Trip Report Bogong High Plains 5 day hike.Nov.5th to 9th 2021

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Your correspondent in the field accompanied by Mr. Relaxation in the wild himself Parvez Sahib ( PS) took off from Melbourne to walk a 76 km loop of the Bogong High Plains from Bogong village to Bogong Village over 5 days and 4 nights.
We met in Mt. Beauty on Friday morning Nov. 5th and drove up to Bogong Village to park at the tennis courts . I dropped our packs and PS at the AGL gate at the Spring Saddle track trail head.
I took my car back to park it at Bogong village and walked back up to join PS and off we went.
We had lots of uphill walking with rain falling on and off all day and some good views of the mountain terrain we would soon be walking on ahead such as Mt. Arthur.
PS had not been this way before. He is fit and a happy hiker and a fellow subcontinental outdoor unit . I have also signed him up to learn to Nordic ski. He is keen!.
After being subjected to Pandemic stay at home orders for far too long it was very therapeutic to get out and hike in the Alpine N.P. for 5 solid days .
We had all kinds of Spring weather and saw some decent snow drifts still hanging in there a month after the ski season had ended.
We camped at Bogong Jack Saddle for the first night.
Water was flowing well from the spring near the old cattle gate NE of the camp site.
My new yellow Mont tent passed its first field test rather well.


Photos from Day 1.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Jul 29, 2015
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
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Day One .Bogong Jack Saddle.

The old hut up there is falling apart.
It was good that the gates at the start of the walk were open and an AGL worker was driving his 4 WD through that entrance/ exit as we set off up the hill.
We went off to sleep at dusk and rose at day break.......

on day two .
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Day Two. FOG FOG FOG. We saw nothing of the amazing views one usually gets when on top of The Fainters. We slogged it over the Fainters with visibility down to about 2 metres at the most.
I took very few photos up on the Fainters because we could not see anything!
At least it was not hot or fly blown.

We met a group of Mtn. Bikers at Little Plain and sloshed through the mud on the Fainter Fire trail to reach Tawonga Huts for lunch and a rest.
Our boots were wet for days.
Tawonga huts had a school group camping there. We found out which places they would camp at over the next few nights. That was useful so we could avoid them .

After lunch we powered on over the BHP pole lines past Mt. Jim to Young's SEC hut.The visibility improved a bit but I had to use a compass and GPS to find the hut. I was fatigued and the scrub is becoming denser each time I visit Young's SEC hut. We located the hut once I set off on a compass direction.
We were only approximately 200 metres away from it !!!
We got into camp and set up our tents and cooked dinner just before a huge thunder storm with heavy rain commenced. That was well timed.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Jul 29, 2015
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
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Day 2. After Lunch.
Tawonga Huts to Young's SEC hut. PS enjoyed camping
at Young's SEC hut ( and walking there via Pole 333 and Pole 267 ) . He likes an adventure :) .
Mt. Jim and surrounds still had some snow drifts and we saw some feral wild horses.

We saw not a soul out there and it was very wet with water pooling and flowing everywhere. Wild flowers were trying their best to start their season of blooming but it was very early after the snow melt period and much of the treeless high plains land still looked brown from snow and ice.
After the rain storm passed and a small fire burned down to naught in the hut wood burner it was time to go to sleep.
The next morning on Day 3 the weather cleared up a bit....
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Day 3.
Pole 267 to pole 333.It was far too wet to take the cross country short cut behind Mt. Jim to the Aqueduct
and onto Ryder's hut. The ground was saturated and then some. We were walking through shallow ponds to get to Cope Saddle hut for lunch.
The AAWT has some of its best bits along this route. I wonder why @Ramshead walked the AAWT in summer. Spring is often stormy but not so hot. The river crossings are iffy but at least there is plenty of water.
We saw many feral horses and their poo. They are buggering up our high country .
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Day 3.One large snow drift was big enough to be skiable and was possibly worth bringing ski gear for, if you were super keen. It was located near the old cattle pen fence near Mt. Jim. We stopped to rest and eat lunch at Cope Saddle hut. The hut is falling apart . It is cactus!
:-(
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This snow drift ( see above) was the best of the bunch.
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Here( above) you can see how high , wide and long the snow drift was.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Day 3 after lunch.
The AAWT. We got sick of walking and camped at Langford Gap hut. It was windy. We set up our tents and cooked dinner inside the hut. We sat in front of the fire set inside the wood burner that @Ubiquitous Steve had installed in the hut. It was handy having water next door in the aqueduct.
A massive and intense local thunder storm struck that night with almost no time delay between lightning flashes and thunder claps. It was full on. I was in my tent just lying there at the mercy of mother nature.
The sky turned white in the middle of the night.
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Ramshead

