In a Land of Giants pt. 3

Click here if you missed Part 1, or Part 2!

It’s already seemed like forever.

From the towering Pines of Laurel Hill, surrounded by photographers and cameras -  to the isolation and darkness of the Yarrangobilly Caves. Many hours in a cramped car, whizzing by the ever changing landscape.

‘Forever’ was only the beginning. We left that snow covered valley, and set our sights on where we’d spend the rest of the week. The Snowy Mountains of NSW. 

To Jindabyne.

Now here’s a photo of me.

Why the hell did I put a photo of me? Because before you start reading the rest of this post I want you all to know that this one is a little different to parts 1 and 2. Less about blowing minds with the excitement of adventure - but more to reflect on, and bring to light the real reasons why this was a trip I cherished so much.

This post is personal, and a little bit deep.

Had you’ve read the footer to parts 1 and 2, you probably saw this coming.

“a three part series about a little bit of time spent away with two of the people I hold dearest.”

Well that’s the real reason for this trip.

There’s no denying one’s connection to nature can be an awe inspiring and incredibly humbling thing. To feel alone in the woods… or anywhere for that matter. It’s something I live for.
But something I’ve come to realise in recent months, is that life never really is complete without having a select few, to be able to share those experiences, and share those stories with. The friends and companions we have in our life are the ones who can exhibit such power on us. Of course, everyone should be willing and able to find pure joy and happiness within their own self, and own life - not needing the external pat on the backs by those around them… but oh how rich an experience, when you have someone to share it with.

I recently learned the importance of this, when one of the best friends I’ve ever had to pleasure to call one - moved away. Here is a guy who was on the same wavelength as me. Neither better, faster, stronger or smarter, but rather both willing to squeeze out the best in each other, and encourage each other in whichever way necessary in order to enrich our lives and make our dreams as far fetched as they may be, seem that little bit more fulfilled.
Him moving away however - that held weight. It wasn’t till after he was gone that I began to feel the drag of my daily life.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve got nothing to complain about either way! Life since he left was on the move and pretty great. I can never, ever complain about my day job, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge - and while I was there I met the absolute love of my life. Life plodded on, joyous and upbeat, albeit different.

The news of him coming back, probably didn’t hit me as hard as it should have, but that first little adventure we went on when he was back? Holy shit. I’d forgotten how special a thing, to have a friend.

Now onto the other end of the gender spectrum.

EDIT: This part was written whilst love reigned strong. For the sake of the written piece I’ll let what follows from here remain, however this was a romance that ultimately wasn’t meant to be. What happened? She said she loved me… I guess she forgot. You never stop loving silently the ones you once loved out loud, but for the sake of honesty - know that it is no more.

*Long story short - she’s not from where I’m from. That in itself makes life an awful lot more difficult - especially when the other person practically IS your life. This trip would be a special time. A time dedicated to building the memories that would span the oceans between us one day. It would be beautiful and encouraging - yet at the same time bittersweet. For it wouldn’t be long till those memories would have to span so far.

This would be her first trip to the snow - and her first time on a snowboard. I hoped, memories that would be so strong and joyous as to create a burning urgency in our plans to make the borders between us smaller. Though as the seconds ticked on, I knew they were ticking towards an impending goodbye.

You see, that all created an interesting mix. The bittersweet romance between me and her was countered by the joy of having a best mate who’d once departed, back again. It gave hope.

All feelings of nostalgia for something we hadn’t yet said goodbye to was trumped by the sheer excitement of one day being back again. All feelings of despair were crushed under the continual reminder that life simply will go on. All thoughts of love ending - conquered - by the understanding that there is no goodbye, only see you later.*

So here we are. Myself, and two people I dearly love. After all, what would humans be without Love? 

RARE” reckons Terry Pratchett’s ‘Death’.

Now back to the adventure at hand.

The road from Yarrangobilly to Jindabyne was a fairly familiar one, once we were past Cooma.
A quick stop at Adaminaby and the big fish, and we were well on our way.

There was an awful lot of excitement as we neared Jindabyne… At least for Rhys and myself. Eleanor was probably wondering what the big deal was, as the slopes themselves had to wait another day, and was a good half an hour further than Jindabyne where we were staying.

Anyone who’s been to Lake Jindabyne - you know the excitement.

