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-
– 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.
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.
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
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.