A Snow First

With Fletcher’s 4th birthday looming my wife, Amanda, and I thought we would stretch out the celebrations over the whole weekend. With good snow reports over the past month we planted the seed that it would be great fun to go on a trip to the snow. Coincidently he decided the week of his birthday that a trip to the snow would be a good idea.

The original plan was to head to Mt Donna Buang, but it unfortunately didn’t have a good snow report for the weekend, so we changed our plans last minute and headed up to Lake Mountain. We were not disappointed. It took a little longer to get there from Lilydale, about 1.5 hours and it cost $56.00 just to pass through to the car park. As we closed in on the car park though we started to see the mounds of snow on the side of the road, which got the kids (and us) pretty excited. Not having ever seen snow Fletch commented that it looked a lot like sand and Immy just kept repeating “Snow. Snow!”.

The place was really well organized with parking assistants’ and shuttle buses to the summit, but we didn’t leave the car park for some time as the kids took off to play in the snow piled up around the perimeter. The kids faces when seeing and touching the snow for the first time was priceless and worth the trip, and price just to see the carpark snow. Fletch went about digging through the snow getting a good feel for it and Immy, who was dressed to the point of almost immovability just kept yelling “SNOW! YAY!”

Snow 1

Car Park Snow!                           The Michelin Baby

It’s been about 10 years since Amanda and I were last at the snow and I had completely forgotten how cold it can get. I know, silly thing to say, but the few times I had been to the snow it was bright and sunny. This day was windy, overcast and sometimes raining, so like I said it was super cold! Thankfully we had invested in some decent snow gear and we had some friends who lent us some of their kid’s gear. Poor Immy though was a bit wet and cold by the end, as her borrowed snow suit was a bit short in the legs.

Our main dilemma was what to take up to the summit. We didn’t get a park at the top car park and didn’t want to lug around all our gear, so we had to choose wisely about what to take. In hindsight we could have taken a lot more than we did, more than the nappies and some spare clothes. It would have been nice to take more snack food for the kids as there was not a great deal of choice from the café, which was always packed and outrageously expensive. As we walked back to the bus we noticed a room where there were lockers and a place to have an indoor picnic. All Amanda and I could do was just look at each other and laugh. Now we know for next time. Idiots!

Upon arrival to the summit we headed straight for the first toboggan slope. It seemed really busy, but once you got moving to the top of the slope it was easy to pick a spot to fly down. We only got a couple of runs in before Fletch decided he wanted to make a snowman, which was to Immy’s disgust as she wanted to keep doing the toboggan. We moved to the side in between the two main slopes and played in the snow for a while before going to the second toboggan slope.

This slope was much better, fewer people and much smoother and faster run. In saying this we only got one run down as Fletch got distracted on the way back up and wanted to play in the snow again, this time in the bushland area off the path. This was great as it was covered in soft fresh snow, unlike anything I’ve even seen. We played and explored in there for quite a while, with Fletch wandering around looking at the small streams of snow runoff and hunting for treasure. Immy on the other hand was getting restless, not being able to use her hands in the mittens and starting to get a little wet and very cold. We decided to head back to the packed café to warm up and change her clothes.

The heaters in the café along the walls were prime property, but I found Amanda perfectly positioned with Immy sitting on top of the heaters warming up. I didn’t dare ask how she managed to get the best spot, all I know there is no coming between a mother and her children’s health. After warming and freshening up we figured we should give the toboggans another crack since we had hired them. Immy was pumped and couldn’t get up the slope quick enough, Fletch was the opposite. Being a true Dad I did not want to walk back down the slope after slipping and sliding all the way up, so I loaded him up and we went down the slope with him cracking it the whole way down.  I kept reassuring him that this was heaps of fun, even though we kept getting stuck in all the huge undulations, but when we got to the bottom he looked at me with disapproving eyes and said deadpan “that was not fun”. He was right the slope had degraded and people were all getting stuck like us.

snow stuck

Amanda and Immy stuck after following us down

So we left the slopes and headed back into the bushland where we trudged through the deep snow, exploring through the trees and over the logs looking for mammoths and dragons. Of course Fletch made a path through some of the tightest cluster of trees that had me crawling and squeezing through to follow him because I had to see everything he discovered. At one point, after contorting myself to get through some trees, I looked up and couldn’t see him. I tried to turn as best I could wrapping myself around the trees and logs like a weird game of Nature Twister. I hear Fletch who is standing five metres away in the clearing where we started and saying, “c’mon Daddy hurry up”. [SIGH] Should have stayed where I was!

snow 2

Fletch wanting to go back into the trees…I didn’t follow this time

We did get down the other slope one more time each, but we quickly realised it was getting time to leave. We stopped at the café and got some takeaway food (2 x Sausage Rolls and 1 x Pie = $20). We got back to the car changed the kids clothes and headed home.

