Brian got online to look for a place to stay and found us a lovely chalet at Lake Crackenback in the Snowy Mountains. A bustling mecca for skiers in the winter, the resort in summer was full of families and couples looking to explore the many walking trails of the high country.
We're not ones to make big plans for ringing in the new year (or even stay up till midnight for that matter) but Brian wanted to do something special while we were in the mountains. So, on January 1st he got up at 4am to drive back to Charlotte Pass and make the 18 kilometer journey to the summit of Mt. Kosciuszko and back.
Those of you who know Brian won't be at all surprised by his decision to take on a hike to the tallest peak in Australia in the wee hours of the morning, but even I was surprised that he ran the whole trail and completed what is usually a six hour return hike in only three hours and was back in time for breakfast and checkout.
I was worried that the boys might not like the cave, get really bored or worse, really scared once inside. My fears were unfounded though as they tolerated the cave tour really well. Riker didn't especially like all the water dripping from the stalactites and Ari needed to be carried part of the way, but other than that we had a great time.
After our cave tour, we decided to visit the park's thermal pools thinking that a quick dip would tire the boys out enough to ensure they would both sleep all the way back to Canberra. This was an excellent plan except that the path to the pools was nearly a kilometer long and involved a long steep descent. The pools were not particularly warm (though they would be in winter) and Ari cried the whole way up the steep ascent back to the car. At another time of day, this might have been fun but we wish we'd been warmed about the steep hill at the visitor center!
As much as we've loved our many recent trips to the beach, this trip reminded both of us how much we love the mountains and crisp alpine air!