Bogong Highplains Hut/Firewood reports 2016

Ubiquitous Steve

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Team Bears almost completed work in the West Kiewa and have turned attention now to the above agendum...

Saturday we scoped out Bliars Hut....damaged glass window and some gaps between logs..
4tanks of 2stroke and firewood supply taken care of..

3 little seats cut form fallen log close by..

no tools in there except a hammer ...new log book has been placed in there by Parks Vic..
anybody travelling thro...please leave firelighters/matches/dunny roll etc...
also if window can be fixed that would be bloody good...:(:(:(

now travelling out of West Kiewa Logging Rd our destination was Pretty Valley Hut with as much fire wood as we could pull in our tray...dry poles litter the roadway so it was easy to cut them on a beautiful sunny day...big drive out and up to Falls Ck ..
Pretty Valley Hut had stuff all firewood....wood inside but needs axe/hatchet to split it for pot belly...hut condition good //no tools that I saw..thanx to girls that helped unload some of firewood..;););)

more wood will be dropped here in coming weeks as P.V Hut pretty important in overall scheme up there..

weather forecast was for extensive rain come sunday so Team Bears returned to Melb but we checked on Langford Gap Hut first ...got a little wood scattered behind hut inside..
hut sound except a couple of weather boards missing on nthn side of this hut...Team Bears will deal with damaged weather boards shortly and silicone fill any obvious gaps too....:thumbs:
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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well must be pretty heavy duty up above tree line at moment....strong winds appear to be a feature for next week..

though I suppose one could pitch a tent in a sheltered position while traversing the high plains ...it must be pretty miserable without somewhere to get out of elements for awhile!!!!
it was so benign and mild in Pretty Valley at 5.30pm:cool::cool: Saturday but I have affair idea what it must be like right now...:oops::(
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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gale force winds were the feature of the working weekend...
after a quick trip into West Kiewa to erect another picnic table and the long drive out and via Falls Creek..

Very hard to see in low cloud coming into Falls and mission impossible going over Ruined Castle edging slowly thro the zero visibility with less than optimal lights for fog..

summary of works:
1/split some PV Hut wood dropped from previous trip
2/put chainsaw thro all firewood in CopeHut Wood Shelters/wood box it all fits into Nectre now!
3/replaced 2 weatherboards on Langford Gap Hut on the nthn wall then ran chainsaw thro the megre wood supply..
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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*note split in upper weather board on western facing wall will need attention before winter...
4/another small load of firewood collected off Block 24 Rd and dropped at P.Valley Hut....

:cheers:
the wind was so strong that I got blown off the steps leading into Cope Hut..and trying to move weatherboards near Langford was like real fun!!:mad::mad:
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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well it was pretty easy to cut weather board from Bunnings that was already primed and coat with cheap can of any paint that could be procured from discounted mixed paint ..it turns out it was whitish but facing north one cannot see it from carpark very well and at least it got some kind of weather protection till somebody paints over in grey perhaps..
its a no brainer to leave hut with missing boards allowing weather to come into wall and speed up more damage...

wind was exceptional outside on sunday morning but in side hut where I cut boards with a saw it was like a haven...

its also a no brainer to cut all collected wood for Cope in to useable pieces so further damage is not done to wood stove fire bricks/door...again no trees outside where touch in this operation..

also wood is scattered all over Block 24 road so throwing it on to back of ute and placing it down at Pretty Valley Hut seems pretty sensible...some is cut and split but half is not...

the weather was bloody mean on weekend and to walk around without seeking shelter for a time would have required some stiff determination...strong enough to blow you down even..

so further firewood collection is planned for a couple more huts with' fix it works' if something major is seen...

my cordless drill has a stuffed 24volt charger but a friend is fixing this cos its essential for minor works up there...

as Team Bears sees it some huts provide the ability to get hypothermic bodies out of conditions and give them chance to recover.... so SES/Vic Police/Resort Management/etc don't have to be called out as folk deteriorate in to a more life threatening low body temperature....

***old and dilapidated as Langford Gap Hut may be its amazingly wind proof in an area that is subject to very high winds...
:thumbs:
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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weekend was good stable weather..warm Saturday but a bit breezy on sunday..

we finished work on Langford Gap Hut now having replaced about 3weather boards and placed some sheet iron over a gaping hole high up on western facing weather wall..

we chainsawed every bit of firewood at Pretty Valley into useable size for pot belly Masport...but axe is needed up there to split blocks to fit in pot belly(some any way)

we also found hole in western wall of PV Hut and did a temporary fix that will keep snow/rain/hail out of wall....