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Awesome pics bro. Beautiful light. How good is that giant pimple otherwise known as Mt Jim? To answer your question, I walked the AAWT in summer because I’m too busy during the year with the kids and trying to earn a living. Took me five years to find a five week window to attempt that damn trail!
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Day 4. Langford Gap hut to Roper Hut via Mt. Nelse North summit.
We had easy walking and good visibility along the Aqueduct. The walk up the AAWT to Marum Point through snow gum forest was a soothing change from the treeless high plains scenery and the winding aqueducts.

The morning looked a bit clearer and the BOM forecast predicted two clear days before the weather would turn to shite.
It meant we had to walk out to the cars by Tuesday evening or else.
Once we were at Warby Corner it became evident that camping on Spion Kopje at the aqueduct would not be wise due to strong winds and low cloud, so we walked over to camp at the lovely Roper Hut camp site. It is a sheltered spot set amongst aged snow gums.
There were still drifts of snow here and there.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Day 4 . Warby Corner to Roper Hut.
AAWT.
The sun came out and we were able to dry out all of our gear while camping at Roper Hut.
We reached the campsite in time for a late lunch.
That was so good just resting in the sun at the campsite.

It was uplifting to see Mt. Bogong , still with some snow on it.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Day 5. Roper Hut to Bogong Village via Spion Kopje aqueduct , The Grey Hills, Mt. Arthur and Black Possum spur. 11 hours in motion. 22kms. A big final day with a 900 M.+ descent from Mt. Arthur( 1682 M. ) to Bogong Village in 7.5 kms.

Sleeping bags were fully zipped up into Egyptian Mummy mode overnight.

The morning was clear and sunny. We started early. It was cold and clear. I had breakfast in front of my tent wearing gloves and a balaclava.


Black Possum spur was type 3 fun. Black PITA spur more like it. NEVER AGAIN !!!.
:-0
Bits of that were almost vertical at times. Our knees and quadriceps were not happy.
There was much fallen timber on the descent from the summit of Mt. Arthur.
It was a steep jungle gym.

We stopped for photos at the 3rd highest peak in Vic. a.k.a Mt. Nelse west (1893 M. ). It was very scenic.
Yes I took the baby travel guitar which was good for camp fire entertainment in the evenings.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Day 5.
Spion Kopje/ The Grey Hills/ Mt. Arthur/ Black Possum spur/ Bogong Village.
A taxing , scenic and cathartic day but we took extra drinking water and had two lunch breaks.
Thankfully the Grey Hills and Black Possum spur foot tracks had been slashed back by P.V. contractors seemingly within the past 24 months.
This made life easier but this route is still a category 4 trek: over the Grey Hills and down Black Possum PITA spur from the summit of Mt. Arthur to the steep bulldozer access fire trails below.
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Thank goodness it was not a hot day and the insects had not started their green season pestilence.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Day 5 . The Grey Hills/ Mt. Arthur/ Bogong Village . We had good views of the water falls that lead down to the start of Big River. I saw a big black snake once we were out of the snow gum area on the evil steep descent down to Bogong Village. We had lunch on top of Grey Hills Knob.
If people want to walk this route then do it soon before the scrub grows back.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Day 5. Mt. Arthur to Bogong Village via PITA spur.
It was almost a vertical descent in places. We just wanted to get it done. We left Roper hut at approximately 0800am. We reached our cars at 1900 the same day. I ran out of water 100 M. from my car so carrying extra water was very smart. I ran out of water last time I walked out to Mt. Arthur from Spion Kopje( in late 2017 ) so I knew as a guzzler I needed 6 L. for 20+ kms.
Some snow gums on Mt. Arthur have survived bushfires and they are quite old.
The photo of PS sitting down in his trekking chair to soak up the views on top of Mt. Arthur is one that encapsulates his good attitude towards these more challenging treks.
He is a bon vivant of the outdoors.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Day 5. The last 5 kms of torture down PITA spur track. By the time we'd completed the foot track section down Mt. Arthur we'd both had enough but what other options were there but to walk back to the cars ? , We had to do it : like it or not !.
It was a big adventure and a huge relief to finish that long final day.
By using this route we evaded all river crossings which was good because it rained a lot and the snow melt had left the ground saturated with water too.
I can recommend fit and well prepared bushwalking people giving this 5-6 day walk a go.
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Ubiquitous Steve

