Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Snow Report

Last Thursday, I headed off with my niece Tess & my sister Fi to Harrietville, at the base of Mount Hotham to stay with our cousin S & her partner H for Tess's first ever snow experience! Mount Hotham is part of the great dividing range of mountains that stretch more than 3,500 km (2,175 mi) from northeastern tip of Queensland, running the entire length of the eastern coastline through New South Wales, then into Victoria and turning west, before finally fading into the central plain at the Grampians in western Victoria. The width of the range varies from about 160 km to over 300 km that run parallel to the east coast of Australia between Victoria & NSW. Mt Hotham is fairly close to the NSW border.

Fi & I went to Mount Buffalo (we think!) to see "snow" when we were in primary school & compared recollections on the trip. We both remembered the same experience: we arrived, got out of the car & walked around for 5 minutes. Made a couple of snow balls, took a couple of photo's, got back in the car & left - total experience, 15 minutes max! We were aiming to make Tess's experience a little more exciting than that!
I had a bit of trouble getting away from work Thursday morning so we didn't hit the road until 11am. Our first stop was for lunch was in Glenrowan, where Ned Kelly , one of Australia's most famous bush rangers made his last stand.
Of course we were wondering what was up his "skirt"......
Not much actually!
We came across this outdoor dunny in the main street & Fi just had to have a look under the door to see if anyone was in there. She could see a pair of boots.

She tried looking over the door & couldn't see anyone, so gingerly open the door.................................

& then screamed.........................

As a red back spider lurched towards her!!! Tess & I got a good giggle out of it.

Onwards to Harrietville, arriving late afternoon in time to catch up with S who had the day off & get prepared for our day up the mountain! Both S & H work for Mt Hotham; they also snowboard & ski, so S checked out what gear we had, what gear they could loan us & what gear we needed to hire.

After an early(ish) night, we headed up the mount @ 6.30am with S & H who were both working. It takes them 45 - 60 minutes each way, each day. After a coffee, we headed to the ski hire shop for boots, ski's & helmets.

One of my coworkers loaned me his ski pants - he did warn me they were bright, I figured at least I wouldn't get lost!!!!!

Yep - if you hadn't already seen them on FB, they are fluoro orange! Before we headed up the mountain, the local TV weather forecast was for 100kms per hour wind! Mt Hotham website toned it down to 50kms & we almost didn't go that day, but we were up & dressed & pumped to go, so figured what the hell. It was bloody cold!

We caught the bus to the "Big D" also know as the big daycare centre, where parents can leave their offspring for 1/2 or full days for ski lessons & creche. We had another cuppa while we waited for a ski instructor to become available & then the lovely & patient Wil took us outside into the blizzard for a lesson! None of us had ever been skiing before, so we were complete beginners! Once we all learned how to stop, we hitched a ride halfway up the beginners run Easy Street to practice in a cordoned off space that had a travellator to get you back up to the top of the small slope.

Thank God we didn't have to try & walk up that hill in ski's! After our two hour lesson we were ready for lunch. Fi was completely cactus & didn't manage any more skiing that day. While Wil hadn't had time to take us up the ski lift for a run down the entirety of Easy Street, he said we were right to give it a go. After lunch, Tess & I strapped our ski's back on & braved the weather.

Up the lift we went! Of course I fell over getting off the lift & again in the first stage of Easy Street when a bit of ice made me lose balance go a bit out of control - thought it best if I fell over then rather than getting more speed up! Tess stopped & waited for me about 10 metres further on & was enquiring if I was OK. I yelled out that I'd have to be as Wil wasn't there to pick me up! I eventually hauled myself up & into position - it's bloody hard getting up with the ski's on your feet! I was just about to unclasp one ski to make it easier when I made it up.

I made it all the way down without further incident.
As did Tess who is far more coordinated & elegant on ski's than I!!!! I was pretty cactus as I had a cold & recon I expended as much energy sniffing my snot back as I did skiing. I refused to look like some of the little kid's on the mountain with 2 frozen solid runs of snot from nostril to chin!

