The following day dawned sunny, with clear skies and just a breath of wind to keep it from getting too hot. I couldn't imagine a more perfect day in the mountains or a better day to tackle Mt Twynam - for the 5th time. So the 5 of us set out. The first 2.5km of the walk is along a well-trodden track to Illawong lodge - a tiny ski lodge nestled in the shadow of Twynam, on the banks of the Snowy River. The first excitement of the day was when I nearly stepped on a large snake and for the next hour, every stick and piece of bark looked remarkably snake-like. The track takes you down to the Snowy River where you cross an awesome little suspension bridge and then it's up, up, up until you reach the summit. The track here is far less well-worn and we lost it a few times, but when you're walking through gorgeous alpine herbfield and grassland and you can see your destination, it doesn't matter so much if you can't find the track. Making a beeline for the top, we arrived just in time for lunch. The day remained perfectly clear and I got my first look at Blue Lake (ok, I admit, it does exist) and the spectacular views to the North/West of the main range. Amazing. We met a group who had walked up from Charlotte Pass but I felt a small sense of triumph that we'd walked the whole way up without seeing another soul, whereas they had walked with the crowds for most of the route. Despite being a little longer and a little rougher, I can highly recommend the route up from Guthega - the peacefulness on that side of the mountain is quite special.
On the way down it was back to business - checking for grasshoppers every 100m we went down and catching a few of the ones we saw. There weren't many though! The afternoon was pretty hot, as the breeze had disappeared so when we got back down to the Snowy, Mira and I couldn't resist the temptation of a quick dip. The water was beautiful and delightfully refreshing. Dripping wet, we made our way back the last 2.5km to Guthega, just as the sun was starting to sink. What a day!
**Track notes: From Guthega, follow the signs towards Illawong Lodge. The track is well-marked and well-worn and has recently had some fancy new stairs installed to get up the first (steep) hill. From Illawong, cross the Snowy River on the suspension bridge and follow the faint track the whole way to the top of Twynam. Don't worry, it's not as far away as it looks (although it's a good 650m-ish climb). If you lose the track, just aim for the top of Twynam and you can't go wrong. On the way down, it's not long before you can see the roof of Illawong Lodge, giving you a good point to aim for if you lose the track.