By Wednesday evening, 25 A/B walkers were happily enjoying the welcome barbecue in the comfort of the Schuss ski lodge, while anticipating the next 6 days of hiking in comfortable mid to high 20’s temperatures which offered far more pleasant conditions than the mid 40’s temperatures we escaped in Adelaide.
Andrew and Elaine had clearly spent hours planning the week’s walks with Andrew using his free day between the two camps to complete a ‘recce’ to achieve his goal of walkers enjoying hikes around a long and high circumference of Falls Creek to take in the panoramas that this picturesque alpine-country provides.
The first 2 days in the Pretty Valley, Watchbed Creek Rocky Valley and Mt Cope area eased us into the walks and allowed us to discover who else was in the area as we chatted with people at a horse riding camp, mountain bike riders taking advantage of the many bike riding tracks in the region and runners: clearly decades younger and fitter than us.
Later in the week we climbed Mt Jaithmathang (pronounced Yate-Me- Tung), Mt Nelse and Spion Kopje, and on the last day the climb up from Howmans Gap to Mt McKay afforded us spectacular views of Mt Feathertop, Mt Bogong, Mt Jim and the Fainters. Congratulations to the five A walkers who undertook the 2 hour return drive and 4 hour climb up 1400metres to reach the top of Mt Bogong. We were delighted to welcome them home Tuesday evening after their 11 hour day.
The vegetation was colourful with an abundance of wildflowers; yellow, white and purple daisies, bidgee widgee flowers which stick to socks and boots, austere, silver snow gums and bushes at a height which caused Tin to disappear as she searched for a track. Thank goodness for your red jacket Tin!
Wild life was just as interesting: brumbies (across the flats as we left Mt Jim), robins, rosellas, lizards, butterflies and march flies which seemed larger than most of the fish we saw in the aqueduct and streams. We didn’t see a real Bogong moth, but we did enjoy the mural painted on the water tank not far from our lodge. The Bogong moth has long been prized by Aborigines in the area for its nutty flavour and high protein content. A Bogong moth roast is a great celebration.
There were very few built structures on our walks with the exception of the cattlemen’s huts and Wallace’s hut built in the 1890’s but still standing and providing shelter during increment weather.
Many thanks to our walk leaders, tail enders and people who provided their cars for car shuffling. Thanks also to those experienced hikers who were so giving of their time, knowledge and encouragement for those of us who were on our first camp. We appreciated your mentoring and encouragement to challenge ourselves. Special thanks to Andrew, our camp leader and Elaine, his supremely organised assistant for their meticulous attention to detail, sense of fun and hours of planning which ensured that enjoyable walks were available to all participants. Thanks also to Sue who was injured and unable to walk but spent considerable time assisting Elaine and all of us by sorting out the kitchen during our absence each day. We owe you next camp Sue!