Kosciuszko Summit Walk

The challenge of walking

9 km from Charlotte Pass snow resort

an altitude of 1840 metres

to the highest point of our land

altitude 2228 metres

and return

Irresistible but…

inexperienced

ill-prepared

Backpack

sugar snacks

bottled water

seemed sufficient

at the time

Autumn sun shining

late April

off we go

noting landmarks

Snowy River

Seaman’s Hut

Taking photos

patches of snow

sun on golden grasses

cloud in the valleys

obliterating views

Narrow dirt tracks

red tops on poles

mark road edges

when snow is deep

In the wetness

tyre tracks

surprise

vehicles were here

Moods

of the mountains

change quickly

delight or dismay

Eventually

our destination

Mt Kosciuszko summit

Temperature falling

mist

rolling in

time to head back

Should have

descended sooner

ice forming on

eyebrows and moustache

cold penetrating

to our bones

Worried

concerned about

getting lost

in the mist, the fog,

the cloud

Growing weary

can’t stop

must press

on downhill

nobody knows where we went

Legs aching

knees hurting

companion managing

better than me

worry increasing

Stupid to have

set out at all

will we perish

in the wilderness

as have back country skiers

Seaman – well-travelled

photojournalist

and Hayes –

country boy

both died August ’28

succumbing to icy blizzard

Wait

there’s Seamans Hut

(why no Hayes Hut?)

we’ll make it

Finally

the lodge

warmth

hot drinks

knees still screaming

Early to bed

next day

walking excruciating

nearby

all I can manage

challenge completed

lessons learned

Later, images created

on watercolour paper

matted for display

twenty-one years later

memories rediscovered

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