Trip Report Guy's hut/Wonnangatta Station/Mt.Skene and more.Jan.22-27th 2021

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Jul 29, 2015
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Your correspondent in the field has returned from another high country adventure in the Vic. Alps.
This time I was included in a select group of 14 ? volunteers to take part in the Bushwalking Victoria's BTAC ( Bushwalking Track and conservation) track clearing working bee in a remote area.
The route to be retraced, tagged, marked with arrows nailed to trees, and properly cut back with power tools starts at Bryce's Gorge car park on the Howitt Road.
The 16 km route passes through the Mt. Darling/ Snowy Bluff Wilderness zone.
It eventually drops off the high plains and crosses the Dry river and meets the Wonnangatta River and Track which leads to the ruins of the old cattle station in the remote Wonnangatta valley.
The January Long weekend is also popular with 4 x 4 vehicle enthusiasts. We saw plenty.
Parks Vic. were helping organize this huge operation which involved a 4 WD multi car shuttle down and later back up the Zeka Spur Track.
After the BTAC long weekend concluded I drove home in one long day via Licola, Mt. Skene, Jamieson, Mansfield, Yea and Yarra Glen.
I shall elucidate further with a day by day report with photos ..........
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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Day one.
A long boring drive from Melbourne to Heyfield. I filled up with petrol in Heyfield and headed for Licola and the BTAC meeting point for Friday Jan. 22nd 2021 at Bryce's Gorge Car park on the Howitt road in the Alpine N.P.
I stopped to take photos at Bennison's lookout.
The Tamboritha Road climbed up and up until the dirt road levelled out near Tamboritha Saddle at 1280 M/ ASL.
I went on ahead past the Lost Plain and Arbuckle Junction and climbed up past 1600 M. onto the Snowy Plains and stopped for a break near the airfield.
I still wonder about XC skiing up that way. It would be great if there is enough snow and one's car does not get stuck.
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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. Dimmick's Look out , looking towards the remote Darling range.I don't remember taking the Tee Mobile out this way before. I must have taken the old Corolla :p up these bumpy tracks years back. The RAV4 AWD with All Terrain Tyres really acquitted itself well on these roads and later proved its worth on the atrocious :-0 Mt. Skene road.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
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Day One. Meeting at Bryce's Gorge car Park. We all camped in the field opposite the official camping area. Someone had left their very tame high country trail riding tour horses out to graze in the fenced paddock.
The weather forecast looked like it would become increasingly hot followed by rain . It remained to be seen how much work could be done in the heat , in very remote and over grown terrain , carrying all the necessary tools, plus food and water with us.
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We met the Parks Victoria staff Connor and Bernie and enjoyed a meal in the summer evening light.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
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Day 2. Team B would carry tools into the 7 km point using a GPS to navigate the route, retrace the route, and mark it with pink tape. Team B would then continue down the spur to Dry river and be collected by Parks Vic. in a 4 x 4 shuttle service and set up camp by the Wonnangatta River.
Team B's packs for camping, cooking and eating were ferried down to the Wonnangatta campsite , via the the Zeka Spur track by Parks Vic. staff and BTAC volunteers who had the suitable 4WD vehicles to cope with this challenging 4 x 4 route.
UHF radios were essential for all communications out there.
Channel 14 !
Team A would cut and tag the route Team B selected from 0- 7 kms and return to Bryce's Gorge camping area.
This mission in a remote wilderness started at 8 am and for yours truly concluded at 1930, 16 kms later and many fallen logs being chainsawed in the process.
I ran out of water one hour before we hit the river, It was very challenging. The last section was very steep, very hot and very overgrown. We downed tools ( which team A would subsequently retrieve on day 3 ) and set off at 4 pm for the bottom of the spur.
It was the Dry river spur Ordeal !
:-0
The saunter out over Bryce's plains to Guy's hut ( circa 1939 ) ( approx. elevation 1450 M. ) was easy but as we went on further there was NO TRACK. Here and there one of our group would locate an old arrow nailed to a tree but they were few and far between. We crossed Conglomerate
creek ( the last water point for the day until Dry River ... yes I had 3 litres but it was hot and very slow going ) and we saw a sign that warned hikers to , in so many words......
abandon all hope ye who enter here!

On we went until reaching the edge of the undulating sub alpine high plains , the route showed us views of Mt. Buffalo to the North and a remote and treacherous mountain wilderness ahead. It was here we had to start chain sawing the fallen timber as we located the foot pad that switches back down the spur and then the "path" vanished periodically .
After a certain point the photos thinned out which is always a sign that things got tough with category 4 navigation and category 4 hiking.
Parks Vic. and BTAC asked me to test out an electric chainsaw in the field . I went through two batteries in a much shorter time than I would with a similar cubic size of 2 stroke fuel. The chain started out new but became blunter as the intensive use continued.
At one point we started cutting and tagging a rocky spine of the spur, cross country, only to have to back track and remove arrows/tape from trees because we had , after further scouting around actually located the old track as shown on the SV map and Rooftops map being on a slightly different alignment.
The walk to meet our 4 WD transport out of the Dry River track seemed to go on forever. If we did not stop to stock up on water I truly doubt if I could have done it all.
That water was cold ,clear and fresh. It was a life saver.


