Australia Travels - Snowy Mountains Hike

Photos by Dale Stuart

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Despite the threatening weather, I set out on an all-day (25 km) hike along a ridge line called the Main Range, and add on a climb of Australia's highest lump..., er..., mountain, Mt. Kosciuszko (2228m).
The trail is clearly visible on the other side of the Snowy River, but crossing with most of the stepping stones underwater was a good challenge!
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The trail was deceptively easy to follow at first, but it had a habit of disappearing into the remaining spring snow fields! (These wouldn't melt for a couple more months.)
Some snow fields were more than a quarter mile across, and finding the trail on the other side became the main challenge.
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Once on the ridge, the views were spectacular, even with cloudbase nearly at eyebrow level! This view to the south shows the beautiful layering effect of the hills.
This scene looks deceptively calm..., I haven't mentioned that these clouds were very wet, and pelted me with ice crystals, snow and tiny hail, along with a bitter wind. That might have explained why I didn't meet anyone else on this trail all day...
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The view to the north was straight into the incoming weather, and the nasty wind!
Some glaciated lakes hang onto their icy covers until late summer.
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Finally, at the top of Mt. Kosciuszko - the only place where I ran into another person (how else could this photo have been taken...!).
The weather wasn't getting any better up here, but at least it made my cheeks nice and red for the photo! (Yes, that's snow blowing onto the lens.)
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One last shot from the top before hightailing it back down to warmer, calmer conditions... I wasn't exactly prepared for camping in the snow!
But of course, as soon as I'm off the mountain, the weather clears up and some blue even starts showing again! Mt. Kosciuszko is the peak on the far right. This is the only angle from which it looks at all like a mountain - even the Aussies admit it's more of a lump than a mountain!
My last look back at the mountains before Mt. Kosciuszko disappears from view - it's the snowy lump a little left of center, just visible behind the ridge between the two other peaks. The weather has become much nicer now, and cloudbase has risen several thousand feet since I left the summit..., darn it!!! If only I'd stayed up there a few more hours, I could've gotten some shots without those snowflakes on my lens (and in my eyes!) Oh, well....
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