Trip Report Mac. Springs/ Crosscut Saw/ Mt. Speculation and back. Dec.27-31st.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 took the chance to utilize a good clear and not too hot or windy weather window and trek over the Cross Cut Saw , out and back from the V.G. hut during the last days of Dec. 2021.
It was a long drive from N.E. Melbourne to The Howitt Plains car park via Traralgon , Heyfield , Licola and the rather bumpy, pot holed, dusty and deteriorating Howitt road .
I left home at 0915 and arrived at the Howitt Plains car park at 1615 including a welcome lunch stop and fuel stop at Heyfield.
The flashing sign at the start of the unsealed section of the Tamboritha road said "4WD only: flood damaged road".
The Howitt road has some sections that are bit of a dry river bed but the Tee Mobile was in its element!.

I enjoyed the easy 5 km walk into camp at Macalister Springs. It is a beautiful short walk at a lovely time of the year for wild flowers in the 1400-1700 M. ASL elevation areas of Victoria's Alps.
I was expecting see Ms. A.'s white Subaru car at the Howitt Plains car park but it was not there yet. She must have been delayed. There was a very low slung sports car parked there , like a Lamborghini or some such.
How the F*** did they get that machine up that road?. How will they get it out?. Good luck only runs so far IMHO. They were risking trashing , smashing and crunching
the flux capacitor on their vehicle's under carriage.

Photos from Day one. The scenic drive up from Licola to the Mt. Howitt walking track Trail Head.
27/12/21.

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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
13,709
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813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
27th Dec. 2021. Walking into Mac. Springs. I was expecting it to be horrifically busy but it was not over run with mongers who had dragged in car camping tents and tend to do their dishwashing in the actual spring waters, light camp fires when & where they are banned and usually leaving unburnt litter behind in the fire scarred areas they have created, not sweeping the hut clean on departure etc. etc . etc..
:-0
I did meet a couple at the car park who had a young baby in a back pack who were heading for camping near the hut.
I didn't know Bogong Equipment or the Wilderness shop sold babies.
;-P
I walked along the 20 minute route to V.G. Hut because it is more scenic and the foot pad is less well maintained than the 4 WD track the rangers use to reach the camping area.

I set up my tent , ate some dinner and went for a photo walk to enjoy the sunset over Mt. Speculation.
I met a bushwalker at the hut who contributes to the Bushwalking website. He is relatively new to this pastime and the Buller/ Howitt region and was looking at his options for walking in the area.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
13,709
14,827
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Day 2 .
Dec. 28th 2021.
Fellow hiker Ms. A. , (veteran of numerous Mr . Tee trekking campaigns) appeared at Mac. Springs at breakfast time and we were off to hike to Mt. Spec. together at 0730. Happy days!. She was running late and had slept in the car at the Howitt Plains car park the previous night.
Driving up that road in the dark would not have been fun but her Subaru car was fine.
I stopped for nature's call at the Loo with a view before starting the mission au proper.
It was a clear morning with a cool breeze. Good weather for bushwalking.
Some fair weather clouds rolled past us while were starting the walk out into the Viking Wilderness.
Nobody has sold me the Viking Circuit hike to me very well. The South Viking Spur bush bash and the Zeka Spur track ascent from the Wonnangatta River both sound like an ordeal .
Ms. A. had not really eaten a proper breakfast so we stopped before reaching Mt. Buggery for a snack. We had lunch on the summit of Mt Buggery. There is a foot pad that leads to Queen's spur but that route down to the old Queen's Spur logging road is also accompanied by many horror hike stories told by many different trekkers.
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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.
Mt. Buggery to Mt. Speculation.
The Horrible Gap was indeed horrible & steep and that section of the Australian Alps Walking track ( AAWT) needs a major haircut and some chainsaw work. The ascent up to Mt. Spec. required some steep rock scrambling where you had to pay attention to what you were doing.
There are some superb old snow gum trees growing out there.
@Ramshead : This is possibly the best part of the whole AAWT IMHO . I have walked good chunks of (if not all these sections )
the 4 main sections which keen bushwalker David Sisson has recommended as being the true highlights.
They are
1. The Baw Baws
2. Mt. McDonald to Mt. Speculation.
3. The Twins to Mt. Wills.
4. K.N.P. from Dead Horse Gap to near Mt. Selwyn.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
13,709
14,827
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Day 2.
Setting up camp at Mt. Spec. and getting water from Camp Creek. It was too windy to camp on the true top of the Mt. Spec. summit near the famous snow gum tree. We camped a bit lower down but still got some views .
The trek involved some bush bashing and steep rock scrambling so the travel guitar stayed in the car which worked out well in the end.
My knees liked the lighter weight too.
Day one and day two had cold nights which meant sleeping bags were zipped up as the nights passed.
We had views of :the Terrible hollow; Mt. Cobbler ; Mt. Howitt and of Mt. Buffalo and all spaces in between.
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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 3. Dec. 30 th 2021. An early start on a Wednesday with Sunrise at Mt. Spec. and trekking back over the Cross cut saw to The Macalister springs camping area. We stopped for a snack at Mt. Buggery , for lunch at the Stanley name spur track junction and to visit the summit of Mt. Howitt . There was no water in the soak on the side of the mountain where a sign on Mt. Howitt says: "Water 200 M.----->".

