The adventure season upon us, Nicholas and I went on a motorbike ride along the banks and in the surrounding bush and pastoral land of Lake Eucumbene.
Across the lake is the dense bush and steep, mountainous country of Kosciuszko National Park with a backdrop of the snow covered peaks stretching out along the horizon about 60km away to the south west.
This is a story about the relationship between a boy and his granddad. I hope you'll read it that way and enjoy the photos.
Nicky was eight years old when I bought his Suzuki JR80 with a view to some great adventures together. Back then, his toes only just reached the ground. Now he's 14 and taller than me. The little bike develops sufficient power from it's 80cc to carry him successfully up steep hills and he's not excessively cramped.
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Meeting my grandson at Cooma, we headed for Frying Pan, not sure if we'd get through along the original roads, inundated for around 40 years, but exposed for some time during the 10 year drought. Sure enough, the water beat us only a couple of kilometres along so we loaded the bikes up and went round to Seven Gates Road, closer to Adaminaby.
I felt so proud of my young grandson and and the confidence he's developed. With his bike untied, he straddled it, fired it up, manoeuvred it around on the tray of the ute and with the skill of a seasoned rider, came down the plank to the ground. Same thing loading up again, pulling up safely just short of the sideboard of the ute.
Over our cup of billy tea and sandwiches we had a great chat about imoportant and unimportant things. Nicky told me a story from his life at school, only a few days earlier:
He'd made a speech in class and ended it with a quote:
The two greatest evils are war and poverty.
The teacher gave him a good mark, saying it was the concluding line that clinched it.
The quote comes from my dad, no longer with us, and describes the background to the hardships he experienced as a child and adolescent. Dad said it to me a couple of times toward the end of his life and Ive passed it on to Nicky a couple of times. It was heartwarming that my dad's great grandson has taken the ststement in and considered it worthy to use in his speach.
Our first motorbike camping adventure together was to Lake Eucumbene, camping on the flat near the lake.
Nicky was 8 years old and I double dinked him on the quadbike. We set up the tent near an island that was accessible on foot due to the low water level during the years of drought and went photographing amidst the fog at daylight.
Some time later, with Nicky on his Suzuki 80, on several occasions we camped in an old hut which we call Seven Gates Hut because it can be accessed via Seven Gates Road.
On one of these occasions we were snowed in and had to delay our departure by a day, sooner than risk getting stranded in the snow or Nicky coming a gutsa in the slippery and steep conditions.
Scrounging firewood in the snowstorm was hard and cold work but with a cheery open fire of snowgum firewood we kept warm, fairly dry and cheerful, sitting on a box in front of the warmth on our box, telling stories.
The two cold nights of the snowstorm were the worst. I was glad of the extra blanket to wrap Nicky up extra warm in his sleeping bag.