On Monday we went to the the snow!!!
Mt Donna Buang is about and hours drive from our place and usually our closest place to play in the snow. I knew there had been snow over the weekend and there would be fresh snow on Monday morning, then it was turning to rain in the afternoon so we aimed to get there by late morning before it turned to slush. On days with enough snow cover they have toboggans for hire on top of the mountain, so it was exciting to see the 'Toboggans at Summit' signs as we drove towards our destination.
Seeing the first glimpses of snow on the ground is always exciting, then as we drove further up the snow was on the trees and quite deep on the ground - very very cool. We parked in the mushy carpark then spent about half an hour getting everyone into their snow gear. Caitlin was ready first and made a little snowman in the snow between the two sections of the carpark.
We hired two toboggans and trudged up the hill to the toboggan runs - its a longish walk in the snow but it looked so beautiful and magical all around, everyone was still excited for most of the walk, and a bit over it by the time we got to the top. I found it challenging to get down the path to the toboggan runs, it was icy and I did a little bit of it on my bottom... Caitlin and LiAM had a couple of runs each then Millie had a go, with Caitlin running along beside her, which she really enjoyed. I had one ride as well.
It had been raining on and off (lightly) the whole time, then suddenly the rain turned to snow - being in a snow covered forest with snow falling as well is pretty magical. I called out to the kids 'Hey, its snowing!' and we could here people calling out exactly the same thing all over the mountain. One lady near us had never experienced snow falling before, so she was very excited. It snowed on and off the whole time we were there, with rain in between and sleet at one stage - so it did change from exciting and beautiful to wet and miserable and back again...
We moved over then to a higher, slightly steeper, and bumpier run. The snow was thinner here as most people were using this run, and that actually made it easier for the toboggan to slide. The kids had a couple of goes then I went down - I was quite scared about the angle of the hill before I started, but found it wasn't scary (or even very fast) once I got going. The bumps weren't a problem either, just made it a bit more fun. I took Millie for a ride down this hill - it was faster with the extra weight, and lots of fun. We got stuck about 3/4 of the way down, then walked to the bottom of the hill, then up the snow drift at the end, and had a slide down that which was quick and exciting.
Walking back up the hill was hard work and LiAM found it particularly difficult with his toboggan. A couple of times people helped him out which was great. We all had a sandwich and a drink and by this stage LiAM and Millie were cold and wet and ready to go home. LiAM had one last ride and I went as well so I could bring his sled up. Caitlin built Olaf the snowman (I had carrot sticks with me so he did end up with a small carrot nose) and then went down for one last ride, and we packed up and headed back down the hill. I offered to pull Millie on a toboggan, she didn't want to do that and wanted me to carry her. I didn't have a sling with me so I had my backpack on my back and carried Millie in my arms - hard work when walking on icy snow! Once we reached the main path back down to the carpark Caitlin and LiAM sat on their toboggans and slid down. Millie fell asleep in my arms, it had been a short and exhausting afternoon! I saw a good friend on my way down, she was heading up to toboggan with her kids, great to have a very brief catch up.
The carpark had turned to muddy slush by now, so we waded through to the car, then spent about half an hour getting everyone out of wet clothes and into warm, dry clothes. Millie was miserable until I got her warm, and LiAM wasn't enjoying himself anymore either. We got rugged up and headed back down the mountain, and stopped at a cafe in Warburton for hot chocolate and some food. Between us we bought wedges, a pie, and 2 different types of chocolate mousse - the food was delicious and the hot drinks really warmed us up (although the cafe was cool because they were close to closing and had let the fire go out.) From there we drove down and had a look at the swollen river, I was surprised at how high it was - I guess we've had a fair bit of rain the last week or so.
We picked up our milk from the dairy and dropped R's share off at her place, then finally headed home. Tony had the fire raging, and I had soup in the slow cooker, so we were able to warm up fairly quickly. I dumped all the wet clothes in the laundry to deal with the next day, and collapsed on the couch - I was stiff and sore and tired all over. Tony suggested I ice my sore shoulder (an old injury, exacerbated by carrying Millie) and I tried that - by the end of the ice session my bad shoulder felt great and the other one was still stiff - so I might try that again next time I'm in pain. I usually use heat for pain - this was not as pleasant at the time but I think was more effective.
We watched TV and Caitlin played Minecraft then Tony and LiAM played Terraria when I went to bed. I was tired and very content with our day out - glad we made it to the snow early enough in the season for there to be a decent cover, and not miss out all together like we did the last couple of years. I think Caitlin and I will go back if there's another chance, while LiAM and Millie are probably content to wait until next year to go back at this stage...