A dark o'clock departure was arranged, there were to be 7 of us on the journey with a mini rendezvous at Wanniassa then a full rendezvous occuring at Jindabyne. A few caches were found between Cooma and Jindabyne. Introductions were made, caching names were swapped, promptly forgotten but I think I managed to keep real names locked into short-term memory (Is that right Wall ?).
We boarded the Chairlift at 10:15 after noting the weather observations that stated that the wind-chill at the top would give us a lovely minus 1 degree C. The chairlift was quick and we watched with interest the steady stream of mountain-bikers loading their bikes on the lifts and heading up the mountain. When we arrived at the top, that wind was blowing very strongly and was in our face. It meant we all had to walk with one hand propped on our heads keeping said hats in place. Interesting how there were quite a few signs stating that the distance to the top was 6.5 k but these signs were spread literally over some 700 metres. Me thinks the new metal path is slightly straighter than the old path.
We stopped at the first lookout, photos were snapped, some more layers of clothing were put on, some snacks were snacked and we continued. Lots of running Spring water and a very interesting glacial sculptured landscape. The Snowy River could be admired in the distance as we stepped across the tiny streams that would be feeding it.
Next stop was Rawson's Pass were many of the group got to try out the highest loos in Australia and remarked upon the dungeon like doors that protected ones privacy. The final ascent was made with half of it being out of the biting wind, but funnily enough, the other half was in full contact with the gale. We could see smoke from fires burning in what would be very harsh terrain but my understanding was that they were controlled burns. The RFS part of me though that they did look a tad out of control.
Finally made it to the top where there was a decent crowd gathered, most on the lee-side of the mountain. The nearby traditional geocache was easily found because there were 2 newbie cachers busy writing their names in the log-book. I guess they didn't use much paper, judging by the length of their on-line log. Information was gathered for the corresponding Earthcache then we hunkered down for some serious lunching. Very impressed by Robyn and Damian whipping out the techology and boiling up a cuppa. I realised that if I sat down too long I would never move my knees again.
The walk back was easier with the wind and gravity mainly on our side (though the walk down goes up and bowls) but my knees did find downwards a tad hard. The group then headed off track for another cache that was 500m as the crow flies but after a couple of hundred metres I decided to turn around and would meet the group at the bottom. There are a few vertigo moments coming down the chairlift but the lower you go, the less the wind was chilling and by the bottom, it was time to do some unzipping and sleeve rolling.
I treated myself to a very nice coffee and sat watching the bikers go up and the walkers come down. Soon the group was reunited and we headed off to do the new caches that had been recently hidden in the village by a friend who had navigated the complicated bureacratic rules of getting caches published in a National Park. Some more kilometres were walked (humour me folks - it seemed like another marathon) and then we were done. A few caches in Jindabyne and near Cooma and we were done. Thanks Guys and Gal, was truly a magic day and the company contributed to that. Thanks Waldo for organising and thanks Danny for driving (and the Kit-Kat).