Book reviews are not something I normally write on All Around Oz. Although I am an avid reader, I don’t read a lot of non-fiction books. But when I saw journalist Anthony Sharwood’s new book, From Snow to Ash, I knew I had to read it.
In the hellish, fiery Australian summer of 2019/20, Walkley Award-winning journalist Anthony Sharwood abandoned his post on a busy news website to clear his mind, solo-trekking the Australian Alps Walking Track. Australia’s most gruelling and breathtakingly beautiful mainland hiking trail, which traverses the entirety of the iconic High Country from the outskirts of Melbourne to Canberra.
The journey started in a blizzard and ended in a blaze. Along the way, this lifelong lover of the mountains came to realise that nothing would ever be the same – either for him or for the imperilled Australian Alps, a landscape as fragile and sensitive to the changing climate as the Great Barrier Reef.
I think almost every Australian has a fascination with the Australian High Country. It is the place where legends have been made. Thousands of people flock to its ski fields every year, in both Victoria and NSW.
But only a handful of people ever set out to walk the Australian Alps Walking Track. The AAWT is 660 kilometres long. It starts in the very picturesque Victorian town of Walhalla and finishes near the village of Tharwa on Canberra’s southern outskirts.
For journalist Anthony Sharwood this would be a solo trek that would give him the opportunity to reflect on his current circumstances. But it would also give him the opportunity to test his survival skills. After reading this book I can tell you that tackling the AAWT is not for the faint-hearted. Anthony spent 6 months walking 22 kilometres every weekend to prepare for this journey.
When a mountain tells you to leave it alone, you leave it alone. Mountains know who should climb them.Anthony Sharwood
One thing this book does discuss is climate change. From the massive bush fires that were burning at the time to the destruction of some parts of the Alps by introduced species such as horses and goats.
I also read with interest the insights into the history of several of the high country huts. These huts are still used today as a place for hikers and skiers to shelter if need be.
I really enjoyed this book and it has made me want to explore the high country even more. It has also inspired me to walk some of the track in the future. To experience the solitude and see parts of the high country that can only be accessed by foot would be amazing.
If you are looking for more inspiration to explore this beautiful country of ours I would definitely recommend reading From Snow to Ash.
I received my copy of From Snow to Ash from the publisher Hachette Australia as per our Disclosure Policy.