Sunday was our big day 9am start from Watchbed Creek(after a sleep at Cope Hut) we battled over Nelses with some gear and chocolate bars etc into a breezy head wind till we got to Ropers Hut......Team Bears spent about 3hours sawing and gathering and cut all stuff in wood pile outside into bits that will go into Nectre....weather was kind:cool: and we picked the best window for this job..

so now there is a decent wood supply inside hut and a little just by the door ...there is an axe and hatchet out there so we did not waste further time splitting anything ..all wood was sourced lying on ground around the campsite...and we cut a log in two to form some little rough seats in front of nectre...hut is in good condition...door handle is missing and somebody has done temporary fix with some wire(Watch the end of this wire as you enter/leave doorway cos we caught our clothes numerous:tany: times coming and going....we trudged back leaving at about 3pm and got to car on dark..we were stuffed I can tell u...

also note Ropers has 30inch hand saw but travellers would be best to bring a new blade out there..we left some candles.fire lighters and matches.....please watch wire on door as it is dangerous/sharp...;););)
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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weather was good very good over weekend ...we truged out to Cope Saddle Hut and replaced 2 weatherboards and rescrewed another ..weather wall is now A.ok

inside we fixed lid on wood box..inside bolt fastener was off so we replaced it so it can be fastened tight while you wait out any hostile weather..

we returned on sunday and put saw thro every piece of wood inside hut/wood box it will all fit old pot belly now..

then we plodded out to Ryders huts across country ..still very dry underfoot with no snow at all on track or even up on Mt Cope to our east....again we cut up everything in wood pile outside the door and we placed most of this very dry wood inside neatly...then we cut a few more bits from scattered logs left on ground or near summer fire place...and stacked them in sun outside door..

overall both huts are in good condition and have ample fire wood...a hatchet would be very useful at CopeSaddle as there is less kindling than there could be...

very cold approx minus 5 on saturday night...Rd Remains open to Omeo across highplains there are no drifts whatso ever along this road as is customary after a large dump just a few ice crystal patches....Road across Ruined Castle into Pretty Valley is open with some snow and definate wheel ruts to soil...getting a bit slippery after freeze on way out sunday arvo..
so 4x4 necessary or definately chains for others...
NoteXXX a hatchet/axe would be very useful in this Pretty Valley/Cope Saddle/Ryders Corridor:thumbs::thumbs:

now we have Monday off and we sit in Carlton and we are definatley having a day off with no program of any woorks just drinking coffee and reading newspaper:yum::yum::yum::yum::yum::yum::yum::yum::yum:
 
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Moondog55

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I'll drop off the block-splitter and saw at PV hut during this week, thanks for the warning I've already put the chains in
Matches and firelighters too if needed
If the shovel is missing I'll bring one of those as well Only $11- at Bunnings after all
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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got one from Masters for 5bucks but still in tray..
Road into P.Valley should be ok ..rodeo aint got best clearance but wheel ruts in snow are not that deep....

P.Valley Hut needs somebody to spend about an hour just splitting little blocks in half...

Bears still got some work to complete on Highplains but hope to get back into P.Valley Hut again before QB Weekend for one last effort.....
only thing our Masters Shovel did was to clear snow off Parks Picnic Table next to the hut....

I must check weather report to see what is forecast....so far weather has been splendid for works...

slipped on ice just outside Cope Hut on Sunday morning was very lucky:eek: not to have gone down in a heap.....:eek:
 

Moondog55

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If I provide a splitter people can split their own firewood, otherwise they burn it too fast IMO
I may be able to find a pot and some emergency sugar and tea bags too
I like to leave a pot in the hut just in case
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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Westons Hut got similar treatment to Ropers Hut on the wet/cold miserable weekend..

out report went in under our other main West Kiewa Access Folio by mistake so refer there to get details...
basically....
now plenty of wood at Westons and Hut is in good condition.....wood splitter(little one ) is damaged a bush saw with 30in blade is good and a spare blade is down there...:metun:
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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no splitter at Westons cos its broke....:(

Both Westons & Ropers wont see to many visitors during the next 3 mths...

Ropers has an axe...:p

Pretty Valley will get most visits and most wood is unsplit at moment...

but Team Bears don't want anybody freezing when it only takes us mins to belt the axe thro some blocks..good thing with pot belly (wood stoves ) is they can only burn so much wood unlike open fires outside which are just a waste of time from now on...

we came in wet to Westons the other day when we were caring stuff all:foam matt and sleeping bag so apart from saw/axe etc our packs were light.....it took Team Bears some time to thaw out and we had lots of gear on and wet weather gear etc...

we don't want folk coming in completely stuffed and not able to get a good fire going quickly/easily..

getting wet and cold sometimes gives u good insight to the problems some groups face...

its nice to feel the warmth on dry skin we can tell you....;);)

also if you are badly hypothermic just striking matches is difficult enough with frozen hands...so with that thought in mind we approach the job..
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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QB Weekend saw Team Bears scurrying around before seasons gate closures of West Kiewa and possibly of BHP Rd.
We got final wood collection in P.Valley on a freezing Saturday evening:some logs left by campers were rounded up and cut for PV Hut and moved to its shelter.

