Later this month, Huw Kingston will leave on his Alpine Odyssey, a winter crossing of the full length of the Australian Alps Walking Track. As he gets close to the start date, here is an update.
Just this morning, on a very windy and cloudy day, I shouldered a rather large pack and skied away from the Victorian resort of Mt Baw Baw. Next stop Mt Stirling/Mt Buller in about 2 weeks. Finally I’m on my way!
There’s been a lot of talk, a lot of talk. Sometimes it is nice to quietly slip into the mountains but when you set fundraising goals for such an important project, you have to make a bit of noise. But I’m looking forward to getting into the mountains now. Looking forward to it but also missing Wendy already, who hugged me on my way just now. I remain the luckiest man in the world. And hey, it’s ‘only’ a month until we meet up in Thredbo!
Before every big trip there is a bit of nervousness, a sense of what will the mountains throw at you, but it’s great to be on the way. On Friday I skied at Lake Mountain, the first of the dozen snow resorts, but my time there was so important for another reason. With thanks to the Taungurung Land & Waters Council, I was honoured to be given a Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country. My hours with Taungurung Elder, Uncle Shane, taught much and offered strength and acceptance for the undoubted challenges ahead. Uncle Shane and I also discussed everything from the regathering of stories in the Alpine country, the links these stories have to mobs as far away as the Central Deserts, the plight of the Bogong moth, reconciliation and the endless uses of a possum cloak. I know nothing but I know a little bit more.
Ah the madness of the weeks before a major journey. Here at my Snowy Mountains hideaway, I’m surrounded by piles of equipment, food and other supplies. It will be good to get started and, as always, the tinge of nervousness and excitement as to what lies ahead.
Always too, the wish you could get more vertical – up and down – on the snow. I’ve not done too bad since getting back from the UK a few weeks ago, with a few overnights out on the range testing gear and enjoying a pack on my back, a few skates on the trails and a few days inbound at the resorts, including one last week chasing a couple of my grandkids down the Thredbo slopes.
Thanks to the generosity of so many people, we’re already over halfway to reaching my $50,000 target for Our Yarning, a wonderful project that produces books for Indigenous Australian children, written and illustrated by Indigenous authors and illustrators, telling their stories, stories that are so important to retain in Australian culture.
If you can help with the fundraising, all details here https://our-yarning-save-the-children-huw-kingston-fundraiser.raisely.com/
As well as general donations, people have been ‘buying’ their favourite snow resorts or alpine mountains for the fundraising. Already most of the NSW resorts have been snapped up (Thredbo even bought themselves!) as well as the Big One – in height and price – Mount Kosciuszko. The Victorian real estate is moving a little slower but hopefully this will pick up as I move through the Victorian Alps. Purchasers even get issued a Title Deed for a Good Deed!
IMAGE: Huw enjoying some recent turns on The Ramshead. Photo: Mark Watson (plus the header image is from Mark).
Don’t forget we’re very happy to accept ‘offers’ for your favourite place in the alpine country – a mountain perhaps, a lake, a high country hut even. Already Mount Jagungal has gone, Blue Lake too and contracts are out for The Ramsheads!
Alpine Odyssey kicks off for real on Friday 29 July with a cross country ski at Victoria’s Lake Mountain resort, up above Marysville, where the Taungurung traditional owners plan to send me on my way with a Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country. I’ll pass through the lands of some nine traditional owner groups on my journey, and Taungurung country includes the resorts of Lake Mountain, Mt Stirling, Mt Buller, Hotham and Mt Buffalo and a swathe of my route along the Great Dividing Range where their boundary aligns with Gurnaikurnai country.
I’ll launch Thredbo’s Environment Week by giving a talk there on the evening of Monday 25 July on Alpine Odyssey and some of my environmental work. All are welcome, it’s free, you even get a free drink too, as well as a chance to win some North Face gear. Details at https://www.thredbo.com.au/events/2022/environment-week/.
Keeping to the sustainability theme, my wife Wendy and I will set off from Thredbo the following morning, headed to Victoria in a beautiful (and fully loaded!) Hyundai Ioniq 5 AWD electric vehicle, kindly loaned by Hyundai Australia. We’ll drop some gear at Mt Beauty, Mansfield/Mt Buller, do a few things in Melbourne before heading to Marysville and Lake Mountain.
After skiing Lake Mountain, we will head across to Mount Baw Baw to ski the resort slopes there, before I farewell Wendy, shoulder the big pack and set off into the mountains on Sunday 31 July. Next stop, next hot shower Mount Stirling and Mount Buller some 2 weeks later!
When do I expect to reach the various snow resorts? Obviously everything totally depends on weather, health and more, but my outline schedule has me at Marysville/Lake Mountain 28-29 July, Mt Baw Baw 29-31 July, Mt Stirling 12 Aug, Mt Buller 13-14 Aug, Mt Hotham & Dinner Plain 20-22 Aug, Falls Creek & Mt Buffalo 24-27 Aug, Thredbo 2-4 Sept, Charlotte Pass 6-7 Sept, Perisher 8-9 Sept, Mt Selwyn 14 Sept.
Sadly Mt Selwyn, destroyed by the Black Summer fires, won’t be reopening this winter as originally planned. It is more than ironic that the early snowfalls of this winter stopped construction in its tracks and prevented the rebuild being completed. I still intend to ski up and down the Selwyn slopes in celebration of what will be Australia’s newest snow resort, risen from the ashes.
Finally a request. There is some filming going on along the journey undertaken by me and others. Might need a couple of other videographers based in the Alps who might be interested to carry out some filming. If that’s you then drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full details on Alpine Odyssey at www.huw kingston.com/alpine-odyssey with the Fundraising page at https://our-yarning-save-the-children-huw-kingston-fundraiser.raisely.com/