Monday, April 18, 2011

Illawong Autumn

Illawong lodge is a private lodge located 2.5km from Guthega village on the banks of the Snowy River. Adjacent to the lodge is the only crossing of the upper river apart from the stepping stones at the bottom of Guthrie Ridge at Charlottes Pass.

In winter, Illawong marks the beginning of the ascent into the main range. On the way home, the lodge marks the beginning of an hour of pain back to Guthega at the end of a long day and has claimed many a toe nail.

Approaching Illawong in spring

Crossing the Snowy in spring

Some of the terrain available after a three hour hike

Crossing the Snowy, October 2010, pretty much no snow left

Anyway, all summer I have been wanting to hike out to the crossing. When the clouds broke on a Saturday I had the opportunity to check it out.

Approaching Illawong

Lunch with a view

My silly hiking hat

Holly and the bridge

The Snowy River

Heading back

Mt Tate area

Guthega village

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dalgety Show

Growing up in Sydney we always got excited for the Easter Show. As a city boy I was fascinated by the animals and spent hours wandering around the stalls checking out the big country beasts. Being a sugar and toy obsessed young kid I also got incredibly excited about the show bags.

More recently, as an adult (of sorts), I have continued to enjoy the show even if it did mean making the trek out to Homebush.

I no longer live in the big smoke so this year there will be no Easter Show. Instead I had the pleasure of attending the amazing Dalgety Show. The Dalgety Show as the name would suggest is held in Dalgety, around half an hour from Jindabyne on the banks of the once mighty Snowy River.

The town is normally pretty dead

We arrived nice and early to take full advantage of all that was on offer. What was on offer was essentially a mini Easter Show. There were dog trials, large and well graded beasts, horses, politicians, greenies, wood choppers and a pavilion full of moderately good art, craft and vegies.

We started at the dog trials. Amazing hypo dogs chasing shit scared sheep around a pen to the sound of a high pitched whistle. Incredible stuff.

Scared shitless

At some points the dogs actually jump on top of the sheep.

This city boy was impressed. Often I can’t even get my dog to come to me let alone do this stuff.

Next we headed towards the river and checked out the animals. There was one sheep being wool graded and around two dozen cattle hanging around. The highlight for me was the birds. Chickens and ducks, primped and pomped, looking out of their cages like royalty on a throne. The winning chicken was an amazing beast that’s great girth nearly filled up its cages entirety.

Following on from the chickens we had a quick look at the horses. It was then into the pavilion. There was quite a bit going on in the pavilion; cakes, fruit, photos, some random art crochet etc… The dahlias were pretty cool.

I sat out on the pavilion veranda for a bit and took in the show. It was quite the scene, remarkable considering how dead Dalgety is normally.

We wondered back to the river to watch the wood chopping. It was nice and hot and we took a seat in the sun and watched the fellas go at it. Its funny how even with the handi-cap the crap choppers are still crap.

Walking back through the show I checked out the vintage cars. They were pretty cool. The old utes blew me away. I bet we wont be looking at modern cars in 50+ years saying how awesome the are.

To finish we checked out the quilting room. Beautiful, amazing creations. It’s almost hard to believe that these things can be put together. They should be hanging in some gallery somewhere.

And that was it. I drove around for a bit looking for the Dalgety Brewery but as usual I couldn’t find it. Peace.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Contender for wedding of the century

My good mate Matty got married to the beautiful Sam last week. It was an awesome day.

I first met Matty while living and working at Sunshine Village in Banff for the 2005/6 season. We had an awesome season riding and partying.

Matty and I bartending at a party in Canada

In the heli

With Sunshine Suzy, his beast

Since we have both returned to Oz we have stayed good mates riding the highs and lows of life.

Hiking out of Thredbo

Last season Matty and Sam came to stay with us in Jindabyne to ride the aussie alps. Their timing was perfect, they scored the best week of the season. Matty had told me before he came down that he was thinking of proposing to Sam. He ended up dropping the knee at the Lake Crackenback Resort. Sam was stoked and accepted. We met them in Thredbo for a few beers then had an awesome dinner to celebrate at the Crackenback Resort restaurant.

After the proposition, Holly, me, Matty and Sam

The wedding was organised for the first weekend of April and was held in the Hunter Valley. Holly and I left Jindy and drove to Sydney on a Friday after work. I got up for a nice early surf on Saturday morning. The waves were small and clean and the sunrise was beautiful.