We originally went via Dungeys hoping to ford the West Kiewa but it was running fast and too high above downstream rocks of the ford so we said..."No way" and retraced our steps and came back to Mt Beauty via Pyramid Hill FT.

Saturday night after sorting PV Hut out we shot around to McNamarras(Mittagundi stronghold) and had a lovely night...temp got to about minus 5 we think...

Then on Sunday a cheap Chinese(Cobalt) hatchet was carried out to Cope Saddle Hut and placed in wood box...so its very versatile down there now...we went in old jeep track from BHP rd..

Then back to West Kiewa Logging Rd for second attempt at reaching Blairs...lots of debri/lots of mud and very slippery..we had to go up High Route to avoid to fords but last bit of steep hill before the traverse has a slippery bit so we gunned it going in all directions and having Maxxis Mud/Snow made the difference just......!!!!!!

out to Blairs and fixed window with a handy panel/cordless drill etc ...decided to stay night there rather than push Westons in the dark...again very cold night(clear starry sky)...first thing up to Westons on Monday morning with another Chinese splitter to replace the damaged one up there...arrived as sun started to shine on Westons...cups of Tea and brunch/bit of splitting then more cups of tea...brought out old splitter back past Blairs to Management Gate....found Bunnings Beenie and army waterbottle on track above Blairs and left it in management gate....

slithered back down nasty section on way out ...mud planning....:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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Oh note....many fallen trees below Westons Hut....with gates due to close this Thursday Team Bears can not do anymore clearing...we had to prioritize works ...above Westons we cleared previously...and we threw any debri (sticks/poles):whistle::whistle::whistle:off track between Blairs and Westons but there are a few obstacles to clamber under/over/under....

but there are no obstacles that cannot be navigated around reasonably quickly....but we had no packs to hamper us....
 
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Moondog55

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I saw those logs at PV Steve but I wasn't strong enuf and had no chainsaw to cut them any smaller
I hope my axe and kindling splitter were still there
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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I saw the little splitter but not axe but maybe it was out of sight.....I tried to come back into PV on Sunday Morning ...I had been there till about 8pm Saturday. but gate was down(not locked ) so I thought Falls Ck Management had it closed as they were firing up snow guns when I came out that evening.....I had Bunnings Trolley to move things around ,one was too heavy to heave into truck so I took trolley for a spin and picked it up and brought it back and cut it up into smaller more useable bits..there was sawdust every where outside by time I finished....so I got max vol of firewood that I could.....it was cold very cold that night...but warm in hut till I left for McNamarras...

so don't worry Moondog all is good....wasnot sure if that was your wood that I gathered up and moved to hut....but it is useable now... also Cope Saddle Hut is well set up now...small blocks(cut all bits smaller) and I carried over a little "Cobalt" hatchet and placed in wood box...further afield Ryders has lots of wood for its open fireplace(I just cut up all gathered wood people had pulled into wood shelter)

ohh we liked the light set up...took us awhile to connect the leds with the batteries and we got a shock when we switched it on...it was so good..

not sure how things are over in Tawonga Huts...since there fire place smokes badly Team Bears don't worry about firewood over there..are asked one of the Rangers about a conversion to a Nectre set up like Westons/Ropers with false(heavily insulated)chimney but I doubt that that will happen soon..

Cope Hut has a pretty scanty wood supply...if BHP Rd is still open for a bit then we might make last effort out there to bulster supplies.....

its a shame we did not have enough time or energy to spend couple of hours on the track below Westons...but the focus had to be on hut first and upper track too...
 
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ladycamper

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Need a pot belly or slow combustion fireplace in JB Plain as the open fireplace goes through lots of wood and often campers don't follow hut etiquette with replacing firewood.
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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yes those wood heaters are good....once we get Ropers/Westons up to speed it boils the kettle in next to no time...

