Thursday, 4 June 2015

King Valley Trip -> Day 3

We slept a little better the 2nd night even though it was still very cold. No one slept in for very long in the morning and we had crumpets and porridge and hot chocolate around the fire. Caitlin and LiAM and I went for a walk back along the river, as the light was better today - it had been cloudy all day Monday and this morning the sun was out - so Caitlin got to explore the river as well, and I took some better photos.
Morning on the river

Autumn colours

Once the air started to warm up a bit Caitlin was back in the water. I had been thinking about it the day before, and seeing as it was sunny and the fire was raging I decided to give it a try - I knew I'd be disappointed if I didn't get in the water at least once. Caitlin was very excited when she saw me coming in and happily gave me her kayak. The water was painfully cold, but sitting on the kayak wasn't too bad - until I got the shakes from cold and from fear of falling in, and I was wobbling a lot which increased my chances of falling in... I managed to calm down and stop wobbling and kayaked up and down our little area - I love kayaking and it's been a long time since I had a go, so it was very exciting and a lot of fun.

I didn't stay in long, and happily dried out in front of the fire. Millie wanted to go in again although in the end decided not to. LiAM and Caitlin were in and out all morning. Caitlin also did a bit of bike riding. The kids played on the river bank and around the fire and Tony and I played with them or relaxed or pottered around.

We put our bike rack on the car, then tried to put Tony's bike on but it was a bit tricky, and he didn't have a helmet with him, so we decided to leave the bikes home for today. We wanted to visit Bright (we'd driven through before, but not spent any time there). We set off in the early afternoon, and listened to a combination of Frozen and Saddle Club on the way. It was a clear afternoon so I suggested going up Mount Buffalo on the way - something I had wanted to do when we were in the area 6 years ago but the mountain was covered in smoke from burning off fires. Everyone agreed to the mountain detour, so I happily headed up the mountain once we got to Porepunkah. It was a 35km drive to the top of the mountain, and it was windy and a little scary at times - driving up we had the mountain rising steeply to our left, and dropping away sharply on the right. Even though it was across the other side of the road, knowing that drop was there had my heart rate elevated and my breathing quite shallow. LiAM didn't like it either. Thinking about driving back down made it worse! It was a long drive and Caitlin started to feel a little unwell, so we had windows down and everyone snuggled under their jackets for warmth, so that Caitlin could get a little fresh air. The views on the way up were impressive - some out across the valley, and others of rock formations on the mountain itself, or waterfalls, as well as a lake and some plains - it is a beautiful mountain. The last little bit of road (3km) was gravel with very tight hair pin bends - and we finally made it to the carpark at The Horn - the top of the mountain.

I had one strong moment of vertigo when I walked to the (well fenced) edge - I stepped back a bit and let my head adjust and then I was fine. Looking across the top of the mountain range was pretty cool. LiAM was happy to look at the view then wanted to go back - he wasn't a big fan of the height either. We wandered around at the end of the carpark for a while, then headed up the 1.5km track to the The Horn. It was steep in places and all up hill, Caitlin and LiAM and Tony charged ahead and Millie and I took our time. Great views on the way up as well as cool trees and rocks to check out in close up. The view from the top was a 360 degree view across the top of mountains. Definitely worth the drive and the climb. We could even see Mt Kosciuszko across in NSW. There was a distance marker there showing where all the mountains were and how far away they were - made everything seem much closer compared to the distance it would take to drive to them!
View from the carpark

View from the top of The Horn (showing the windy road we'd come up)
At the top of Mount Buffalo
As we were ready to go back down we noticed some cloud coming in over the next ridge to the north west. By the time we were halfway down we were completely in the cloud - I love bushwalking in cloud and really concentrating on the details of the trees and rocks close to the path, it's just as spectacular as being able to see the view. The carpark was a bit spooky - looking over the edge into complete whiteness - very cool. We sat and had a picnic at the picnic table - and by the time we'd finished, the cloud had moved on, although was still in the valleys so we could see the tops of the mountains, and were looking down on the top of the cloud. Also very cool.
Cloud rolling in
View from the carpark in the cloud
View from the carpark once cloud moved on

I decided to drive back down - I knew in theory that I would be able to do it, even though it scared me, and I wanted to tackle that fear. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, even the bits next to the drop off. I took it very slowly and felt much better once we were back on flat land, I'm pleased that I did it though.

We got to Bright around 4pm and went for a walk along the main street. We popped into the lolly shop at the end of the street and the kids each picked something to buy, we also got some mini marshmallows to use with bananas and chocolate in the fire. We walked down the other side of the street and stopped in the other lolly shop, the kids had ice creams and Tony and I had a coffee. Nice to sit in the warmth and have a treat all together. From there we walked down to the river where we found a great playground. It was dusk by this time, however the playground was well lit and there was enough light for us to see the river for a while. I left the others to finish playing and walked up to the supermarket to get some more supplies, Tony and the kids picked me up on the way through after getting some hot chips to eat on the way home (in case anyone fell asleep in the car before we had dinner).

We had run out of gas in the morning and hadn't been able to refill it in Bright (we were there too late in the day) so cooked our dinner on the fire - potatoes in foil in the coals, and some bacon and vegetables in the frypan. Delicious. Millie had fallen asleep in the car so we put her to bed in the tent. Caitlin and LiAM filled bananas will mini marshmallows and chocolate pieces and roasted them in foil in the coals - also delicious.

A very pleasant evening around the fire, then into the tent to read some more Eldest. It was cloudy by this stage and although it was still cold it wasn't quite so freezing. I'd also rearranged the bedding a little - Millie was no longer interested in sleeping in her sleeping bag on the floor, so I added her mattress to LiAM's bed, and I put a large piece of carpet (that we use to cover the trailer) under LiAM and Caitlin's beds which created quite a bit more warmth.

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