Monday, 29 March 2021

The Journey South

March 9 - 11

Departure for our  journey south to Jindabyne in the Snowy Mts, was 8.30 am. A journey of roughly 1400km, we broke it up into 2 and 1/2 days of travel.

We soon realised we had left the hustle and bustle of city life behind us, once we had climbed the Great Dividing Range at Toowoomba and began to travel the open spaces of the west. Undulating, open, rural  countryside and little traffic. Yes, there were many semi and doubles, but they weren't the villians of the city freeways.

Day 1 - roughly 6 1/2 hours travelling time for 593 kilometres.

Please note the majoirity of these photos were taken with an iphone from a car, usually travelling at speeds of 100 - 110 k/h.

Morning tea was enjoyed in a lovely park in Pittsworth. My thrill of seeing rose blossoms during this trip, began here.

Autumn fields.

Millmerran - I can't discover why the lizard welcomed us.

A series of thunderstorms had passed through this area in the preceding few days. 

 The Macintyre River at Goondiwindi.
[In the past few days it has been in full flood.]

This photo was taken by resident Jayne Reithmuller, the daughter of a friend.

We crossed the border into New South Wales, soon after Goondiwindi. 

The Wobbly Boot Hotel at Boggabilla, amused us.

Hopefully there are some very happy farmers.


First flooded road, but quite safe to enter.

Second flooded road. It was reassuring to have another vehicle in front of us.

The top photo below has a huge water storage tank. [middle, on horizon]
Below - Mehi River

Crossing the plains to the south of Moree, I was captivated by the clouds hovering over the Kaputar National Park. It has been added to my list of parks to explore.

Approaching our destination of Narrabri, a storm cloud filled the horizon. We were fortunate not cross its path.

Thankfully, this brochure clearly informed us of the agricultural use of the area.

Sunflower escapees were often seen on the road edges.

The Namoi River at Narrabri.

Day 2 - 7 hours, 590 kilometres.

Much further south, near Coonabarrabran, the Warrumbungle Range and National Park, beckoned.

It was not to be on this occasion. We had our destination and our car kept cruising across the rolling plains.

The view from the back of our motel at Yass.

Autumn tones of poplar trees in a local park.

We explored Yass before dining at the local RSL. Driving home at 8pm, the sun was beginning to set in the distance. Back at the motel, it was a mad dash for the camera, before it sank. To my delight, even though I was freezing cold, it took over half an hour to dramatically sink in the west.

Day 3 - 3 hours, 250 km.

And the road kept rolling across the plains.

A sign outside Canberra. We were getting closer!

Rain welcomed us to Jinabyne. A quick check of the local forecast, reassurred me that the following day would be clear, for day one of my Ten Peaks hiking.

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Monday, 22 March 2021

Celebrating 70

 In July last year, I was invited to join a group of my hiking mates on a trip to Tasmania, to celebrate the 70th birthday of Hiker Margot. I declined, as I was hopeful that by the 23rd  March, 2021, I would be able to fly to my Grandchildren on Prince Edward Island. A very false hope in hindsight, but I didn't want to have anything on my calendar if I had the chance to fly.

I am actually 9 days older than Margot and was quite happy to see my 70th arrive quietly. Well that was not to be, thanks to my amazing friends and family. For almost all of the past month, I have been overwhelmed with their love and friendship.

 I had been asked by these special friends below, ['The Stooges' - teachers from Windaroo Primary] to join them on Sunday 28 February, for lunch in Rebecca's beautiful garden. It was a very loose arrangement and even up to an hour before hand, I wasn't sure if we were going to meet.

Poor Rebeeca, [on the left] had been quite unwell the previous day, but everyone rallied round to give me this magnificent High Tea, in this amazing setting.


 My husband had been given instructions to drive me up the driveway and below is what greeted me. I was totally stunned and in tears. Margot was party to the arrangements, but she was also surprised that they were including her in the 70th celebrations. There were many organisational messages that weren't sent to her.

The long table setting. 
Alas, the wigs didn't stay on long as it was quite hot.

Jocelyn and her sister Leanne created this divine birthday cake. Joc nervously held it on her lap, for the 35 min drive down the freeway to Rebecca's.

