Monday, January 23, 2012

Kosciuszko National Park--and the final push HOME!

We continued our northeasterly inward trek to Kosciuszko National Park, home of Australia's highest mountain (Mt. Kosciuszko). Living in Colorado makes a person a bit snobbish about mountains, so this mountain is somewhat laughable--at 7,310 feet, it is approximately the same elevation as Colorado's town of Estes Park.  Still, it was beautiful winding our way through the hills and over dams to reach our no-cost (again, score!) campsite at Three Mile Dam.
After a stormy night, we packed up our campsite for the last time on this trip (hurray!).  The older boys have now become tent masters, finally by the last day able to break down their tent in record time without even a hint of arguing (not the case in the previous tries, and Jackson has a scratch by his eye to prove it).

We had chosen this campsite for its proximity to the Yarrangobilly Caves, so we headed there in the morning on our way out of town.  A brief but steep downhill hike led us to thermal pools, which was a welcome break and a great way to get us all a bit cleaner after the days of camping.  I had been weary of looking at my grubby kids and knowing I looked the same.
The pool stays warm year-round due to water seeping through porous rocks down 800m below the Earth's surface, where it is heated and forced back up as a warm spring.  The water wasn't warm per se, but it was pleasant and refreshing on a hot day.
Sam upstaging Alex
Sam defying gravity as Alex cannonballs

Then it was time to head to the cave.  The walk there was beautiful in itself.



the aptly-named Glory Hole
We did the self-guided tour, and it was awesome to explore the wondrous sights beneath the Earth's surface with my family.



As we emerged from the darkness, Alex said it was the coolest experience he's ever had in nature.

Then we were off in the car, all anxious to sleep in our own beds that night.  Between hearty naps for the boys and listening to some audio books, the drive was less than torturous.  The New South Wales park office worker that I had spoken with a couple of weeks before had told me about Robertson Pie Shop, a landmark in Robertson, NSW that we would pass on the way home.  I had told the boys about it, and Kenyon asked approximately 5,782 times when we would have pie, was it time for pie, what sort of pie would we be getting, was this the town for pie...you get the picture.

We rolled into Robertson at 6pm, the perfect time to pick up some takeaway savory pies as well as sweet pies.

Sam, Jackson, and Kenyon chose cherry, Alex chose apple, and I chose apple with wildberry...all had fresh whipped cream inside.  It was a great feeling to walk back into our condo and celebrate with a sweet reward for the previous couple of week's effort.

It was a long, good trip, chock full of sights, experiences, and challenges...now we're all ready to have some downtime and recharge before school starts on January 30.

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