Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oh dear! I've had a nine day hiatus and I feel so sorry for having left you in the lurch. The last time I wrote in this I was halfway through my trip through the Snowy Mountains with Tony Hillier.

After leaving Talbingo, we headed out for the short trip to Khancoban. Our first stop, however was to go back to the dam at Tumut 2 so that we could drive over the dam, the road having been built since Tony was involved in the project. It is an amazing earth and rock structure, absolutely massive. I think back to my days as a teenager and going out to Tittesworth Reservoir near Leek. That dam seemed huge but this one beggars description!

Once we left Talbingo behind we backtracked some way to near Kiandra, having a near miss with a wallaby on the way, and then turned off on the road which would lead us to Khancoban. We stopped for coffee at another new town, Cabramurra, which was built for the Snowy Hydro maintenance workers and their families, where there was an interesting display of photos of the whole project under construction.

We crossed the Tooma Reservoir dam, this one a concrete construction, and incredibly high, before striking off on the road to Khancoban. There was another very long descent into the valley where the town lay. The lakes and dams in this section are part of the Murray part of the Snowy Hydro, as opposed to the Tumut part which we'd seen earlier.

Again, all the power stations were closed to the public, we could only assume because of possible security problems. If there were any terrorist action against Snowy Hydro it would be disastrous to the Australian economy. We stopped for the night at the motel in Khancoban, a rather funky place, where we once again met up with a bunch of people who were visiting the area for the 60th anniversary of Snowy Hydro. They were all people who had worked on the original project.

Thursday saw us begin our return journey to Canberra, heading out of Khancoban on the Alpine Way starting the trip towards the Kosciusko National Park and Mt. Kosciusko, the highest mountain in Australia at some 7,500 feet. We passed the Murray 1 power station which was again closed, and headed up to a lookout at Scammell's Ridge which afforded spectacular views of the Kosciusko Range, all snow capped. We swept past Tom Groggins Corner and on to Thredbo, where we decided to stop and take the chairlift to the top of the Crackenback range.

The chairlift is intended primarily for skiers, obviously, but runs year-round and takes one up to about 6,500 feet with wonderful views across the country and down to Jindabyne, our next port of call. It was incredibly windy, although the temperature on top was 10ÂșC. We had coffee at the Eagle's Nest, a small restaurant at the top and then it had been our intention to walk towards Mt Kosciusko, but the wind was so strong we decided to head back down to Thredbo, and continue our drive towards Jindabyne.

Now it's time to do some teaching and I'll return to this later!

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