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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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sense of place

Fire Haiku

These haiku were written in the days weeks and months following the fires that devastated much of eastern Australia.

They are my personal response to the loss and the ensuing grief. A loss and grief that still exist a year later, a loss and grief l am not alone in experiencing.

Indeed these feelings seem to have permeated the psyche of those of us, not only living in the bush, but those of us that value the rivers, the birds, trees…

It’s not the loss of material, it’s the loss of something so much bigger.

It’s the tearing, and fraying of the connection to the land, to place.

It’s the changed ecosystem.

The green of the epicormia, what does it signal?

Recovery? Defined as a return to a normal state. I think not.

Hope? Perhaps.

Change..? Definitely.

 

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‘Mountain Gazette’ gets another life

I can’t remember when I first discovered Mountain Gazette magazine. Somewhere in the distant past. The last time I found it ‘in the wild’ was in a mountain hut above Breckenridge in Colorado a couple of years ago, where old copies had been left by backcountry skiers and riders. MG was an inspiration for this website. I always loved its quirky and idiosyncratic take on ‘mountain life’. After a long absence, MG is finally back in print and the first edition (# 194) is wonderful.

The magazine started its life in 1966 as the Skiers Gazette. It morphed into Mountain Gazette, stopped production in 1979, then was reborn in 2000 and ran until 2012. Now, Mike Rogge has purchased the magazine and given it a new, new life. And it’s gorgeous.

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A chat with Jakob Kennedy

Jakob Kennedy is a content producer and nature enthusiast. He is currently involved in the development of a film called Awaken, which follows adventurers on three continents as they come to terms with the growing impact of climate change on the places they love. 

Jakob says “other than my clear love for snowboarding, it is nature, the experiences she provides and the inevitable lessons that are the reason I’m still doing this. So to be involved with a project that honours the value of these moments, by raising awareness to the importance of maintaining said environment, is a sure highlight in my career.

We only get one world and we only get one life do our best to care for it”.

The full version of the film will be released this January. You can see the trailer here.

Mountain Journal caught up with Jakob to find out about what the project and what inspires him. You can read the interview here.

Winter of The Little Things

I don’t know about you, but I’m a winter person. I daydream about snow through summer, sneak off to the mountains in autumn to get that sense of oncoming winter, and once the snow arrives, I’m there. My New Year’s Eve is the end of the ski season. Having New Years in the middle of endless summer heat never made sense to me, but the end of the season, when thousands start to head off the mountains and quiet returns, really marks the end of the year for me.

Like other snow addicts I anxiously check the season outlook. Those big falls in May and early June gave me hope for a good season in 2020, in spite of the fact that we just had two great winters and three in a row was going to be pushing our luck. 

Then came lockdown 1 and 2, the closure of the VIC resorts, and a pretty ‘uninspiring’ winter.

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Walking the Mountains of Home – Kurrunganner /Mt Bride

Community members from Warburton in the Upper Yarra Valley have been attempting to stop the proposed logging coupes on and surrounding Mt Bride.

They say that “logging this area will reduce water security as the proposed coupes are within water catchment areas and it has long been recognised that logging has a negative impact on water yield”.

They also say that the coupes will increase fire risk, “as the micro climatic conditions will dry out the understory and the regrowth saplings will create more fuel”.

Some locals have been holding an annual ‘Walking the Mountains of Home’ journey up the local peaks. The Upper Yarra is blessed with gorgeous forested hills that rise steeply from the River. This tradition is about deepening connection to place and been happening for half a decade: ‘On the morning of each pilgrimage, we began by visiting the Yarra where everyone collected a river stone. We each carried our small token to the summit. Over the years, we are very slowly shaping a cairn. This is a place we visit annually, to remember the long legacy of love of this place by the first peoples, and to renew our commitment to learning about and caring for this country into the future’.

