffft. Rain. Possible storms. I hadn't come all this way to not get to the top. 

Mother Nature was on my side. We made it up and back just in time to beat the storm.  

You don't need to be super fit to do the walk, but I found it challenging, especially the first few kilometres which just went up...and up...and up in a straightish line (those times I stopped for a sip of water or to blow my nose? I was mostly just trying to catch my breath). Despite numerous but brief rests, we completed the walk in under five hours while the official tourist info says it takes four to six hours.  

It turned out to be my favourite part of our trip, not just because we made it to the top, but because it's just so damn pretty - the wildflowers, the trickling streams and little waterfalls, the amazing panoramic views, the craggy peaks of other mountains, the couple of patches of still-unmelted was all so picturesque. 

And here is the (abundant) proof:

Going up on the ski lift to the start of the walk 
(My first time on a ski lift and there's no snow!)


 Little waterfall

Yeah, another stream


Could it be...a stream?

 Luke (walking path at left)

See that bump mid-shot? That's Mt Kosciuszko. 
Yeah, I expected it to be more impressive too 

 A patch of snow


Nature finds a way

 Lake Cootapatamba

 More rocks

 We made it!! (Photos of me are in Luke's camera)

 Heading back down


 A murder. There were a lot of crows up there but not 
many other birds, oddly

The storm closes in. We got to the ski lift  just as it
 was closing because of the risk of lightning strike

 And back to our car before the heavy rain started

We continued on to Corryong (and back into Victoria), along winding roads through the forested mountains with, at times, pounding rain. It stopped by the time we reached our destination and checked into a motel. The Mountain View Motel, in fact, and they aren't lying. 

Over the back fence of our motel

It was pretty humid and my body was weary and (mildly) sunburnt, so I went for a swim in the motel pool (after dipping my toe in to make sure it wasn't freezing cold). I was only in for about 10 minutes, but miraculously I woke up the next morning without screamingly sore and weary muscles after walking up a mountain the day before. This must be why footballers go swimming in the sea the morning after a game. 

Even the pool has mountain views

We had dinner at one of the local pubs. I opted for the chicken for a change and it was very average. Lesson learnt. 

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