|On top of Australia!|
|Smoke-covered mountain ranges at sunrise|
|One of the great views along the hike|
|The path winding upwards... with a bird soaring somewhere up in the sky.|
|Sun rising just as we pass the tree level.|
|Amazing views and ambiance.|
|The very top of Australia.|
Apart from the Kosciuszko trail, which is very well-maintained, there is a narrow path to Mount Townsend, the #2 peak. The scrambling on the top of that peak is a bit challenging if you are not used to bouldering, so do not attempt if you have not practiced prior to this. Same goes for Rams head that's one of the peaks I did not attempt this time. The rest of the peaks can be reached without paths, by walking across the thick alpine vegetation, stony areas, rivers and brooks, and some snow. To save weight and luggage, I did not bring my hiking boots, and relied only on trail running shoes, so my feet took a bit of a beating by the terrain and thick vegetation while reaching the summits. Since my friend was waiting, I tried to be very fast, making way as quickly as I could, and the running shoes made that easier.
|Eye-catching boulder formations near the summit of Mount Townsend|
Given a bit of time and planning, I could consider summitting all 10 highest in one day, but that would require another trip to here as well as a bit more preparation. Until then, I'll be happy with five 2000+ m peaks on just one Christmas Eve.
|All good for today!|
However, just a few days later, the areas near Kosciuszko Range were burning. Happy I had a chance to be there before, but very saddened by the horrible fires that engulf Australia at the moment. The effect on nature, animals and people is incredible and it's heartbreaking to see. What we can do about it depends on what you are prepared to do as an individual - donate, volunteer, or actively demand changes in climate politics. Just make sure you do something.
|Screendump from emergency.vic.gov.au - showing the fires all around the mountain range, even starting at Dead Horse Gap just in Thredbo.|