Childhood memories

Peter at Echo Flat

(With Panda ~ 1967)

Echo Flat is one of the closer High Plains - the delightful meadows which occur in our higher mountains. They usually occupy a broad shallow valley, and in winter cold air collects in them and kills off any small bushes, so that they are kept naturally clear of trees. The floor of the valley is normally a sphagnum bog with a peat floor, with small streams wandering across it through numerous ponds. In summer the meadows are carpeted with flowering plants, and they are delightful places to explore.

Echo Flat is slightly north of Lake Mountain, and now it can be reached fairly readily by road, but there was no easy access then. We left the University at about six on the Thursday evening, and the van stopped at about nine o'clock at the bottom of the mountains, and a long way from our destination. We camped on a relatively flat bit of ground for the night, and the next morning we started out on the long climb up to Echo Flat, which I think took us the better part of the day.

The trip was led by the rather eccentric Prof Cherry, whom I met for the first time. As the name suggests, Echo Flat is relatively flat, with a number of snow plains covered in grasses, separated by slightly higher ridges clad in Snow gums. We camped among the snow gums on the edge of one of the Snow Plains, and after exploring these we climbed the nearby Lake Mountain, which has a good view towards the west.

The next day we wandered off along the ridge to the north, which would lead - eventually - to the Sugarloaf, which was the club's favourite rock climbing venue. We caught a glimpse of this from the van on the way home, and I was very impressed by it's spiky outline so I was keen to explore it.

This was my first experience of camping, and I found that my newly purchased equipment was very inadequate. On our first day we had a couple of inches of snow, so that night we had to cook dinner in the snow (after laboriously lighting a fire with our damp matches and equally damp kindling) and then spend a freezing night in our tiny tents.

I also discovered the delights of getting out of the tent in the dark and walking off through the snow in bare feet to spend a penny! (I was using my walking socks as bedsocks, but I didn't have anything I could use as slippers, so I had to take them off before I went out so that they didn't get saturated.)

I soon learnt the golden rule of camping - you always keep one dry set of clothes to wear at night. You put your daytime clothes on again in the morning, no matter how cold and wet they are, and never give in to the temptation to stay in the warm clothes you've been wearing overnight (unless you have another dry set to wear the following night). If you can keep warm at night you can survive almost anything during the day.

 © Roger Riordan 2004-2019

Echo Flat