Monday, 4 May 2020

Take me to the April snow in Covid

Well I'm finally biting the bullet and attempting to resurrect this blog after a very long hiatus!

Whilst 2020 has certainly been wonky, last year was far worse for us with the passing of Annie, and we're all just actually glad that she didn't make it through to this year. The big emotional funeral that we had for her last July wouldn't have been allowed, and there would have been many weeks where we weren't even allowed to visit her and dad. I feel really sorry for those who lost dear ones this year and couldn't comfort them or grieve properly.
My last blog was of us at Cradle Mountain with mum, shortly after she'd had the first operation and her first round of chemo. She was still so vital back then, and we really had a great few years after her diagnosis before her rapid decline last year. 
Eventually I'd like to backfill this blog with some of the adventures we've had since Tassy, especially of Antarctica, but I thought I'd start with this one, because it was just so unique.
During the first lockdown, I was unemployed in Melbourne and so we decamped down to the Coast where I'd volunteered for the obstetric roster (and any Covid cases) at Foster Hospital. But as the first wave seemed to be withering, I had my eyes on the most amazing mid-autumn weather system. The restrictions back then didn't really prohibit travel between homes, and we'd essentially been in isolation for weeks anyway. We hadn't been able to get up to DP to clean up since the bushfires had come through.
Balti and I drove up through Omeo on the last day of April, and by the time we got to Dinner Plain it was already snowing heavily. We had dinner and then headed out for a night ski, and my very first April ski in Australia. It was also my 17th consecutive month skiing.
The next day we woke to a good half metre of dry snow. We had a very pretty ski tour up to Dead Timber Hill and back with Chockie who was in his element, and then after lunch, another along the cross country trails in deep snow with sunny breaks - all the way down to the upper reaches of the Victoria River where Balti had a bit of a fish after a successful sub-snowpack worm hunt!
Everything was very pretty, and as we got back to DP the snow came in again and we decided to try and ski down to Carmichael Falls and scope the damage from the fires. Whilst we couldn't ski all of the way, we did manage to down-climb and slide all the way to the bottom of the Falls where the spray from the Falls was acting like a snow maker, totally insane. The ampitheatre of Carmichael certainly saved DP, and whilst the burnt trees were black and stark, many were already sprouting again.
The next day was bluebird and we headed up the hill to get some fabulous lines on Australia Drift and Harris's Horror area. There was a solid metre's cover, and the snow quality was fantastic for early May, more like early July! Balti was trying out his tele technique (and skinning kick-turns!) and I was loving it too, especially having the entire mountain to ourselves. 
We had a few more lines the next morning before the long drive home through the beautiful autumn colours of the Ovens Valley, with colours I've never seen against such a mid-winter mountain backdrop.

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