My Christmas trip this year is first travel to Khancoban for a week and then to Mathoura for a second week. Nadine will be with me for the whole time, Cam and his boys will be with us for the first week, Mel and Cooper only for 2 days as Cooper has end of primary school functions to attend. We stopped at Euroa for two nights on the way and visited Tahbilk Winery, tasted wines and had a light lunch at the cafe. It was a very enjoyable visit with excellent wines, good food and lots to see. The underground cellars seem just the same as when Marg and I visited in 1964.
On the way to euroa we visited Gooram Falls off the Merton-Euroa road.
The caravan park at Khancoban has large grassed sites and good amenities. It is very quiet at the moment with few campers, so we were able to select 3 sites with good shade for which we were grateful as the temperature was 30+ on most days. The view from the park was excellent and changed as the direction of the sun changed. This photo is an evening shot with a storm building.
The main reason for being in Khancoban was to scatter some of Marg’s ashes in the Upper Murray as close to the source as we could get. Marg loved the Murray and we have camped on it from the source springs at Cowombat Flat (access only for walkers now), to the mouth at Goolwah, and many places in between. So on Tuesday December 18th we headed off to Tom Groggin, about 50 Km along the Alpins Way from Khancoban. We had planned to cross Davies Plain to get close to the source, but the road had been damaged and closed on November 29th, bugger.
The road to Tom Groggin was very windy but picturesque, the view of Mt Thompson an example.
We lit a fire for cooking and had BBQ lunch on the Murray at Tom Groggin in the picnic area, a lovely spot but very hot. After lunch we crossed the Murray to search for a spot to scatter the ashes. It was fun crossing and both Heath and Deen got wet feet from the bow wave pushed up by the cars, they were close to the edge taking photos.
The lower photo is of Cam crossing, the other two show me on the approach and crossing. You can see that the approach is excellent with a good depth of large rocks, much better than other times we crossed in the 1990s. Then the approach had deep scoured out grooves and you had to drive carefully balanced on the top of the ridges. We took a video of me crossing the river, it can be viewed on YouTube using this link: https://youtu.be/hJbzL3nDeO4.
After crossing the river we followed the track for a few kilometres until it turned away from the river to go over Davies Plain. So we turned around and went down a steep side track to the river, low range first stuff. It was a beautiful spot so we decided this would be where we scattered the ashes. Access was down some 20 feet of rough steps that someone had hewn in the bank. We used a winch strap to assist us going up and down but only Nadine and I used it.
The Murray at this point was washing over rocks and through pools, it was just delightful and so appropriate.
This photo is the downstream shot, the upstream one below is just as pretty.
On the right is a photo of me preparing to scatter Margs’s ashes. We all took turns at scattering, a very emotional and tearful party. Heath finished the scattering.
It is good to think about Margs last journey being down the Murray passed all the places we have visited in a river she loved. In the evening we sat around for hours sharing memories of our times with Margie, it was so good for us all to hear of others memories: and we were able to flesh out some memories that were not complete. So it was a sad but very good time.
We have three more batches of ashes to scatter, one each for Cam and Deen and one more for me, which I will do at Memory Cove some time, a beautiful spot at the bottom of the Eyre Peninsula in Lincoln National Park.
I will be publishing another couple of blogs on this trip.