Part of the Furniture
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Sounds like they need the Boy Scouts on BP Spur with chainsaws!Bears remember that the bottom 4x4 track goes down very steeply
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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If you could summarise the route for me. I get that its BV to BV anticlockwise. You have posted so many images.. my browser chokes as I scroll up through the five days. That would be nice. Just a summary of all your way points. :D
Bogong Village/ Spring saddle track/ Fainter track/ Bogong Jack Saddle/ The Fainters/ Little Plain/ Tawonga Huts/ Pole 333/ Pole 267/ Young's SEC hut/ Pole 267/ Pole 333/ Cope Saddle hut/Cope Hut/ Bogong Rover Chalet/Langford Gap hut/ Marum point track via the Aqueduct ( AAWT)/ Big River Fire trail over Mt. Nelse/Warby Corner/ Roper Hut/ Warby Corner/ Spion Kopje Fire trail / Grey Hills/ Mt. Arthur/ Black Possum Spur track/ Bogong Village.
 

VSG

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Bogong Village/ Spring saddle track/ Fainter track/ Bogong Jack Saddle/ The Fainters/ Little Plain/ Tawonga Huts/ Pole 333/ Pole 267/ Young's SEC hut/ Pole 267/ Pole 333/ Cope Saddle hut/Cope Hut/ Bogong Rover Chalet/Langford Gap hut/ Marum point track via the Aqueduct ( AAWT)/ Big River Fire trail over Mt. Nelse/Warby Corner/ Roper Hut/ Warby Corner/ Spion Kopje Fire trail / Grey Hills/ Mt. Arthur/ Black Possum Spur track/ Bogong Village.


A quick effort. That was a trek. How long?

[click on each image for larger...]

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Moondog55

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Nice report.
I haven't done that circuit in over 20 years but I also remembering it, parts of it being quite hard work in the middle of summer and of course no little signposts back then.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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Maybe...Parks should be asked to give an undertaking that work will be done on the pole line into Youngs Hut.

Bears know the area well.....but it’s confusing the first time.
As Mr T outlined.....you don’t want inexoerienced parties falling to find Youngs in fading light and blizzard conditions.
Some chainsawing maybe required along that pole line to clear fallen trees that make navigation tricky.There is an old stockyard in there that the pole line goes straight through from memory.
In driving snow conditions....the bifurcation of the pole line swinging off the ridgeline needs to be signposted well.

The GPS purists may have other opinions .
If money exists in for the Falls to Hotham Mega Wank then a few dollars could be spent in a more desirable fashion.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Maybe...Parks should be asked to give an undertaking that work will be done on the pole line into Youngs Hut.

Bears know the area well.....but it’s confusing the first time.
As Mr T outlined.....you don’t want inexoerienced parties falling to find Youngs in fading light and blizzard conditions.
Some chainsawing maybe required along that pole line to clear fallen trees that make navigation tricky.There is an old stockyard in there that the pole line goes straight through from memory.
In driving snow conditions....the bifurcation of the pole line swinging off the ridgeline needs to be signposted well.

