A few days ago we went camping at Pretty Valley in the Alpine National Park. In the winter the area is covered in snow and the resort village of Falls Creek which is a little bit further down the mountain is very busy. Actually it was pretty busy this time with lots of runners and mountain bikers making use of the numerous trails.
We managed to find an awesome spot near one of the many huts and had the place to ourselves. It was just for the night as it was T’s (23 months) first time. He seemed to like it; he was the last one up in the morning! We took our small tent which I shared with the kids and Martin had his swag. I’ve never had any trouble taking the kids away with me as I’ve co-slept with them both (currently T is in with me at night and J is in with Martin in another room although she does sometimes sleep in her own room when she feels like it), so if I’m there with them, they’ll sleep anywhere which is great. We set up camp and did some exploring. The kids climbed rocks and trees. We followed the sound of running water to find a little gully. The scenery is beautiful and eerie at the same time – bushfires ravaged most of the mountain around 12 years ago and almost all of the taller trees are dead, bare skeletons. From a distance it looks as if the mountain is covered in little grey hairs.
In the late afternoon we went down to the nearby pondage and threw a few lines in but were unsuccessful. The kids and I left Martin to it and headed back to camp. While we were waiting, lots of very dark clouds rolled by and there was thunder echoing around the hills but luckily we only got a light shower for around 10 minutes or so and then the sun was back out. J and T did some watercolour paintings. J did two contrasting pictures – one is of a sunny day and the other is of lightening coming down and her taking shelter in the tent. T was very happy with his picture, an enthusiastic “ta da!” while he held it up. In the evening J played her harmonica while we sat by the fire.
J took her ‘adventure backpack’ with her. For her third birthday she got a proper backpack (child-sized) with some specimen collection jars, a magnifying jar, binoculars, and a clipboard with paper and pen in it. She has also since been given a handheld magnifier that she keeps in it as well. She was looking at birds with the binoculars and lichen with the magnifier, and she collected some bits and pieces plus some bugs in the jars.
We visited a rock formation called ‘Ruined Castle’ where J spent some time making a sculpture from the pieces of broken basalt and T climbed and sat on the “big rocks”. It was so great to see the kids enjoying themselves so much. They were busy the whole time climbing or exploring or collecting. J didn’t want to go home!