We were stressed. Burned out and in desperate need of a break, we packed our bags and headed south into the mountains.
Leaving the city under a dark cloud, unsettled, neither of us speak for such a long time. The built up areas give way to wide blue sky, golden fields and the ever present mountain range urging us onward. We begin to breathe again and tentative smiles creep across our faces. As the distance between each town grows larger, the population tallies grow smaller and our furrowed brows begin to relax.
It is late afternoon by the time we arrive at Moonbah Hut, 20km outside of Jindabyne NSW. The mountain air is already turning cool and the autumnal sunshine casts a golden glow over the whole scene. We set our bags down and stand on the porch in silence, trying to take it all in. In front of the hut is a small lake where every now and then a clumsy splash reveals the playful trout below the calm surface. Tangled rows of berry bushes grow behind the hut and we spend the early evening quietly collecting handfuls of raspberries for dessert, plump and still warm from the now setting sun.
The night air creeps in, the crispness of it is unexpected but warmly welcomed. Jumpers are pulled on, a fire is lit and the gift of a bottle of red wine is found inside. We curl up with our glasses and watch the fire grow. As the lick of the flames reach higher, our voices come back to us. We talk, listen, laugh, connect in a way we haven't in a long time. We know this is a special evening and savour its sweetness. Our glasses empty and a simple dinner is shared. Before being drawn back to the fire, we step out into the evening chill, hand in hand and look up at a night of stars more beautiful than anything seen before.
It has been years now since our first stay at the hut yet we still speak of it often, the memory of our time there bringing wistful smiles to our faces. We must escape again, we say, we must go back to the hut by the lake.
Originally shared on 3 March 2013, this post has been edited and republished.