So what did we learn from our first outing to the snow.

  1. Get Immy some of her own snow clothes so she is properly protected.
  2. Bring heaps of snack food and lunch to eat at the indoor picnic area or one of the outdoor tables. Food prices up there are crazy and not very healthy!
  3. Buy toboggans when they are on special at Aldi next. We hired at Marysville for $10 each, which was a really good price, but I believe Aldi sell them for a similar price so in one trip they could be paid for.
  4. Only stay for about 2-2.5 hours. All day we saw parents encouraging their kids “c’mon let’s toboggan one more time” the kids reply with tears freezing on their cheeks “I don’t want to I just want to go home”. I chuckled and thought we would never push our kids like that, the poor kids. So we ended up leaving after 3 hours with the kids crying with exhaustion and hunger. Hmmm oops.
  5. Go back again, make the most of the snow so close to home. We want to explore other places too like Mt Donna Buang and maybe Baw Baw.

The weekends are getting away from us in the next couple of months, but we might be able to squeeze one more trip to the snow before it all washes away.

 

The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below.

www.instagram.com/josh.duthie

The Tentative First

I still look back on this trip as one of the most memorable for a couple of reasons. It was our first proper outing and night away with our first born, Fletcher, who was only about 4 weeks old at the time. Also, it was our good friends’ wedding and if not for this we would probably never have left our little nest we created at home. Looking back I’m glad we did as it kicked off the “Adventures of Duth”.

We were getting some serious cabin fever in those first few weeks, whether we knew it or not.  The only occasion we left the home, which wasn’t to the supermarket, was when I left in an ambulance and Fletch and my wife visited me in hospital. The injury story is too long, but let me just say it made my wife’s life a huge amount harder having to now look after me and a new born baby (I think hard to say who was the more difficult, my wife says there was a clear winner).

Thankfully though this wedding was looming, although I admit with us being exhausted as first time parents and recovering from an injury the thought of leaving seemed too hard. However, with the grandparents and some of their friends waiting for us in Sorrento, all looking forward to babysitting, we packed our bag and three bags for Fletch and off we went. Exhaustion aside, we were excited to be getting out to show off our boy to all our friends and of course for the wedding especially as my wife was one of the Bridesmaids and myself as the MC.

When we got there and settled in to the accommodation we quickly made a new nest and we relaxed. Lucky for me the day of the wedding was pretty easy, tracking back and forth to my wife so Fletch could breastfeed, all as she was primped and polished. This gave me a full day of walking through Sorrento to take in the place. First thing I sense is how zen and peaceful the place is, much like your typical beach town. The sun was out warming us all, steaming off those later than normal Winter chills and giving everyone a sneak peek at what to expect for the rest of Spring. Herhmm, sorry got a little poetic there.

Maybe this is why the locals seemed really relaxed though, all very happy to stop and chat as they came out to enjoy the weather. I will insert a caveat here, I admit it was more than the weather that coaxed people to stop to chat, having a weird cast on my arm and newborn bub in the pram made for an easy icebreaker and won a lot of people over. I’m a pretty chatty person anyway and I certainly made the most of the attention that was coming our way. Honestly, if I had a puppy too I think the trifecta (including newborn and injury) would have instigated some Beatle-like mania, such was the unaccustomed attention.

The wedding itself was on a secluded beach, just out of town, which was lined with beach boxes making for a beautiful setting. I kept thinking it would be a great quiet spot to return to with the family for a day at the beach. The reception after was held at The Baths, a great spot for the newlyweds with the jetty just out the front for those sunset over the water shots. I have to admit it did look pretty amazing.

The day after, it was nice to have my wife back to explore the town. We walked to the ferry dock and along the waterfront, the weather was perfect, so we played on the beach for a little while before we headed back into town. We met up with the in-laws and stopped at a few shops, one in particular is stuck in my mind with its funky garden sculptures and interior decorating pieces.

Sorrento Funky.jpg

Shop Front

All in all only a fleeting visit, one that seemed rushed with both of us exhausted and me pumping endone tablets, so Sorrento has left me feeling that the visit was unfinished. Hence,  it will have to go onto the to do list to visit again and this time we will plan it so we can simply meander around, explore the surrounding areas and stop at that secluded beach with the beach boxes.

Fletch first month

Fletcher’s first month

The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below.

www.instagram.com/josh.duthie