|I enjoyed being warmed by the weak sun as I ate breakfast this mooring.|
Gee, it was cold last night. Crawling out of the tent for a quick pit stop in the early hours of the morning the fly was a solid sheet of ice, not ideal as I peeled the fly on the vestibule back to get out and all the ice shattered and fell on my back, agh! By the time I crawled out in the morning the ice had melted…a bit, but it was still on the chilly side. A relaxing breakfast was enjoyed sitting under the weak sun while I waited in the hope that my tent would dry off a little, a plan that had only partially paid off by the time it was time to pack up.
|Breakfast is ready!|
|There was a light frost this morning.|
By the time I’d procrastinated a bit this morning it was around 9am when I eventually shouldered my pack and set off on today’s journey. On paper I had a relatively easy day in front of me today, I’d just be frolicking around the high plains…sounds pretty reasonable. First up this morning I rejoined the AAWT and followed it up to cross the Bogong High Plains Road above Cope Hut. Cope Hut had been one of my alternative camps last night but a quick look at all the vehicles parked on the side of the road only confirmed to me that I’d made the right call stopping a kilometre away, down at the creek last night.
|I've just climbed up along the AAWT from Cope Creek which is down the bottom of this shallow valley.|
|This is why I camped down n Cope Creek last night and not at Cope Hut (well the crowds and the fact I didn't have a permit for the flash camping platforms at Cope Hut).|
With plenty of punters around this morning I didn’t make the short side trip down to Cope Hut today, instead heading straight off along the track towards Wallaces Hut. This track climbs over a hill beside the high plains road before dropping down a shallow valley towards the hut, the views eastwards off the Bogong High Plains are quite good along here and Parks Vic have installed a few information signs as well as a bench at one of the better view points. Arriving at Wallaces Hut I suddenly achieved 'peak tourist', there was even a Parks Vic volunteer stationed there answering questions. Not having had a shower for three days I wasn’t overly keen to mingle with the other punters this morning so after a bit of a perfunctory attempt to get a fresh photo of Wallaces Hut I grabbed my pack and shuffled off again.
|The track to Wallaces Hut stays close to the Bogong High Plains Road as it climbs a hill...|
|....before striking off to the east across a small snow plain.|
|The views eastwards this morning are a feature.|
|Eventually the AAWT drops down a shallow valley towards Wallaces Hut.|
|Wallaces Hut is arguably our most photographed historical hut (I'm not counting Craigs Hut which is really a film set).|
I was now dropping down the AAWT to meet the Langford West Aqueduct. The walk down the old fire track from the hut is a little ho hum, however once on the track beside the aqueduct the walking was very good for the next couple of hours. Not only is the walk along the Langford West Aqueduct (and then a little later, the east aqueduct) about as level as you get up here, but once again there are extensive views off the eastern slopes of the Bogong High Plains. It was only really after I shuffled through Langford Gap that I encountered many other people on my aqueduct stroll, and even then it was hardly crowded with just a few day walkers out and about, I'd though that it might of been busier on this Easter Saturday.
|Easy walking along Langford West Aqueduct.|
|Once again the views east were extensive.|
|Langford West Aqueduct|
|Langford West Aqueduct|
|Arriving at Langford Gap there were a few people out and about.|
|Dead Snow Gums on Langford East Aqueduct.|
|Easy walking along Langford East Aqueduct.|
|Langford East Aqueduct|
Arriving at the covered bridge where the AAWT leaves the aqueduct and climbs up towards The Park I stopped for my somewhat traditional Feral smoko. The bridge generally makes a nice spot to park my arse for awhile before the up coming climb. I’m not exactly sure what the theory was for whacking a roof over this bridge, on a rare sunny day the roof does give a little shade I suppose but in the more usual conditions when the weather is coming in sideways, the roof doesn’t offer much in the way of shelter. Suitably refreshed after my break I set off on what was possibly the biggest climb of the days walk, although the climb is only really about 120 metres, so it’s not overly taxing! Since I shuffled through here a couple of years ago the track clearing fairies have been hard at work too, so I wasn’t pushing my way through any scratchy alpine scrub on my climb today. The climb along the AAWT up to The Park starts off by heading through mostly alpine heathland (crossing a pretty reliable creek) before breaking out to cross some small open Snow Grass leads that offer some good views down to Rocky Valley Reservoir.
|I'm approaching the (somewhat) famous covered bridge where the AAWT heads off up hill away from Langford East Aqueduct.|
|The track clearing fairies have knocked the alpine heath back a bit since I was last up here.|
|After climbing through a bit of alpine scrub the AAWT breaks out to cross some small snow plains...|
|....and I started to get some views down to Rocky Valley Reservoir. |
|Eventually I broke out of the trees near The Park.|
Arriving at Big River Fire Track at a 4 way intersection below Marum Point, I started to think about lunch…there is nothing unusual about that really judging by my fat guts. And there was nothing unusual about that, except for the fact that I was trying to work out when would be my last chance to fill up with water before my nights planned dry camp high up on Spion Kopje and I was thinking that lunch would best washed down with bit of water. The issue up here was that I wasn’t overly keen to drop too far down to pick up water (and have lunch) so I was trying to judge my last opportunity to fill up (and add 5 kilograms weight to my pack). To make things even more confusing I’d never walked the high ridge out to Spion Kopje before so I wasn’t sure exactly what the situation was out that way for water. Arriving at the turn off down to Edmonsons Hut I found a small rill of water running along Big River Fire Track, lunch and water were now sorted.