Tess went up the chair lift & did the run a couple more times before she got cold. Another cuppa & a warm up ensued before heading back to the bus stop at which Fi & Tess decided to build a snowman.

Yes, I am well aware that it doesn't look much like a snowman. You can thank my sister for that! I had no part in this creation! My feet had sweated in my snow socks which were now wet & my feet were cold! The wind had kicked up a notch so I was trying to keep out of the weather & keep an eye out for the bus.

We made it back to Hotham central - while this is a great stubbie holder, I was after something a little more warming!

We hauled off our gear - I had bruised around the top of my calves from the boots - & attempted to defrost.

H wandered past on his lunch break who recommended we go down to the bar which has a much better fire place. So we returned our gear & borrowed some fur lined space or moon boots (I've forgotten what they were called) via inside assistance from H & made our way to the bar.

Fi & I got ourselves a glass of Red (or 2) each & sat in the window, while Tess went outside & made snow angels.

& played with icicles until S & H finished work & headed back down the mountain before they closed the road! They'd had 10cm's of snow Thursday night & we found out on Saturday they'd had 19 cms Friday night after we left!

S, H & I went to the pub for a bit, Fi & Tess preferred to have a bath & chill in front of the fire & watch some Teev. Around 9pm the power went out across the whole town, so we headed home for the night.

Saturday we had a sleep in (well, the Fi & Tess did - I was awake at 5.30am & saw S & H off) & pottered about the house playing with the animals.

S bought herself 2 rabbits a couple of months ago. 3 litters later they have 20 bunnies!!

This is mamma bunny.

& some bunny bums! The biggest one is the pappa bunny; the newest arrivals are in the hutch & smaller than the palm of your hand. Needless to say Tess nearly took one home! If it wasn't for the 7 hour drive, I think Fi would have caved.

This is Jasper, the king pin of the house. He's massive & slightly grumpy & beats up on darling Tigger......

who is half his size & 2 years his senior & is just adorable! She eventually made friends with us by the time we left & Tess had some lovely snuggles. Jasper on the other hand, was prone to swiping at you with his massive paw if he felt like it!

This is the view from S & H's back yard looking away from Mt Hotham - it was too cloudy to get a decent photo looking in that direction.

This is a "gun powder" shed at the back of their block. Cute! A bit too far from the house to use as a wood shed though.

The timber "hut" with the flue in this picture is actually a pizza oven! Can you see Jasper sitting in the elevated run to their outdoor cat enclosure?

We spent the rest of Saturday pottering about Bright, checking out all the gift & nicknack shops, returning with soap, a frypan, purple metalic water bottle (yes, that was one of my purchases), some books & a pretty stone for Tessa's fish tank. We came home to Harrietville & cooked our hosts a roast dinner & all had an early night as S & H were still working & Fi & Tess had a big drive on Sunday.

The journey home was uneventful, I drove the Hume leg, but we did stop in at a winery just out of Milawa where I bought a case of the cab/merlot we'd sampled the night before. We also stopped at the olive shop in Milawa for all things olive!

I can't wait to see Harrietville in summer! Plumbing boy will bring his dirt bike & go riding with H; S & I are going to have a kayak adventure! The air is crisp, the scenery is amazing & best of all, I didn't think about work once!


Ute said... put photos up on FB? I SOOOOO didn't see them. Sorry...will go have a looksee now! I don't know why it is that I miss some peoples posts on there...

Oooooooh!!!!!! Snow! Lots of it!!!!

Heh, snow man penis. ;o)))

Awww,, so cuteh!

And, awwwww, kitteh...


Wanna_B_slimmer said...

Omg.. what an awesome weekend!!! Love the pics.. I have never tried Skiing either! Hmm Wouldnt mind having a

AlleyCat said...

LOl i miss peeps photo's going up all the time Ute, not to worry! Apparently there was even more snow after we left! Bunnies & kitties indeed V cute!

Thanks Wanna! You'd prolly be good at it with your uber bike riding skills :0)

Chris H said...

OOOO that snow loooks sooo cold! Bet you had fun though. Lots of lovely photos... far too much to comment on! Have a neat weekend.