24 April 2013


Last weekend I went on a trip to climb the highest mountain in Australia - Kosciuszko. We stopped at this lake outside Albury on the way.


In the car were Tree, Callum and Prior. Prior masterminded the whole thing.


It was uncommonly beautiful out there.


We stopped to get petrol in a little town heading up the mountains, only to discover the petrol station had closed for the night. We passed by the local eatery and asked a local bloke if he thought we'd have enough petrol to make it to our desired camping spot.
'How much petrol you got?'
'Third of a tank'
'What car you driving?'
'Where you headed?'
'Thom Groggin. Reckon we'll make it?'
'Ah, piss easy'
'Great! Then we'll drive on to Thredbo in the morning and top up on fuel'
'You won't make it further than Thom Groggin on third of a tank mate'
The woman in the restaurant told us we weren't in the city any more and that we could camp down at the boat ramp, as long as we were in a van and not tents. We thanked her and tracked down the spot. The facilities were great and we had no trouble, besides what sounded like a man moaning in the night, which was actually a cow. We woke up to a fine view of the 'pondage'.


We packed up and headed to the now open petrol station, where we purchased petrol along with coffee.


As we climbed further up the mountains, it started getting cold. Paradoxically, the car was beginning to overheat and Prior was getting tense.


By the time we rolled into the bizarre snow village of Thredbo, it had become obvious that our plans to camp on the saddle of the mountain range were a tad ambitious. It was snowing pretty hard and the wind was up. We decided to take the chairlift up and walk the more moderate, properly signed 6.5km track up to the summit. It was quite bizarre.


Very 'north of the wall'


Snowy Tree


After a couple of hours, we made it to the highest altitude public toilet in the country - a thrilling experience.


Then the last stretch up to the summit. 


We made it!! It was crazy up there.


I was jealous of Callum's headwear.


On the day before or the day after, this would be a spectacular view. But we decided it was nice to climb to the highest point in Australia and not see anything and for it to be a bit gnarly.


We found a spot with some shelter from the crazy winds to cook up some lunch.


Washing out the pot post minestrone. We also ate cold chocolate and sipped warming nips of whisky.


The trudge back down was full on. We were headed into the stinging wind, so I spent much of the time shielding my eyes with my hands, careful not to slip on the steps. The camera stopped working at one point, but I took out the battery and gave it a resuscitating rub.


Back to what will soon become ski slopes. When we made it back to Thredbo, the girl at the bar asked us what we'd been up to.
'Just walked up to the summit and back'
'What, Kosciuszko? Why did you do that on a day like this?'
We just shrugged nonchalantly. If you have to ask, you don't need to know (the answer is because we're impatient, silly men who enjoy stacking up ridiculous stories).


We camped at the aforementioned Thom Groggin, an idyllic campsite nestled a way down from the snowy craziness we had briefly tasted (you can see it up the top there). We had a big campfire and sat around quietly, passing a bottle of wine around and realising our instant pasta packets required milk and butter to prepare. We lamented not bringing marshmallows or more campfire friendly food. After all, the original plan was to be camping at a much higher altitude, where fires are not allowed. We went to bed because we were knackered.


We awoke to a family of kangaroos munching their way around the campsite.


Their wildness was soon tamed by a handful of corn chips.


The mother was the only one who would eat out of my hand. She looked a bit like Tess.


Just below our campsite was a river perfect for skipping stones, washing dishes and gathering drinking water. On the drive home, Prior remarked on the deliciousness of Callum's bottle of water he was passing around. Callum agreed and reminded Prior he had just filled the bottle at the Shell service station we had just stopped at.


We skated a couple of parks and this famous drain spot on the way home.


15 April 2013

My Sunday

After a couple of years of churning out events columns, it turns out I can't write any more. Out of desparation, I have used myself as the subject for 'My Sunday', a column I used to write for the Sunday Age.

Marysville skatepark

My Sunday
Max Olijnyk – freelance 
I wake up an hour earlier than my alarm. Ally and James are staying in our spare room, so I tiptoe to the kitchen and make juice, which is extremely loud. Over the juice, Rosie tells me she had a dream in which James told her that her father would die soon. I tell her I had a dream about a paraplegic girl who was my friend. I skip over the sexual undertones.
I ride to yoga class and realise I forgot my bike lock. I stash my bike in the stairwell of the yoga studio and look forward to a tense hour or so worrying it will be stolen. But once the lesson is underway, I fall under the spell of yoga. Through focusing on my breathing, I manage to turn down my inner monologue and almost exist in the moment.
There are many messages on my phone when I emerge from the class, all to do with today’s skateboarding mission. I decide to take a Zen approach and ignore them all, apart from Jason’s ‘are you coming to my place?’ to which I reply ‘Yes’. Tim arrives at Jason’s a minute or two after me. We walk to get coffee, from a cafe. When we return, Pete and Chris are waiting outside.
We drive for two hours through amazing forests. Jason, Tim and I sit across the backseat of Pete’s car, with me in ‘skiing’ position. We crack jokes and discuss various topics. I wonder if I am being annoying because Pete is uncharacteristically quiet.
The park is brand new and covered in red dust. We have it to ourselves and it is quite strange and fun. It takes me a while to get warmed up, but it turns into a good skate. We all do ollies in a row for Pete’s tiny camera on the end of a golf stick. In an unexpected stroke of luck, there is a steel drum festival happening next to the park. We eat our lunch to a joyous rendition of Amazing Grace. There are camels walking around with children sitting on them. There is a goat race. I ask a nearby mum if it’s her newborn baby’s first steel drum festival. She laughs and responds in the affirmative.
We are bored of the park and decide to drive to another one. Chris jokes that it will be wet there because the photos of it on Pete’s phone were taken after it was raining. It takes ages to drive there and by the time we arrive, Chris’ dark prophecy has been fulfilled. We walk around the park and marvel at how good it is and what fun we could’ve had. Back in the car and another long drive back to civilisation. I ride home to find James has built me a perfect cutting table in my absence. I feel guilty for going skating all day. Ally cooks a delicious pumpkin risotto for dinner. We watch The Voice and hang shit on the contestants and the judges. After a few too many scenes of Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton going head to head in Something’s Gotta Give, we go to bed. The internet is on the blink, so we can’t watch comedy clips on the ipad. We go to sleep.