I am looking forward to today’s trek. We are going up into the Snowy Mountains and around the road called The Alpine Way. There should be no problems for although there is a misty rain falling, there is and has been no snow this winter. I expect to see patches up high, but there has been not enough to block any roads.
We set out to leave Tumut when I suddenly feel sorry for a lovely dog that lives in the B&B where we have been staying. It has been trying to get me to throw a ball for him for days, well, once won’t hurt. Wrong decision. The dog is so pleased it goes mad and races round and round and round the car. How do we leave?
“It will get out of the way when I start the engine and move” says Scruffy Man. But it doesn’t. It gets even more excited, why isn’t it dizzy? In desperation I find his ball again and throw it as hard as I can, motion Scruffy Man to get out fast and chase the car down the drive before the doggy friend can retrieve his ball and start the circling again. We are off!
The mountains are heavily wooded with clouds clinging to the valleys. Naturally we stop at every lookout, it is beautiful.
We finally get to above the snow line, if there was any snow, and the trees which had become stunted, disappear. this is country of purple and gold heath with little creeks and lakes. Poles mark the edge of the road in case of snow (ha ha)
This is really part of the Monaro Plains and normally witheringly cold. I have left The Man from Snowy River because after all, that great wild chase did not occur in the Snowies despite the name. I have moved on to
Out on a plain, just over a rise,
Stood Nimitybell, on Monaro;
Cold as charity, cold as hell.
Bleak, bare, barren Nimmitybell -
Nimitybell on Monaro.
Part of a great bush poem reminiscent of Baron Munchausen.
It froze the blankets, it froze the fleas,
It froze the sap in the blinkin’ trees,
It made a grindstone out of cheese,
Right ‘here in Monaro
I ketched a curlew down by the creek;
His feet were froze to his blessed beak-,
‘E stayed like that for over a week -
That’s cold on Monaro.
Why, even the air got froze that tight
You’d ‘ear the awfullest sounds at night,
When things was put to a fire or light,
Out’ere on Monaro.
and so it goes, ” It’s blitherin’cold on Monaro.” but not today and anyway, it maligns Nimmitabel which is a lovely town.
We continue across the bare plain until we reach Kiandra which I love because it does not have the great hype of the ski fields. It is old with remains of the early gold mining machinery gradually getting eaten up by lichens. You would have to be keen to mine in this area, but I am not a lover of cold.
We have not seen a skerick of snow and make our way up to Cabramurra, the highest town in Australia. I taught a girl from that town, she was at a boarding school in Sydney because they spent so much of the time snowed in, she had no other way of getting a reasonable education. Not today, there is no snow surprising but it should mean we have no problems getting through. Wrong. The Snowies authority must feel it is bad publicity not to have roads blocked by the opening of the snow season.The road to Khancoben has a locked gate on it with a sign warning the road ahead is closed by snow and ice. Wishful thinking and also the end of my wish to do The Alpine Way. I will have to wait until the Snowy Authority decides it is summer.