The GPS purists may have other opinions .
If money exists in for the Falls to Hotham Mega Wank then a few dollars could be spent in a more desirable fashion.
I missed the bifurcation of the pole line while in a state of fatigue, again. I pulled out the GPS and compass and we found the hut using dead reckoning with a compass direction as suggested by the GPS.
The GPS actual position of Young's SEC hut was logged by me as a waypoint in the field in late 2019.
The software maps used on many GPS units are often incorrect by up to 50 metres.

That is too much of an incorrect distance in very poor visibility. Young's Hut itself is tucked away in a pocket seemingly out of sight except from a distance on the spine of Young's top across the drop that is the Bundara river.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Look what happens when you spread the net a bit wider....

Young's. SEC. Due south by the way, not South West. Lucky I am not navigating the wilds of Vic high country with you...... :p

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South , yes you are right but I did not have a map and compass in front of me when I typed that post. When I am navigating in the field I often have the map , compass and GPS all out during a sit down , consult the trail mix and brains trust moment .
 
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Boodwah

A Local
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I missed the bifurcation of the pole line while in a state of fatigue, again. I pulled out the GPS and compass and we found the hut using dead reckoning with a compass direction as suggested by the GPS.
The GPS actual position of Young's SEC hut was logged by me as a waypoint in the field in late 2019.
The software maps used on many GPS units are often incorrect by up to 50 metres.

That is too much of an incorrect distance in very poor visibility. Young's Hut itself is tucked away in a pocket seemingly out of sight except from a distance on the spine of Young's top across the drop that is the Bundara river.
Nice TR MrT, nice country.
True, Young's can be tricky to find, it was tricky for me the first time.
But I like it like that!
A remote and very cute hut that's reasonably tight and warm with a fireplace, a spring, and lots of friendly rodents. Hard to get to and hard to find, long way from anywhere, close to good ski terrain, and in a wilderness zone.
Why would anyone want to change that?
And when does anyone really get lost anymore? I can't recall the last time in Vic. If they genuinely get lost its usually bc they want to get lost and stay lost. So no more poles please.
I usually ski out along the spur line to Mt Jim area, but return via the poles to the backdoor of Young's.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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Bears just hope existing pole lines are maintained.Collapsed poles re-erected.And fallen debri over poles or foot track is delt with.

Once you know Young's hut area.......in winter you just stay on ridge above as though you are going to Paling Spur.Turn hard left down gully and ski to the door of Youngs.The saddle above is most definate unless the weather has collapsed.

As Boodwah says....Youngs Hut is sheltered and relatively easy to access with prior knowledge .
Even i can stay upright for the decent.Then unlike Westons(well down the ridgeline)it’s easy to get back onto the Highplains next morning.

If the weather turns nasty around Mt Jim...then Youngs is the best place to head for.Good pole line back to Dibbins/Youngs Hut divide.....then straight into trees for protection from weather.
 

Boodwah

A Local
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Bears just hope existing pole lines are maintained.Collapsed poles re-erected.And fallen debri over poles or foot track is delt with.

Once you know Young's hut area.......in winter you just stay on ridge above as though you are going to Paling Spur.Turn hard left down gully and ski to the door of Youngs.The saddle above is most definate unless the weather has collapsed.

As Boodwah says....Youngs Hut is sheltered and relatively easy to access with prior knowledge .
Even i can stay upright for the decent.Then unlike Westons(well down the ridgeline)it’s easy to get back onto the Highplains next morning.

If the weather turns nasty around Mt Jim...then Youngs is the best place to head for.Good pole line back to Dibbins/Youngs Hut divide.....then straight into trees for protection from weather.
This totally.
My only gripe w Young's is that the last 3 years i've stayed there in winter, the place has been tracked out by skidoos. Hoons from Falls.
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Jul 29, 2015
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
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Bears just hope existing pole lines are maintained.Collapsed poles re-erected.And fallen debri over poles or foot track is delt with.

Once you know Young's hut area.......in winter you just stay on ridge above as though you are going to Paling Spur.Turn hard left down gully and ski to the door of Youngs.The saddle above is most definate unless the weather has collapsed.

As Boodwah says....Youngs Hut is sheltered and relatively easy to access with prior knowledge .
Even i can stay upright for the decent.Then unlike Westons(well down the ridgeline)it’s easy to get back onto the Highplains next morning.

