A good friend of mine is leaving today to begin training with the Navy to become an Electronic Warfare Linguist. Such a complete change of environment and lifestyle is sure to be a significant personal challenge, but after your experiences overseas last year I'm sure you're up to it, so best wishes and I hope all goes well! Since he quoted me it's time for me to quote him:
"There are a lot of unknowns as yet, and none of it I will fully understand until I get there." - I hear you.
After walking around for hours in typically-Melbourne weather (windy, rainy, freezing) I decided to take refuge in a café and snapped this photo while attempting to restore my core body temperature with a coffee. Incidentally, the café is located on the right side of the glass-fronted building visible at the bottom of the last post's photo.
Later I found this narrow alley with a Spanish restaurant, Movida, hiding in it. My general consensus is that the "true Melbourne" is found in the streets that run North and South, not in the streets that run East and West.
And friendship? Above all else.
After a particularly eventful night trip from Mt Beauty to Melbourne (trees fallen across the road, flying debris, etc), I spent the day wandering around the back streets of the city and checking out galleries, passageways, cafés and skyscrapers.
In the Village Bowl. Although most of the photos I've shown so far have cloudy skies, the weather was exactly like this for each of the first five days. Very little wind and a lucid blue that filled everything above the terrain.
Occasionally kicking back for a rest, to lay flat on your back on the cool snow and look up was an almost vertiginous experience, with no sense of depth and no reference points. Several minutes of staring up at nothing had the interesting effect of making my body feel heavier; sort of like falling without any movement - it's very relaxing. One thing that I noticed after being on the mountain for a few days was the sense of expanded "mental space", as though the openness of the landscape caused your perception of distance to change.
Electrical transmission towers in Mt Beauty, part of the Kiewa Hydro Electric Scheme. I was surprised to find that there were no fences blocking access to these.
Looking down from the top of Playground over the start of Powderkeg and the Lakeside Poma to Cloud 9, which houses the top of the Bilia Bullet high speed detachable quad chair. Just a few days ago all of the chairs on this lift were detached and stored due to extremely high winds and lightning. The stations for Drover's Dream and Towers chairs are also visible here, with the beginners' Tom Thumb Poma and Boardwalk "magic carpet" to the right.
Treads of a Kassbohrer. I love the industrial look of most snow vehicles.
Mt Bogong from Falls Creek in the morning light.
Looking out towards the west to Mt Fainter (to the right of Mt Feathertop) from Mt McKay after arriving there on snowmobile. About 30 minutes later the clouds closed in and it became a whiteout, which was lots of fun to hoon around in! Although I didn't get to Mt Hotham because of the high winds, I did at least get to see it from here, to the left of this shot.
I'm back from my little snow holiday! The days were long, though the time went quickly; aside from becoming significantly better at snowboarding (which was fantastic) I took gigs of photos, some of which I'll post over the coming weeks.
The weather was mostly sunny and warm (which resulted in fairly icy snow conditions with the melted snow freezing each night), turning to blizzards and gales near the end. 198 km/h winds were registered at Mt Hotham the night I left the alps, the highest winds ever recorded in Victoria, which explains why my booked helicopter transfer to Mt Hotham a day or so earlier was cancelled! Although I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn't get to see Mt Hotham I made the most of the day and went snowmobiling instead, which was more fun than should be legal.
A spectacular crash on the second last day has left my wrists feeling very sore and weak, but thankfully nothing's broken; there's some tissue and tendon damage but nothing that a little rest and time won't fix. I wish someone had a video camera at the time, because I would have loved to have seen it from an external perspective!
Because of forecast rain, high winds and a blizzard (that ultimately put all lifts at Falls Creek on wind hold), I headed to Melbourne a day early, staying with my cousin, Matt, and checking out a lot of things in Melbourne that I'd missed last year.
The above photo is me looking out over a few runs to the Rocky Valley Lake.
More updates soon!