|Lunch was taken on Big River Fire Track above Edmonsons Hut.|
|Big River Fire Track climbs a bit up towards Warby Corner.|
|That's my planned camp for the night out at the end of that long ridge, Spion Kopje.|
After relaxing for awhile in the sun sprawled on the grass beside Big River Fire Track I eventually shouldered my now much heavier pack, and continued on my journey. Big River Fire Track now climbs up around the shoulder of Mt Nelse, this is bleak country but thankfully with bright sunshine and light winds conditions were almost as benign as it can be up here. For all the trivia buffs out there Mt Nelse is the third highest mountain in Victoria, although the actual highest point isn’t Mt Nelse South, Mt Nelse Central or Mt Nelse North all of which Big River Fire Track passes close by. No, the highest spot is actually an unnamed knoll to the west along the Spion Kopje Fire Track, which coincidently was were I was heading next.
|Spion Kopje Fire Track heading towards the third highest point in Victoria.|
|The view from the third highest spot in Victoria....is actually pretty similar to a lot of the other grandstand views on the Bogong High Plains.|
Leaving Big River Fire Track (and the AAWT) at Warby Corner I turned west along the lesser Spion Kopje Fire Track and shuffled my way along to the high point. At 1891 metres this spot is only 7 metres higher than the next highest spot on the Mt Nelse Complex so the view from here is hardly a revelation, still I was happy enough to drop the pack for awhile and wander around the rocky knoll, checking things out.
|Looking west towards Spion Kopje from the knoll.|
|The view back to Big River Fire Track and the Mt Nelse Complex from the high point on the knoll.|
|The looming bulk of Mt Bogong is a constant presence up here.|
|There are a lot of fires burning in the Victorian high country at the moment, unfortunately.|
It was mid afternoon by the time I resumed my slow journey along the Spion Kopje Fire Track, I’ve never been out here before so for the first time on this walk I was in unknown country. We’ll the country might be unknown to me but everyone from the original indigenous, cattleman, hydro workers, skiers and walkers have traipses around the Bogong High Plains over the years, so it’s hardly pristine wilderness, a situation only confirmed with a glance down to the south west at the buildings of Falls Creek glinting in the sun. Now keep in mind that I’d decided to lug my nights water requirements up here, as I thought that I’d be walking a high ridge all the way across to my nights camp on Spion Kopje, so I was a little non plussed when my track starting a long descent down into a high valley, I was even more non plussed to see copious amounts of water just off the track, hmmm.
|The other constant presence up here is the queen of the alps, Mt Feathertop.|
|The grassy Spion Kopje Fire Track made for a very pleasant walk this afternoon.|
|Spion Kopje Fire Track with Falls Creek in the background.|
|Hmm, I'd been lugging 5 litres of water for the last 6 kilometres - maybe I should of actually looked at the map I was carrying!|
|Spion Kopje Fire Track|
Not needing anymore water I filed this water resource away in the deep dark recesses of my brain under the ‘could be handy in the future’ file. After following a very old water race for awhile my grassy track once again started climbing, after passing what looks to be a very interesting route out to the Grey Hills I soon shuffled my way onto the broad summit of the 1838 metre Spion Kopje. The actual summit is a few metres south of the old fire track and after checking it out it was time to try and find some flat ground to camp for the night. Now finding flat ground was easy enough but finding flat ground that wasn’t full of divots and tussock was a little harder, eventually though I settled on a flat spot between some alpine scrub, hoping that my sleeping mat would iron out a few of the lumps under the floor of my tent.
|Spion Kopje Fire Track follows this old water race for awhile.|
|I didn't really need much of an excuse to stop and chill out for awhile today.|
|Mt Bogong in the background, Timms Spur in the middle distance and the Grey Hills Route in the foreground. I've never been along the Grey Hills Route but it looks very good.|
|Spion Kopje. Tents up and now it's time to kick back and watch mother natures light show.|
|Mt Bogong from Spion Kopje.|
With the tent up and dinner cooking I had a bit of time to explore the summit of Spion Kopje. There were two reasons that I’d wanted to camp up here, the first being that bad weather was due around lunchtime tomorrow and camping up here should make it easy enough to get back to the ute before the weather arrived and secondly I figured that the views up here should be pretty good. Meandering around the summit the views were indeed very impressive. With my first days destination of Mt Fainter across the deep valley to the west, Falls Creek and Rocky Valley below me to the south and the hulking bulk of Mt Bogong to the north, there was plenty to keep me interested. After finishing dinner, and with the lights down in Falls Creek starting to twinkle in the clear, cold night air I eventually admitted defeat and retreated to the warmth of my sleeping bag, life was indeed pretty sweet!
|I did say 'mother natures light show'!|
|Yeah, I know it's a bit of a photo dump.|
I walked 22.6 kilometres and climbed 531 metres on what I suppose I’d call a hard days walking. Over the three days of my walk so far I’ve shuffled 67.3 kilometres and climbed 2571 metres on my Bogong High Plains Ramble. Navigation today is very straightforward with most of the day being along the AAWT or the Spion Kopje Fire Track. As it turns out water was more readily available than I’d though that it may have been, the last water for camp can be grabbed out of the headwaters of Spion Kopje Creek a couple of kilometres before the summit. Once again there are many options for camping up here, only limited by the weather and the need for shelter from it. If conditions allow the summit has quite a few exposed spots to pitch a tent in-between the shrubbery and the views at sunrise and sunset up here are stunning, the view down to the twinkling lights of Falls Creek after it gets dark is slightly surreal too, it made getting up for a slash in the middle of the night slightly more enjoyable! Mr Chapman and Mr Thomas have both written up this section of the walk (more or less) but both sets of notes are more than a decade old. I used Rooftop’s Bright-Bogong-Hotham Forest Activities map today as well as my GPS maps.Relevant Posts.Cope Hut to Big River, AAWT, Alpine National Park, 2017.