I spent this weekend on my second Sydney Bush Walkers walk. The training walk was designed to give new bushwalkers an introduction to the wide range of skills necessary to hike around the country. Covering navigation, bushcraft and first aid the whole gambit of other things our instructor Brendon covered the basics of well everything and I was quite happy wandering along for the adventure and getting back into swing of off-track bushwalking. I have to admit that although I consider myself to be reasonably fit I was struggling with the pace of the group up some of the rather hilly hills we climbed.
So I am chilling out near Canberra tonight and dreaming of rides I could be doing. I won’t be doing these rides in the immediate future, but I can dream!
I admit this isn’t a particularly detailed idea, but the map appears to outline hundreds of kilometres of riding which one could do with options for highlands, fjordlands and large sections of the maps listed as “Loose sand possibly causing difficulties in biking”. Who wouldn’t be inspired.
2) Remote Australian Cycle Tours
I have a lot of respect for people who commit to serious cycle touring, and Alia and Simon appear to have committed to scouting two massive new cycle routes in Australia. The proposed routes through Central Australia and along the Great Dividing Range are epic and should be awesome once they are developed!
Glistening fields of snow, icey cornices hundreds of meters long near the peak of Australia’s tallest mountain, camping on snow with mountains and granite the only things in sight and walking across the snow river. This weekend was excellent in a way that I can only struggle to describe.
Early on Saturday I awoke to the dulcet tones of my alarm phone, quickly joined by the sound of my cousins dog wanting desperately to take its place in the bed I was about the vacate (that dog is a firm believer in energy efficiency). The early morning gremlins tried to convince me that after water bottle leaks, missing gear and generally shambolic packing methods the night before – going snowshoeing for the weekend wasn’t a good idea. Luckily common sense vacated the area and I picked up my gear and waited patiently for my lift to arrive. Nicole, Ellen and I were heading up into the backcountry near Mt Kosciusko to explore the snow fields before they melted and hiking started to resemble hard work.
Tumbling into the car I resumed my stupor until coffee made its way I to my blood stream somewhere near Thredbo. After much consultation on the various merits of thermals, ski pants, shorts and over pants our little gang was permitted upon the suspended skyward chariots that form the Kosciusko Express and found ourselves deposited at Thredbo Topstation with almost as much ceremony as the unveiling of my goggles.
From there we marched upwards. Not that Nicole (who loves going up hill) forced us to march for more than the 35 minutes. Why 35 minutes? Lunch! This walk was to become the sort of adventure I love where food takes priority over walking.
Anyway as we regained our body temperature after a long break we made our way through the pass and saw our first goal in the distance, the precipit-less Mt Kosciusko. The peak itself is not deserving of the term, but it is put on a great display with a massive cornice and spectacular ice formations on the summit.
On the peak we were told that the trail we’d intended taking towards Seamans Hut was getting a bit sloppy as the late season snow started to melt. This advice turned out to be the best we could have received as we turned away from the snow poles and up onto the ridgeline where few other people had been recently. Away from the touristy tracks the snow was crisp and clear of tracks and before long we found ourselves a campsite on the ridge too good to pass up so we set up our tents, gawked at the astounding beauty of the location we were to call home for the night and before long found ourselves waist deep in the snow with shovels and saws in an impromptu igloo making lesson before retiring very early to bed.
The morning brought even more outdoor bliss as the clear blue skies continued and the chilly temperatures overnight had refrozen all the snow that had started to melt the night before. So, after a morning so luxurious we almost forgot we had to go anywhere, we traipsed down the off the ridge and across the snowy river (we assume. It wasn’t quite clear where it was) and up a hill. Well a big hill. Well up onto the Ramshead Range. Anyway we had lunch on a hill and then made our way back to Thredbo circuitously along the flattest but possible least direct route available.
I have an admission to make. I sufferer from a disease. Okay it isn’t life threatening^, and probably isn’t going to cause any loss of livelihood unless someone at works notices that I am a victim of this horrific disease. I have contracted T.O.W.S.
Since I have been diagnosed I have come to wondering how long I have suffered this condition. Living in central Australia was I think quite good for me, and may have remedied many of the symptoms for a few years but with hindsight I can recognise many of the symptoms in my behaviour during my previous life in Sydney. Speaking of which, the symptoms. Oh the symptoms can be horrible. It can make working life a daily challenge as the T.O.W.S. influences the very way I view the world. I can’t really explain what it is like, but I will list some of the symptoms I experience and perhaps you’ll recognise my disease. I hear it is most common amongst outdoorsy people so you never know, you might be suffering from T.O.W.S and not even have recognised it.
- Loss of concentration and day-dreaming
- Intermittent bouts of intense concentration, often manifesting in unconscious staring at objects more than five metres away*
- Inability to look professional, especially pertaining to the failure to remove days worth of stubble or deeply ingrained grease stains.
- Complete and utter failure to hear anything that might be construed to be an alarm by a reasonable person and inability to tell the time correctly – strangely this symptom is most evident on Monday morning and Friday afternoons, though not exclusively.
I don’t know if this sounds familiar to you, but I seem to live this every week. I am a suffered of T.O.W.S. – Tempting Office Window Syndrome.
^ only occasionally in the ways I find to reduce the symptoms…
* With the exception of maps, from which it can be almost impossible to distract oneself.
** Often directed at those people on social media detailing their excellent adventures when mine and less fantastical. (Yes that can mean you the reader, and I hope that my adventures are occasionally worthy of causing such irritability.)