We did have to take our packs off to descend the two steep rocky sections on Mt. Speculation. A rope for pack hauling would have been handy but we lowered our packs down to each other which made for a safer descent.
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echidna

Part of the Furniture
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Ah nothing puts life in perspective better than a high wander in the Wonnangatta. We even managed to get a snow cave into Speculation one year.

Some fair weather clouds rolled past us while were starting the walk out into the Viking Wilderness.
Nobody has sold me the Viking Circuit hike to me very well. The South Viking Spur bush bash and the Zeka Spur track ascent from the Wonnangatta River both sound like an ordeal .
The circuit's been good enough for me to walk it twice a longish while ago.

Nav around the Razor was a little tricky with a few false leads.
There's water down from Viking Saddle, and a sheltered campsite on the Saddle.
There's a few small campsites on top of the Viking I'd especially recommend, my all time favourite sunrise of many was from there.
Viking Spur was pretty easy, only the last few hundred meters to the river was thicker. But how good is that river.
Zeka Spur's not for newbies, but pretty open so you can just amble up through the grass rather than slogging along the dusty track itself.

It's a big three days and I wouldn't choose hot ones, but from your other trips I'd say you're good for it.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
13,709
14,827
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
Day 4.
Walking out back to the car( we saw a snake on the track !) , visiting the lookout near the King Billy track / Howitt road intersection( great views of Mt. Magdala and Mt. Stirling in the far distance), visiting Howitt Hut, lunch and a day walk around Bryce's Gorge and car camping after a swim in the Wellington river . A good day out .We camped with the Xmas holidays knuckle draggers at "Mutton Wood" camp site by the Wellington river.

The brain dead rock apes were doing all the things one would expect from failed de-evolutionary Neanderthals in order to despoil the beautiful surroundings, wake the dead and generally make themselves insufferable.
I will list :blasting out ear splitting doof doof noise until late ; firecrackers being thrown into a huge bonfire well after 11 pm , yelling like drunken maniacs at all hours and throwing litter everywhere.
Going over to their campsites with some logs in the car and starting up the chainsaw at 04.30- 5.30 am seemed like a fair exchange but I rose above the temptation.

"Shazza you're a moll"
"Chooka , you're a character!"
"Dazza, you can go get F*cked , you threw up in my sleeping bag again!"
" I 'm getting BLOIIIIIYND tonight miiiiiiiiiite!".

Their repartee was dense and thought provoking.
However the worst offenders were some Iranis who usually have excellent manners in my experience except for when they are released from a repressive theocracy in Western Asia and then allowed to do as they please. It was not decorous or considerate of others at all.
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The view of Mt. Magdala, Hell's Window and a distant Mt. Stirling as seen from the junction of King Billy Track and The Howitt Road( 1600 M. ASL ). All hail the powers of the Soft Roader SUV ( Subaru and RAV4 ).
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
13,709
14,827
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
.Day 5 .
Dec. 31st 2021.
A Road trip .Going home the scenic way.
The Journey from Licola to Mt. Skene to Jamieson and home to Bendigo for Ms. A. and back to Melbourne for your correspondent. It was HOT down in the Valley .
The sun was vicious. The first real heat wave of summer was upon us.

We got petrol at 9 am on the dot from Licola ( @$1.99 per litre FFS ) and
started the L O N G drive home via detour via Target Creek road up to Primrose gap and the Link road before rejoining the Licola to Jamieson road.
The Mt. Skene road was OK up to the first AAWT track junction. As we climbed up the hill it became a real PITA with large loose rocks and wash outs and crawling in low gears in our cars became necessary.
We ate lunch up there with the snow gums and march flies. The views towards Mt. Buller were first rate.
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

Not your average unconventional eccentric.
Ski Pass
Jul 29, 2015
13,709
14,827
813
Melbourne, Lockdown-i-stan .
soundcloud.com
We should have carried water with us and camped at Connor's Plain. It was deserted (and much cooler at 1200 M.ASL ) when we stopped there on the road trip home.
Great pics and story. For New Years you want to get away from crowds or you'll have an experience like you had.
 
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