I had hit the wall and was dehydrated and fatigued. Bush bashing down to the river flats was a PITA !!!!
Even Joe our fearless navigator , organizer and unflappable leader described it as
"tiresome".
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Any photos from/of the Skene road?
Yes, Wait for the time line to unfold.



Day 2 nearly 2000 and the day was done ... exhausted and heading back to camp by the river.It was good to be driven back the last 1-2 kms. I was spent. That was hideous and it nearly killed me.
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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 4, Monday 25/1/21
Too hot to work, nearly 40 C. in Low lands Gippsland . We all went for a morning walk to visit the old homestead ruins and early settlers' cemetery in the Wonnangatta Valley. It is a beautiful location , set in a remote place.
After lunch we went to investigate an old wire suspension bridge that leads to nowhere, right near where the Dry river meets the Wonnagatta River.
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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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Tuesday 26/1/21
We packed up camp where team A and B met and camped together by the Wonnangatta river.
The drive back up The Zeka Spur track in 4 x 4 transport involved a slow bumpy ride to meet our less suitable cars ( Zeka Spur track is double black diamond /Very difficult 4 WD track )and other equipment left at the first campsite on the Howitt road at Bryce's gorge car park .. It was raining, steep and slippery on the Zeka Spur track and the visibility was not good.
After people said farewell to each other , I went for a walk around the Gorge circuit 8 km walk which takes in Pieman's falls, Bryce's gorge, Conglomerate falls and Guy's hut. It was wet and foggy and the views were rather impeded by this typical high country weather.
After that I went down the Howitt road. I tried to visit Kelly Hut in Kelly Lane but the road was too wet and rough for my car and I turned around and went to camp down by the Wellington River at camp site Number 12 :"Red Box". It was wet but peaceful sitting under my car awning and cooking and reading .I went to bed early in readiness for my Mt. Skene road trip the next day.
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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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Wed. 27/1/21.
Wellington River( Tamboritha Road camp)/ Licola/ Mt. Skene/ Jamieson/ Mansfield/ Melbourne.
A whole day on the road :-0.
I had to wait an hour for the Licola general store to open at 10 am to get petrol .I had half a tank and did not want to risk anything going over the Great Divide solo by motor car.

There were cattle on the road here and there , all the way up to Mt. Skene.


I was unlucky to have such heavy fog on the summit of Mt. Skene impede all views. It did clear once I started moving towards Jamieson so some views were afforded. The road surface is atrocious :-0. I saw a sign in Licola saying that The Vic . state gummint are planning to fix it.
I had never been to Mt.Skene before and would like to return and camp/ walk/ XC ski the area and get to know it better.

A Mt. Skene to Mt. McDonald AAWT hike , there and back in late November 2021 could be worth the effort.

I am intrigued by Mt. Skene for its possible XC ski applications. However some perfunctory www research shows that it is a 4 WD place of interest and special white season permits are given to winter convoys of Tonka Toy 4 x 4 trucks to churn up the snow with their big wheels.
Such a remote place would be great for snow camping and XC skiing but to go all that way only to find some diesel addled rock apes ruining the snow surface
with their tractor tyres would be disappointing to say the least.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
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Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
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Wed. 27/1/21
Heading up and over Mt. Skene.I located the two places where the AAWT intersects with the Mt. Skene road.
@Ramshead would have walked this section .
@beefa skiing and /or @pegasusSki might be interested in XC skiing or hiking this area.
I did not stop to walk up to the summit. It was very foggy and no views were possible.... until the sun came through the clouds that had encased the summit ridge.
The road sign at the Mt. Sunday road junction with the Licola/ Jamieson road cautions travellers that the Mt. Skene road is unsuitable for 2 WD.
No such signage is seen near Licola.
After passing through Jamieson and Mansfield I was keen on getting home and having a shower, shave and washing my hair. It was a 7 hour + road trip but that is all the travelling some of us will be doing while the Plague restricts interstate and international travel for the rest of the year at least.
The whole trip was quite an adventure really .
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The road up Mt. Skene became progressively worse :-0.
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4 x 4 cattle in low range gear mode.... ;-P
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bumpy and foggy!
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pegasusSki

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a most interesting, and even comprehensive trip - and report Mr T.