If the weather turns nasty around Mt Jim...then Youngs is the best place to head for.Good pole line back to Dibbins/Youngs Hut divide.....then straight into trees for protection from weather.
I have marked a GPS way point at the saddle above Young's hut on the Young's spur ridge. You can see it from in front of the hut. It would make for the easiest
descent on skis with a multi night pack on( I am yet to try that descent in white season , but it is in my list of things to do out there). From that saddle you can see Mt. Loch in clear weather which is a good landmark to go by.
I plan to explore the Bundara wilderness further this green season including the approach to McNamara's hut from Hotham airport.
 
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VSG

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I missed the bifurcation of the pole line while in a state of fatigue, again. I pulled out the GPS and compass and we found the hut using dead reckoning with a compass direction as suggested by the GPS.
The GPS actual position of Young's SEC hut was logged by me as a waypoint in the field in late 2019.
The software maps used on many GPS units are often incorrect by up to 50 metres.

That is too much of an incorrect distance in very poor visibility. Young's Hut itself is tucked away in a pocket seemingly out of sight except from a distance on the spine of Young's top across the drop that is the Bundara river.

The Vic government mapping is very high res, at this close up .... I have annotated their imaging.... I can see how one could miss the turn to Young's ... heading East of the main track, marked. Click on this image for larger.

Screen Shot 2021-11-12 at 4.36.00 pm.jpg
 

Boodwah

A Local
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Jun 20, 2006
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boodoir.blogspot.com.au
The Vic government mapping is very high res, at this close up .... I have annotated their imaging.... I can see how one could miss the turn to Young's ... heading East of the main track, marked. Click on this image for larger.

Screen Shot 2021-11-12 at 4.36.00 pm.jpg
The old pole line actually goes pretty much diagonally from the tip of the top red arrow to bottom red arrow. Its a direct fall line so you can ski the whole way. It's only if you veer anyway left (east) skiing in from Mt Jim that you can get into trouble. The hut is actually harder to find coming from Paling Spur to the south, and Paling Spur is now an overgrown unnavigatable battle.
 

Boodwah

A Local
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I have marked a GPS way point at the saddle above Young's hut on the Young's spur ridge. You can see it from in front of the hut. It would make for the easiest
descent on skis with a multi nigh pack on( I am yet to try that descent in white season , but it is in my list of things to do out there). From that saddle you can see Mt. Loch in clear weather which is a good landmark to go by.
I plan to explore the Bundara wilderness further this green season including the approach to McNamara's hut from Hotham airport.
Talk to UBS then, he's previously given me a good briefing on that.
There's definitely a lot of regrowth on that part of Bundara, and the feral horses are so numerous as to be intimidating.
But from where Paling Spur finally tops out, to Youngs, is almost my favourite part of the Oz Alps, especially in autumn. It's the unknown southern extension of the BHPs.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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UBi steve
Talk to UBS then, he's previously given me a good briefing on that.
There's definitely a lot of regrowth on that part of Bundara, and the feral horses are so numerous as to be intimidating.
But from where Paling Spur finally tops out, to Youngs, is almost my favourite part of the Oz Alps, especially in autumn. It's the unknown southern extension of the BHPs.
Ubi. Steve has given me a detailed description of the said route from the Hotham airport to McNamara's hut.
I have walked up Paling spur before and I will do it again .I want to walk from McNamara's hut to Young's hut too. Now that I have a GPS with the routes marked in waypoints I think I will have more success out there with navigation this green season.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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Feb 29, 2008
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The top of paling Spur has a cows skull on a tree at the top of the track.....you need a summer recce to know where things are for winter.....it’s very pretty in the big saddle just adjacent to the top of paling spur track.Bears carted a chainsaw up there from the bottom.....but we will not cut any branches on the big snow gums in that saddle....only on the bush edge are a few chainsaw cuts of dangling branches if you look closely.Bears don’t want to see any more pole lines out there but a good visibility sign pointing towards Youngs Hut would be useful.

We don’t want folk missing this important refuge hut in bad weather regardless of their skill level in navigation.
 
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