The Hungry Hikers - Wednesday walkers / hikers.

This is my group of friends called 'The Pigs'. We met in the 80's at Beenleigh Primary school and  
met every 2nd Friday afternoon, to 'unload' the stresses of teaching. Now all retired, we only meet once a month, as we are far too busy to find a date that suits everyone. Special, special friends.

The Gaiter Girls - Tuesday hikers

The three, lovely, talented ladies to my left, are active in choirs and theatre. They surprised us all with this brilliant rendition for me, written by Rachel, 2nd from left. Again I was totally overwhelmed.

The lyrics. 
So me, and our hiking adventures!

Wednesday 3rd March was a Hungry Hiker day. My instructions were to be ready at 4.15 am, to be driven to a sunrise, no questions to be asked. As I got in the car, I was given this shirt to wear.

Our destination was below the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, with views across to the city. I was a little surprised that this was our sunrise destination. The cliffs would hide the sun rising. The journey, at that hour, had my driver arriving far too early. We were given instructions to stay put until further notice. We did, and enjoyed the city lights, reflections and the intense quiet of the hour.
4.40 am.

A text came saying to proceed further along the park.
The photos will tell the story of this glamour, sunrise breakfast. The chefs were again Joc and Leanne, with support from the other Hungry Hikers. 

5.15 am

Champagne at the sunrise time of 5.42 am. 

There was no colour, but we were not complaining. The river was so peaceful, and the city surprisingly quiet to well after 6 am. The company and food was out of this world!

Thankfully, just a light sprinkle.

Homemade, delicious, doughnut birthday cake .

We could have sat all morning, but the Hungry Hikers were no longer hungry, so time for some city walking. 

When I realised I wouldn't be going to Canada, my original plan was to climb Mt Warning on the 'big day', for sunrise. I then stumbled upon a 4 day, guided hike of the top ten peaks in the Snowy Mountains. My husband generously agreed to drive me, a journey of 1500 km south. We took 3 days to arrive so that all my preparation for fitness, wouldn't be wasted. The walk commenced on the 12 March and concluded on the 15th, my birthday. I was definitely looking forward to cool, weather hiking.

This was the weather guide the day we left home. Being Alpine conditions, it changed, but it didn't mar my enjoyment in any way. I just love not being sweaty!

The peaks

 Mike Edmonston, a professional photographer, was our guide.  There were 5 of us in the group.   David Cunningham, one of the members, is also a professional photographer.

Friday 12 March
Approach to Mt Twynam.

Approach to Carruthers Peak.

Saturday 13 March

This hike was to be only 12 km, but because of 80 k/h wind gust at Thredbo, the chair lift was closed. We
had to drive an hour to another starting point, making the day 22 km. Much of that was against 50 k/h wind gusts. Hard work.

Approach to Etheridge

Approach to Kosciuszko.

Sunday 14 March

Thankfully no wind, but we hiked mostly in thick fog. Loved it. Approach to Rams Head North.

Approach to Rams Head.

Monday 15 March

A champagne day of hiking. The hills were alive with the sounds of music. Cool sunshine, panoramic vistas, tiny, late wildflowers, snow grass, increible alpine flora, tiny crystal clear streams, crisp air and fabulous company, made the long day and 4 climbs a breeze for this now 70 year old.

The approach to Alice Rawson Peak.

The approach to Mt Townsend.

The approach to Abbot Peak West.

The approach to Abbot Peak East.

Yeah, ten peaks conquered!

A generous gift from Mike, as it was my birthday. What a treasure to have. I recognise so many scenes.

Now it was time to further explore the region. Sadly accommodation was in very short supply. We discovered that this was as a result of the Snowy Mountain Scheme 2 project, for renewable energy.

We explored the history of Gundagai and Junee before making our way home. The route home changed several times, as we watched the horrendous and devastating weather event unfold along the east coast. On Sunday we were 10 mins from home, when we drove into the torrential rain. We have since had over 7 inches of rain in 48 hours, but no flooding.  The flooding to the south continues to be disasterous.

BUT, the birthday was still not over. Our wonderful neighbours wined and dined us, Sunday evening.

It has been a euphoric few weeks and I feel quite humble to have the love and friendship of so many wonderful people.

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