High Plains December 30th to January 3, 2018

Clear Sky, cold morning and daypack on and we were ready to climb Mt Jiathamang. After recent rains everything seemed fresh and we were  presented with a few boggy patches that needed negotiating. The wild flowers provided a sea of colour against the harsh greyness of the rocks. The steady climb to Mt Jiathamang took about an hour and revealed 360-degree views-

4. Mt Feather top

Mt Feather top

– Mt Feathertop and Hotham to the west and Mt Bogong, Nelse and the Main Range to the east. A little off track walking across the snow plains disturbed a red bellied black snake, highlighting the need for gaiters. A pleasant lunch on Fainter south was followed by a return trip along a fire management track to Tawonga huts, where we had spent the previous night.

 

6. Westons Hut

Westons Hut

7. Blairs Hut

Blairs Hut

The next day dawned bright and sunny for a walk out over the high plains toward Mt Jim, before veering north to descend to Blairs Hut past Weston’s Hut.   Weston’s has been rebuilt since the 2006/7 fires but Blairs remains intact, a quaint log cabin on the banks of the west Kiewa river. In the river valley was a lot warmer and a slow steady climb to Cobungra Gap took it toll. Dibbins hut our destination was a welcome sight.

15. ancient snow gums

ancient snow gums

After two bright sunny days, this morning was damp and misty, a wet tent to carry up Basalt temple!! Nevertheless, the coolness was a relief for the 400m climb over 3KM. The higher we went the cooler it became and we were also rewarded with good views of Mt Feathertop. On reaching the track junction we took a side trip to

14. Youngs Hut

Youngs Hut

Young’s Hut situated at the head of a valley providing a wonderful outlook as we had our scroggin under the veranda escaping the flies. I took the opportunity to retrieve a geocache in the area before we retraced our steps to the main track. A short stint across country brought us to high plains creek and an aqueduct. After lunch we found 2 more geocaches, one of which lead us to the most magnificent stand of ancient snow gums to the south of Mt Jim, fortunately they had escaped the fires that destroyed many trees in 2005. Following the aqueduct, we arrived at Ryders yards a short time later. Ryders yards is a group of huts at the base of Mt Cope and is one of the earliest and last of the huts to be used by the cattlemen before cattle were banned from the high plains.

 

Our final day was a short walk back to the cars at Pretty Valley, enjoying the tranquillity of the area which at times can be quite the opposite.

Posted in Backpack |

Bunyips, Boulders and Blockheads

With temperatures forecast to be mid 30’s in the week leading up to the walk the walkers were wilting in interest and the walk leader was totally disinterested and beyond ambivalent. “You’d have to a bunch of Blockheads to want to walk in that heat “ he was heard to mutter.

Blockheads in front of The Cousins

Blockheads in front of The Cousins

Well the forecast became wet and cool early and then a max of 29C and so the party of Blockheads set off from Mortimer’s Picnic Ground in the Bunyip Sate Forest at the unseemly hour of 8.00am to beat the heat. Finish by lunch time was the mantra as they wandered up the Windy Pt track heading for the mysterious Boulders rumoured to be scattered around the William Wallace Track circuit.

Every time the group stopped for a drink break in the mist the sweat would pour out of them and the supposed sweat proof shirt on one proved to be a waste of money and he stayed saturated all day.

After a quick (they were trying to get home early!) circuit of the delightful William Wallace Creek the group decided to explore hitherto unknown areas to the North along the Williams track. Gobsmacking views into the adjacent creek valley, along  with massive towering gums and a veritable carpet of tree Ferns near the creek itself.  Inspirational views.

Spying some massive boulders off the track it was decided to explore and climb the monoliths. After a few minutes of effort the group was ensconced on the middle rock with one male member scaling the western most tor with relative ease. The rest had a morning tea break whilst one life member had a serious coffee break complete with plunger.  The largest rock was a bridge to far to climb and was left in peace.

Resuming the walk the group descended through the towering forest of Messmate, Peppermint and Mountain Ash and scattered granite boulders to the aptly named Tree Fern Walk.

Although only short, this is an area of unparalleled beauty.  Jurassic era Fern Trees and moss covered fallen trees and rocks smother the walker in the twist and turns of the little valley. By now the mist was lifting and the humidity went down as the temperature began to rise.  It was time to start the journey back.

Taking the long cut they hurtled through past the turn off for the 4 Brothers Rocks, at the Nichols Hut track, and were soon hurriedly navigating along the Ferres Track along the picturesque creek back to the waiting cars.  A cracking pace was the order of the day!

Back at the shady Mortimers Picnic Ground they had lunch, the women had a perve on 2 spunky young dreadlocked near naked hippy blokes and whispered something about “why did we leave the binoculars at home” Edifying stuff.

17kms in 5 hours and finished at 1.00pm. Home in time for a swim and then the Evasion Day BBQ.  What a grand way to celebrate being an Australian.

Greg

 

Posted in Day Walk |