There is a bridge just before the climb to Charlottes Pass. It was here that we parked the car mid afternoon. We were not in any hurry as our campsite was only a two kilometre walk away.
Our destination was across Johnnies Plain to just before the small waterfall where Trapyard Creek drops down off the Rams Head Range. There were two of us, my walking partner being Bill Dowling, and we were at the start of a four day walk in the main range, near Mt Kosciuszko.
The plan was to complete a circuit ending up back at the car. The first night was a pleasant evening beside the creek under a cloudless sky. We were just below the trees in a sheltered nook that looked back towards The Paralyser. There was just enough room to take two tents comfortably. The alternative was a forty metre climb climb up through the trees to a spot behind a large granite boulder in amongst the Snow Gums.
It was the end of January and it had been very dry.
The second day started well. We walked the forty metres up to the other camp site and continued on in a south westerly direction. Before long we were above the tree line. To our left about three hundred metres below was the Thredbo River. Ahead of us were the rolling plains that continue on to the remarkable Rams Head.
A beautiful sunny day. About a kilometre into the walk there is the remains of an old ski lift that came from the Thredbo River to the top of the range. The building has all but collapsed.
This area is a very popular cross country sking destination in winter. In summer it is fairly easy walking but can get and was boggy. The reason for this is that we were at the headwaters of many streams.
Walking the high country is different. In summer it is mild. The nights are a bit cold. It occasionally snows. For the last few years there had not been much snow left on the ground by the end of January. This year was no different.
Bill has been walking and sking the Snowy Mountains for the last 45 years. He believes that global warming is definitely occuring. The last few years has seen the snow line being higher than his early years.
The landform is interesting here. Basically it is rolling grass covered hills for about five kilometres before it hits the dramatic Rams Head peaks. Imagine huge granite boulders scattered in a very flat plain with ridges forming a boundary on two sides and a three hundred metre drop to the south east. It was here that we camped for the second night, overlooking the Thredbo Ski Lift, away from the constant flow of human ants enroute to Mt Kosciuszko.
The Iron Track tourist walk from Thredbo to Australias highest peak is like a line of ants a constant flow of people. Amazingly the plain mentioned above is so close to this track yet no-one except two full pack walkers attempted the rocky climb over this ridge to view this special place.
The third day the weather changed. We headed in a north easterly direction, cross country to Summit Road, next to the Snowy River. Passing the Iron Track we noted the large number of people with little on other than shorts and a light shirt.
Within an hour the weather had turned bad. A strong westerly brought in the rain and thunder. I was so captivated by the changing weather I just stood and watched as the converging weather created remarkable cloud formations.
It was now bitterly cold and raining. When we reached the Summit Road we were amazed to see people continuing on their journey from Charlottes Pass to Mt Kosciouszko, in spite of the weather. Even families with young children we persuaded them to turn around.
When we got to the pass we found it packed, there were cars parked about a kilometre down the road. The weather was still bad. It was our original intention to walk down the Snowy River and base camp for a couple of days. With the weather the way it was, by now wet snow was falling, we headed onto the car.
It astounded me how unprepared people are when they come here. I remember walking past a person lying next to a car, clearly suffering from hypothermia.
Back down the road and off to the left about 18 kilometres is Island Bend. Originally this was home for those building the Snowy Mountain Hydro Electric Scheme. We spent the night here, near the river. A great place to car camp. Very pretty.
The next day started OK. Upon returning to Charlottes Pass we found it already filling up. Our plan was to head up to Carruthers Peak, via Blue Lake. I find this a better walk, more scenic than the trip to Mt Kosciouszko. The National Parks and Wildlife Service have done a brilliant job on the track here.
It started off sunny but by the time we got to Mt Carruthers it was again bad weather. Rather than follow the track back we headed cross country back to Charlottes Pass and then on home.
Provided that adequate warm clothing and wet weather gear is taken I would recommend this walk to anyone.
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