Noah Stammbach is a photographer and storyteller whose adventures throughout Australia have this rare ability to stir the wanderlust in anyone who takes a minute to read about them. Go on, I dare you…
I had the car for just two days. After spending the night in Jindabyne, we had until midday to explore the Aussie alps. Blue Lake seemed a good destination for a sunrise, so we set out at 4am.
Rain droplets sparkled in the night as we hiked. A blanket fog mingled with rain clouds, pushing the humidity well past 95%. Once your shoes got wet, they just got wetter. It was still too dark to see beyond the edge of the track so I imagined sweeping valleys and steep drop offs. Amongst some granite boulders I spotted a shy wallaby.
Sometime around 6am I noticed a faint change in the blackened horizon. In the night before the hike I had unceremoniously whacked Graeme in the face to tell him that the weather would be too overcast to get a photogenic sunrise. We pushed up the ridge to where the best view of Blue Lake would be. We did a good job of navigating in the darkness.
As we reached the top a magnificent sense of accomplishment juxtaposed the deteriorating conditions. It was still raining but the temperature had dropped to just above 0º C / 32º F. It was beautifully freezing. It harked back to childhood days of exploring the Swiss Alps with my family. I had even brought some Toblerone along.
A blue gloom arrived, taking the place of the typical sunrise hues. Here, atop the ridge of the mountain, fogs shifted and clouds swept past through the valley, while the rain continued to test our jackets and raincoats. Every few minutes the wind would build up and extinguish the fog from the valley, leaving a spectacular vision of where we had been hiking throughout the early morning. The colours were constantly shifting with the fog and clouds, so even though we were still on the same mountain peak for two hours, the visions kept changing.I desperately wanted to explore the shores of the lake, but we had to get back. I’m delighted every time road trip plans succeed, but I wish I could stay longer at the places I visit. In all the hours of driving from Sydney we only got to spend a few hours in the mountains. I feel more at home here than on the coast. I wish I could just live here for half of the year and constantly explore. I’ll be back.
To get involved in the Explorer Challenge and win epic prizes, click here.