#This is my playground

#there are some very interesting pointers for people wanting to head in to the Alpine: 4wd, walkers and skiers alike..
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
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813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Hey hey Mr Tee the Tee mobile seems to be decked out with a Kings awning.
Nice photos by the way. :thumbs:
I went one better and got the Rhino rack awning last summer.
The next step is a UHF radio. I have been looking at the options. Uniden have a starter pack with the console, antenna and hand held mouthpiece kkkkkkkkkkhhrrr ...crackle crackle.... Roger that ..... crackle crackle .... over and out Mr. Tee!.

I forgot to mention the insects down in the Wonnagatta valley were really bad. Bush flies, March flies, mosquitoes , all in biblical plague proportions :-0. It was stinking hot too.

The camping options on the approach to Mt. Skene seem to be at Connor's plain camping area on the Licola side and not much on the Jamieson side unless you camp at the flat spot on the road side where the main route meets the Mt. Sunday road or hike down the very steep Gallows track to the Jamieson river. That is Not very tempting I must say , quite a mission in itself really I would surmise.
The last picnic spot on a bend with limited views before the steep winding descent to the Mt. Sunday road intersection could be a half decent site for snow camping if one trekked the 8kms up from the Mt. Sunday road junction with BC XC skis, ski boots and snow camping gear strapped to the pack.
The Mt. Sunday road junction would get snow. It is situated at nearly 1200 M. ASL.
No track clearing of snow happens up there. Take chains and take care.
Green season camping options along the summit ridge in the regenerating snow Gums, away from the road on Mt. Skene are there if you look .
BYO water.
Do not go out there to Mt. Skene by car without a chainsaw. There were so many logs down on the road from Licola to Jamieson that had been recently cut. In winter the log fall ratio with snow and rain and high winds would increase ten fold.
Travelling time would increase because the need to get out and chainsaw all of those annoying fallen poles on the road.

The Licola side is greener. Once you cross Mt. Skene's summit area and descend into the Jamieson and Goldburn River catchment areas the terrain seems to be in a drier rain shadow area. It reminded me of the difference between the drive from Mt. Beauty to Falls Creek and the drive from Falls Creek to Glen Wills and Angler's Rest on the Mitta Mitta River side of Mt. Nelse and Mt. Bogong.
 
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neilmny

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I went one better and got the Rhino rack awning last summer.
The next step is a UHF radio. I have been looking at the options. Uniden have a starter pack with the console, antenna and hand held mouthpiece kkkkkkkkkkhhrrr ...crackle crackle.... Roger that ..... crackle crackle .... over and out Mr. Tee!............

Nice work it looks very tidy and useful. I have an Oricom UHF380-PK and it works well. Some would say the 6dB antenna that comes with it is not ideal (has a less omnidirectional radiation pattern) but it hasn't caused me any issues. UHF doesn't really crackle, it's either there, above the squelch level or silent below the squelch level as it is an FM transmission.

As for flies, a few years back I convinced the better half to wander out to Johnstons with me. If walking into the wind the flies were bearable but back to the wind it was definitely breathe through the teeth time. They were bloody unbelievable. It was a ripper walk though.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
10,473
10,451
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Nice work it looks very tidy and useful. I have an Oricom UHF380-PK and it works well. Some would say the 6dB antenna that comes with it is not ideal (has a less omnidirectional radiation pattern) but it hasn't caused me any issues. UHF doesn't really crackle, it's either there, above the squelch level or silent below the squelch level as it is an FM transmission.

As for flies, a few years back I convinced the better half to wander out to Johnstons with me. If walking into the wind the flies were bearable but back to the wind it was definitely breathe through the teeth time. They were bloody unbelievable. It was a ripper walk though.
I wear a head net all green season. I don't care how silly I look.
The insects give me the sh*ts.
UNIDEN
UNIDEN 5W MINI 80CH UHF PLUS ANTENNA KIT
Product SKU Code: ME23872

uniden.jpg

$249.00
Autobarn have this package for a UHF radio.

I spend quite a bit of time in remote places. A Mob. ph. is not much use out there on those dirt roads.I can see the benefit of a UHF radio.
 

neilmny

One of Us
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Aug 12, 2013
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UNIDEN
UNIDEN 5W MINI 80CH UHF PLUS ANTENNA KIT
Product SKU Code: ME23872 $249.00 Autobarn have this package for a UHF radio.
I spend quite a bit of time in remote places. A Mob. ph. is not much use out there on those dirt roads.I can see the benefit of a UHF radio.

They (UHF CB) are not the total answer as they are generally speaking line of sight but definitely a handy option to have around when out of mobile range. You can also tune onto the logging truck channels and get some idea of where the buggers are. As for Uniden, it's a good brand. I have a couple of handhelds too and they are Uniden but only older 40 channel units.
For me it's Mobile, not smart but simple Blue Tick Nokia (stop laughing please), UHF CB and KTI SA2GN PLB..........oh and map, compass and GPS.
 
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