In late May 2012, Trevor and I went down to Canberra and did all the touristy stuff that you do when you’re in the nation’s capital…and had a spare day, so I suggested that we go down to the Snowy Mountains because I was keen to show him the place where my family’s camped every Easter for years.
Here was me thinking it would be an easy drive down, a sunny day to explore around Island Bend Damn – out on the Guthega Road, for the uninitiated – and head back to Canberra in the afternoon. Well, it started out like that, at least.
Then, things got weird. We were driving across the Island Bend air strip when it started to snow. I’d never seen that before. Then, as we headed up to Perisher, it started getting heavier. And heavier. Then, it was a blizzard. Trevor had never seen snow before, so he thought it was pretty cool, and I was amazed at the ferocity of the blizzard in May.
(Snowfall at that time of the year isn’t unheard of, but it’s not a regular thing, either. 2012 was a strange year. It snowed on the Tuesday after Easter, too. I remember leaving the campsite, driving up towards Rennix Gap, and it was white everywhere.)
Our plans to drive to Charlotte’s Pass and go for a walk there were scuttled by the snow, so we went around to Thredbo – it was actually snowing on the Kosciusko Road below Wilson’s Valley on the way back from Perisher – and, unfortunately, the strong winds followed, closing the chairlift before we could get on. Although, maybe that was a blessing in disguise. If they close that chair, you know it’s pretty bad up top.
Even though we didn’t have proper snow gear with us – as you can see in the photos, we basically threw on every layer of clothing available, and it pretty much did the trick – we managed to stay warm and dry, even if we weren’t going to win any fashion contests. We settled for some food and a snowy walk along the Merritt’s Nature Trail instead.
Considering the ski season was still a few weeks’ away from commencing properly, it was amazing to see so much snow covering the resorts. I’ve seen a lot of blizzards and snowfalls in my life, but this one, coming so soon after a dumping just after Easter, was particularly amazing.
We drove back to Canberra in the early afternoon, stopping for an excellent dinner at the Central Cafe in Queanbeyan – if you haven’t been, you should definitely go – to tap off quite an amazing day.