Bliars open fire place was a bit of a smoker too....
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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for those travelling around over winter and using multiple huts...we would advise that a bush saw is carried and a little splitter...too Blairs has damaged hand saw and no hatchet/axe...most saws around traps have 30inch blades...if anybody wants to leave a saw where it is needed well that's a bonus to the system...

we also noted candles seem to be hard to find in local supermarkets sometimes....funny little shop opposite the Myrtleford Super market(IGA I think) has good supply the thick church candles work well:about 5bucks for pack of 3..
the fat ones seem better than the long/house hold ones....fat ones also self supporting..:cool::cool::cool:
 

Moondog55

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Steve I'll be taking in a supply of firelighters/candles/ a pack of AA batteries and some tea bags for emergency use at PV hut
And if my axe is gone it was only a cheap one anyway
Tea lights seem to be the cheapest candle around and are OK for an hour or two of emergency light.
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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not sure about axe being in hut... I was focused on getting those last few logs to hut and cutting them up so they would be useful...looks like you will get in ok ...do you take 4x4 in with trailer and then take vehicle out again...road should be A OK not sure what Falls Ck Management do with their little gate...but still they should be able to open it if need be to let you over to PV.. The damaged wood splitter from Westons(I brought head and shaft out) I will try to get reshafted..working on this soon..its got heavy head and gives a decent clout when used...(the plastic orange handles don't last too long) only snow will be around their snow guns somewhere up roadway..

not a fan of tea candles but the fat church candles r good and thro a better light than the tea ones...
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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Bit of water coming down West Kiewa Catchment..last weekend ,,Team Bears crossed to Blairs over little bridge rather than direct route and came in long route via West Kiewa Logging Rd ...but Access Closed today on Dungeys and WKLRd..
we also elected not to risk Dungeys Track Ford(Broad Ford) last saturday arvo...cos it looked a bit scarry.:oops::oops::oops:..and water was fast and pretty high....:eek::eek::eek:.
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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A trip to increase firewood at Cope Hut was aborted cos gate is closed at dam wall at Rocky Valley...no signage all way up Mt Beauty or even Falls Ck Management sign at Howmans Gap...but permanent signs say to ring Vic Rds 13?????

so Team Bears a bit pissed off after discovering dam wall gate is locked(padlocked)....

however the 3/4 ton of freshly cut dry firewood made its way over to Pretty Valley....after we lifted barrier which was not locked on P/V Rd....no snow on road at all but its getting chewed up and very muddy from Basalt Columns Corner onward..
slithering in 4x4 even with new rear Maxxis(Mud/Snow) .....
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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we also left Westons Wood Splitter(we carried it out last weekend cos handle was broken)which has a new handle fiited and has been recently ground by chainsaw man....Westons got a hatchet for replacement.....

so unintentionally Pretty Valley has a very good supply of fire wood cut small enough length ways for Masport Stove and splitters are available to split wood up...

very mild on Saturday evening...not raining but water dripping off tree leaves...mild enough to unload by hand all wood only with tee shirt on....
 

Ubiquitous Steve

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Steve would you mind if I grabbed a small amount of that wood for my own stove if I need to??
yes go ahead Moondog :pplenty of wood down there at moment ....little splitter in corner near log book box.....

are you set up down there yet ...I cruised down to horse yard/toilet area but did not see you out there....

also some toilet rolls and fire lighters in hut.....

Moondog stay warm....use what ever u need cos there is a lot there .....

road in there is getting really chopped up....could be snow coming soon that will effectively close out vehicle access finally...

I returned to Melb that night Saturday but was having little micro sleeps so after a a few lasting at least a whole sec I pulled over and started having sleeps in rodeo at lots of rest stops.....big full moon at moment over weekend....must be seriously wet up there now.....:cheers: Bears say Moondog can be unofficial hut warden and OHS Officer for Pretty Valley....:thumbs::thumbs:
 
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stansi

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A Quote from the "Bushwalkers Forum" 06/07/16 from Moondogs +1

"Phone call last night, and he reported that "the tent is trashed." He was tired and wet, hungry, and very disappointed. I guess his plan to have the camp ready for when he arrives backfired, just a little.

Apparently while there's not a lot of snow in the village, there's over 1200mm at Pretty Valley, and his main tent collpsed under the weight of the snow. The tent is "shredded" and from what I can gather most of the main poles are snapped. He has backup shelter, but last night was forced to the hut. Today is another trek into the village and down to the car for the big shovel and heavier gear.

Not a great start!
Cecile"

Edit:- That "1200mm" was probably a typo.;)
 
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Ubiquitous Steve

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ok not good start for Moondog....hope he is able to sort this out...
we know that P.Valley is well loaded with firewood and bits and pieces....

if he gets desparate then we suggest he pulls sleds over to Ryders Huts and sets himself up in residence(also loaded with firewood)about 45min flattish ski..

we are glad he is doing stuff...this is just a misfortune for him to over come....:(:(
 
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