This year, because of the threat posed by the logging, the walk climbed Kurrunganner /Mt Bride. Local Maya Ward reports:

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News from home

I feel lucky to be living in a small country town, with a Parks Vic reserve in the gully below us, and endless opportunities for walking and MTB riding. It’s been a mild and gorgeous autumn so far, with a good bit of rain. I’m keeping in touch with friends, family and workmates (although feel that I now spend most of my life in Zoom meetings) and I feel grateful to have a safe place to be during the pandemic.

But cabin fever is setting in. Its Easter, but we need to stay home and not travel for adventures (and the alpine parks are closed). We really don’t know what will happen with ski season – will it happen at all, or will it start late? (There are growing conversations about a ‘delayed’ ski season rather than an outright cancellation). Will the national parks be open if the resorts are closed? What about backcountry huts? So many unknowns. All we can do is wait. Be patient. Watch some films and read some stuff, and be kind to each other.

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Mountain Journal highlights – March 2020

This summer it was all about fires. Then, as the mountains started to open up and the weather cooled down, along came the Coronavirus, and things are locked down again.

Here is the monthly summary of key stories that have been featured on Mountain Journal. Enjoy.

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Walking the Mountains of Home – protect Mt Bride

Community members from Warburton are attempting to stop the proposed logging coupes on and surrounding Mt Bride.

They say that “logging this area will reduce water security as the proposed coupes are within water catchment areas and it has long been recognised that logging has a negative impact on water yield”. The mountain has great value to many locals for a range of reasons.

To highlight community concern about the imminent logging plans, they have organised a walk up the mountain which is open to all interested people. It will happen on March 21.

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‘The Rainforests are burning’

In 2016 and 2019, large areas of Tasmania were burnt by wild fires, including vegetation that is normally too moist to burn. Last year it happened in rainforests on the Lamington Tablelands in south east Queensland. It is a highly unusual event for these areas to burn, but one that appears to be occurring more frequently in recent times. Now the same thing is happening in northern New South Wales.

This loss and destruction of ancient fire sensitive ecosystems is heartbreaking. Sending much love and solidarity to our friends in the North who are facing these terrible fires.

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From Targangal (Kosciuszko) to Bilgalera (Fisheries Beach). Mapping the Bundian Way.

There has long been discussion about the trail that once linked the south eastern coast of NSW to the Snowy Mountains. It is called the Bundian Way. Prior to the invasion, Indigenous people moved between the coast, the Monaro Tablelands and the higher mountains. Nowdays called the Bundian Way, this route is a historical pathway between Targangal (Kosciuszko) and Bilgalera (Fisheries Beach) that connects the highest part of the Australian continent and the coast.

There is a book that explores the Bundian Way, called On Track: searching out the Bundian Way written by John Blay. Now the route has been mapped and can be found online.

Continue reading “From Targangal (Kosciuszko) to Bilgalera (Fisheries Beach). Mapping the Bundian Way.”

In praise of the Home Range

 

We all know that air travel has a huge environmental impact. Taking a long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year. As a keen skier and walker I love an overseas adventure as much as the next addict. But having done lots of overseas trips I figure I’ve consumed well beyond a fair share of carbon, and try to stick close to home for my adventures nowadays (despite falling off the wagon and visiting Colorado a couple of times in recent years).

There is, of course, the allure of skiing new mountains (and the fantastic snow that comes with higher altitude and latitude, and grander terrain) but there is also the allure of staying at home, of deepening connection with the local hills and valleys. Even here in the south east, there is lifetimes worth of terrain to walk and big patches to ski and ride. Factor in Tasmania, and you have several lifetimes worth. I’m still yet to make it into the Cobberas in winter, am long overdue for another visit to the ‘interior’ ranges of the Howitt Plains and Mt Clear in the central Victorian Alps, or walk the Overland Track in peak snow conditions.

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Photographs by David Rosendale

Photographer David Rosendale returns to exhibit at Falls Creek with selected prints from his year long study of seasonal change, “The Fall”, with new and unreleased works spanning the years 2016 – 2019.

This Exhibition represents work produced whilst Artist in Residence at Falls Creek in 2017 and beyond, a perpetual commitment and study of the Victorian Alpine landscape.

The exhibition runs from 23 – 25 August 2019.

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