The winding road, the familiar bush.
The crest over the hill - and the lake beyond.

Jindabyne is a sleepy, yet special town. Sitting high above where it once lay, the flooded city sits at the bottom of the lake created by the dam. Character. And a special place to call home for the next several nights.

Of course the trip to the snow wasn’t just the three of us. A larger handful of friends from my workplace and beyond would all congregate in a MEGA AirBnB in East Jindabyne. We dumped our stuff, said hello to the resident Black Labrador, and set off for the town center to get Eleanor’s snow stuff.

Now there was a sight that made me smile. Nuggets Crossing. The charming little “second” town center of Jindabyne. Mindlessly browsing through the stores had almost become a ritual of ours in Jindabyne… usually ending in too much of our tax return spent on gear we’d use once a year…. but it was awesome.

We were too late to the party to join the others at a Mexican joint in Jindabyne for dinner - so instead made use of the time to fulfill another one of Rhys and I’s Jindabyne rituals.

Mario’s Mineshaft.

The quaint yet surprisingly large venue, with the pretty waitresses (sorry Eleanor) and creepy owner (sorry Mario) that always had at least a couple televisions playing Art of Flight on repeat, is a staple amongst Australian snowy weekend warriors. We were there for a week… and we went often enough to prove it.

This time we all kept our food down (Rhys you know what i’m talking about) and made back to the house, where we’d hang out with the gang, relax by the fire - and get stoked for the snow the next day.


Not ideal when you want snow.

Nonetheless, it was a good first day. Nice and early in the lift line, and not as wet as we thought up top. The stickier snow gave us a better speed to get our snow legs back before the temperature dropped that afternoon. It also gave us a nasty reminder as to how we hadn’t done the exercise we knew we should have done before diving head first into a solid week of pumping turns. Probably not the best first experience of snow to the resident newbies as well! (Eleanor being one of them.)

No one tossed and turned that first night.

Day 2. 0827 hrs.

First lifts are going. Up we go.

One spur of the moment turn down a not so mainstream run and all of a sudden we were boot deep in the good stuff.

The temperatures dropping overnight, and the snow falling low, meant the next three days on the slopes would be a time to remember.

I couldn’t be more proud of the two girls who’s first time it was on the slopes, and especially Eleanor. These guys admittedly picked it up quicker than I did, and braver too.

Like, they were on their feet the whole time!

Seriously, they were naturals! Hardly fell at all.

Heh. Sorry girls, but welcome to the world of learning to snowboard! Really, you did well.

The next days on the snow I generally kept the camera away. Firstly I wasn’t super keen on squashing it under my back, but I also wanted to focus on riding the incredible terrain that the Australian snow has to offer. The flora and fauna around here is so unique. Snow gums with arms that try grab you, the huge granite boulders above the tree line - and off course the odd wombat or kangaroo if you’re lucky.

My favorite part of being on those slopes were probably the times where we’d pause on a run where there’s no one around - and the silence that followed. The air so still, and the snow absorbing all the sound… it was so peaceful, yet powerful.

One afternoon proved to be particularly special. An impulse decision down a dirt road to Thredbo Diggings campsite lead to one of  the purest examples of the kind of joy, and light hearted wonder, travelling with friends can bring. Throwing rocks across a river (because someone couldn’t skip them), wandering through tall grass, and standing in amongst one of the most beautiful valleys i’ve ever seen.

Good temps and fresh cover each day lent to an amazing several days on the snow - but as always, soon came time to go home. 

Not before one last wander down to the lake, and oh boy did the Snow Mountains put on a show to farewell us goodbye, and till next time.

This whole journey had been a moving experience in itself. From the giant pines of Laurel Hill, to the giant valleys on the journey between. Here we are at the end of the trip, engulfed, embraced, by a giant, powerful love. The love of these giants I have the privilege to call my friends.

Love you both, to the moon and back.


This post is the finale of a three part series about a little bit of time spent away with two of the people I hold dearest. Cramped car trips, smelly snowboard boots.
Snow covered valleys, crisp mountain air.
A time, a memory; a story to be told.

Click here if you missed Part 1
Click here if you missed Part 2

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Stay tuned for more blog posts and shots. Behind the scenes shoot, talks about gear and of course - wicked trips away.

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