So last week was unashamedly all about me and my need for a challenge …. something a little different, a goal to work towards and something that involved physical fitness.
A Girls Trekking Adventure in the Snowy Mountains, beginning on my birthdate and supported by my favourite personal trainer from Off the Track Training, ticked all the boxes and so I committed and commenced focussed training quite a few months ago.
Conveniently, the adventure fell after most of our school year was complete and super Dad was only left with an On Air timetable to follow in the schoolroom …. on top of running the household, collecting a child from boarding school, mustering, general property maintenance and a board meeting. Of course he handled it with ease.
Lucky food wouldn’t be an issue as the banana trees were yielding ….
…. and the coldroom had plenty of fresh pork hanging.
With all well on the home front, all that was left for me to do was meet my fellow trekkers and fly to Canberra.
We arrived at Canberra airport trek ready with our backpacks brimming with gear to be transported to a lunch spot in Cooma before travelling a little further along the Alpine Way where we disembarked our bus and began our mountain trekking adventure.
The weather was warm, the flies quite thick and the views stunning.
Our path was relatively flat and proliferated with cute little wild flowers and lots of wombat holes.
It followed the Thredbo River which we crossed numerous times.
Quite a few of the bridges were suspension like and an artwork in themselves.
That night we rested well at the Candlelight Lodge after an entertaining evening with Donna at Berntis.
We were all in denial about the forecasted weather change.
We woke to this view.
Wind was gale force, rain torrential and temperature freezing!
Due to the inclement conditions, we were not able to hike further along the Thredbo River, through the Snow Gums and climb to Dead Horse Gap.
Instead, we took the chairlift. Immediately, our wet weather gear was put to the test. For many of us, nothing stayed dry!
Blizzard like conditions saw us take shelter in the Eagle’s Nest. While girls trekking is not all about coffee and hot chocolates, sometimes weather is not conducive to trekking and so coffee it is. Many of us took advantage of the hand dryers in the bathroom to dry off sodden pants and undies!!
We then bit the bullet to face the elements and reach Australia’s highest summit.
It was game on and it was not pleasant. Conditions were challenging, with the path being slippery, the wind gale force, the rain stinging and temperature freezing.
Heads were down, and our attention focussed on placing one foot after the other.
It was tough, yet it was exhilarating.
Encouragement and comradeship was critical.
And despite the conditions we all continued to smile.
Fears for many were overcome, as we traipsed over snow covered paths and along cliff like edges. Thank goodness for the thick mist as we neared the top, and the need to keep our heads down. We couldn’t see the bottom!
This little video clip from the top of Australia captures the conditions perfectly. The landscape was stunning although our view was limited!!
After returning to Rawson’s Pass we then trekked toward Charlotte’s Pass.
A great chance to stride out our weary legs as the path was well worn and the weather had lifted slightly.
We were surprised to come across a group of students also trekking the Snowy Mountains at the Seaman’s Hut.
They were relishing the warmth of a fireplace in the stone shelter, I did not relish the thought of their night camped out in tents ….
Many of the peaks were still snow covered, the views were just breathtakingly beautiful.
We reached Stillwell Lodge just before nightfall amongst thunder and a hailstorm. There was a rush for a fireside spot and the hot spa to defrost and nurture weary muscles.
After a scrumptious meal, I think we all slept like logs, listening to what I thought was rain on the roof.
Imagine the surprise and delight when I woke and drew open the curtains to this view …….
10cm of snow had fallen through the night.
And to everyone’s delight, the sun was out.
Today we would venture across the Snowy River to Blue Lake and along the Main Range.
Crossing the Snowy River was nothing short of exhilarating with water icy cold. Yet another thing to tick off the bucket list!
Our walking poles were an essential accessory as the higher we climbed the more prolific the snow.
Unfortunately my iPhone camera didn’t love the icy conditions at Blue lake and froze so I didn’t get any snaps. We attempted to make Carruthers Peak but were forced to turn back as the weather turned south.
It was quite amazing to see how much of the snow had melted within a few hours as we returned to cross the Snowy River again. Amazing how quickly the weather can change.
There was so much natural beauty to absorb.
A firm favourite occasion for me was the scramble to the top of Mt Stillwell. We were able to discard our backpacks for a short while. Sweet relief.
Physically challenging, mentally tough and so worthy of accomplishing. I felt on top of the world.
A moment to anchor … and of course no photo evidence (camera again frozen!)
Our final walk down to the lodge, saw everyone smiling despite their weariness.
So many achievements for us all.
I think it was fair to say, we all had proven to ourselves how much more capable we are than what we think.
Our trip came to a close with our last night spent in Canberra.
I took the opportunity to visit the Australian War Memorial and witness the day’s Last Post Ceremony.
Perfect way to honour our freedom, feel grateful and humbled and show respect.
There was then time to let our hair down a little in a funky part of our nation’s capital with fellow trekkers.
The comradeship and friendships made certainly were a significant part of the journey.
Now for my next challenge, which I’m not sure what will be.
I did take advantage of free bike hire from our hotel to explore Lake Burley Griffin. A cruisy 18km cycle before morning yoga a fine way to wrap up the trip.
It was great to arrive home amongst a storm that delivered 17mm of rain. Certainly incomparable to the weather of the previous days.
I’m well and truly defrosted.
And very grateful to be back amongst my tribe, doing what I love best.
I highly recommend this trip, Girls Trekking Adventures and as always Joy from Off the Track Training for readying me.
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