Monday, November 18, 2013

Lost in space

Where are we?

Somewhere in the Snowy Mountains. All the signs say "Great Dividing Range", which is confusing. Later I'll learn that the Snowies are not a discrete mountain range, but part of something bigger. Which is itself part of something even bigger.

No idea what time it is either. Monday afternoon...

A Garmin screams all this stuff at you, as if more information is naturally better. At times it is possible to enjoy not wearing a watch, be grateful for your old-style computer that makes a person really work to get information other than distance. I'm making the most of it.

So here we are in this timeless, placeless place. Climbing steeply, then descending. Climbing and descending. Climbing, descending.
The road, the Snowy Mountains Highway, is pretty much deserted. It winds its way through like a proper mountain road, gradually revealing its secrets. Finally we have quiet.

Around us, a spare and profound landscape unfolds. Several years ago a bush fire left all the trees looking like realist sculptures of themselves. They have not yet recovered. There are landmarks, like the entrance to Kosciusko National Park and Selwyn Pass; I'm totally surprised when we encounter them. Absolutely no idea where they are in the continuum of anything.

At the entrance to a ski area, a huge sign points tour buses this way, cars that way, trucks that way. And David kind of starts laughing because even with not another vehicle in sight and the resort closed in summer, he wants to do the right thing. Which way for bikes?

I'm laughing because it's like we're not here. We don't exist. We're ghosts.


One thing I love about these rides: looking around, you might see nothing familiar. If someone took out a map you couldn't point to your exact location. Yet by following the directions on a little piece of paper, eventually you get to the right place.

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