We made it north to the hunter got ready and scored a lift to the wedding. It was a beautiful, although a little windy, afternoon. We had an awesome night chowing down on good food, drinking good beer and wine and dancing the night away with good mates.

Sam doing the walk

Psyching up for the service

Dancing the night away with the happy couple and some of Australia’s best underground mountain dudes

The Canadian connection, 80 wings covered in Franks Hot Sauce

...... after the wedding

Holly and I woke up bleary eyed on Sunday. Luckily we got an extra hour of sleep due to the end of day light saving. We went to a little café for breaky. They had a heap of Alpacas, amazing animals!

We went to our favorite vineyard, The Hanging Tree, and stocked up on delicious Hunter Shiraz and SSB.

Hanging Tree vineyard and rose garden.

I had taken on photo duties at other good friends, Bolz and Sam’s, wedding last year (another contender for wedding of the century). To thank us, they gave us a voucher for Doyles which we gratefully used back in Sydney on Sunday night. We went with my parents and stuffed ourselves silly on delicious fresh seafood

Mum and Dad

Holly and I

Stuffed after the feed

We spent Monday in Sydney drinking good coffee and eating Japanese food, then hit the road back to the mountains.

Holly's Birthday Week - Food, Drinks, Meat and Waves

Holly’s birthday is quite the event. Being the only girl in her family she was spoilt rotten by her olds. As we are living thousands of kilometres away from her home land, the onus falls on me to continue the spoilt rotten tradition.

This year was no exception. The event started the weekend before the big day with a trip to Canberra. I know, not the most ‘happening’ place but it was quite the change from our sleepy mountain home. We had a great dinner at a restaurant in the civic centre, Cream. The tapas taster to start was epic. We then hit the closest drinking establishment and proceeded to let out all our mid-late twenties pent up binge drinking frustration by sipping numerous beers, mixers and cocktails.

On Sunday we went shopping and again let of some steam by dropping a few dollars. After shopping we hit the Kingston markets and I went a little crazy buying produce, bread, sauces and oils. Being Canberra, I didn’t take any photos.

For the actual birthday I gave Holly her presents before work. During the day I picked up a mud cake and some flowers as well. Holly had a friend, Clare, visiting from the UK and we all went out to a local restaurant in Jindabyne.

Holly, Clare and the mud cake

The weekend after her birthday we travelled to Gerroa on the NSW South Coast. Friends and family from Sydney made the trek down. It was also my good friend Claudia’s birthday so double boo yeah.

I got up early on the first day and scored some amazing waves. It was nice to be back in the water. The surf stayed good for the whole trip. I surfed a heap of different boards from the classic 1970’s McCoy to a borrowed 5’4” mini simmons.

Some of the waves around over the weekend:

The first night we had a million beers and a good laugh. There was robust debate over Kanye Wests’ first hit song. I still reckon it is Jesus Walks but who knows.

Saturday was another big day of surfing and hanging out. We had a nice time hiding from the Southerly winds at Boneyards.

Saturday night is a big night in Gerroa. It is the night of the weekly Gerroa Boat Fishermans Club meat raffle extravaganza. Over 30 meat trays are raffled off to a hungry crowd of carnivores. The meat raffle has become a bit of a tradition when we are in town. This weekend was no exception. It was especially exciting as we had two meat raffle virgins, Dane and Claudia.

Things started off well, my cousin Pat one the very first meat tray on offer.

From there it got very tense. The numbers kept on rolling and no meat trays were forthcoming. We were giving up hope. I was putting it down to one of the worst meat raffle efforts ever.

We were down to the major prizes, huge trays of meat. Then it happened…. my number came up! And then Fee’s came up next! Not such a bad haul after all.

From the meat raffle it was back to the house. Over the years our crew has developed a bit a of a habit of dress up parties. The trend started in London a few years ago. Now some of us are hitting our 30’s but we are still going.

The theme for this night was one piece. There was some amazing outfits. I had some trouble finding my old ski one piece and had to settle for head to toe stripes using old thermals and other random ski gear. We had an awesome night dancing and drinking the night away.

The crew

Me and Dilan

Holly, I think she has always wanted to be a ballerina

My sister Soph and I

Cousin Pat

Another birthday girl, Claud, “if you want then you better put a ring on it”

Good times

We had a cleanup on Sunday morning and then hit the water. The surf was good again and we had a great time at the local left hand reef. After the surf we packed up the car and hit the road back to the mountains. Another awesome weekend :) :) :).