Walking the Bogong High Plains Trails – B & C Camp January 8th– 14th.
My first ARPA camp did not disappoint in any way and was an inspiring way to commence a new year of walking. The organisational skills and daily ministrations of Elaine and Andrew ensured all aspects of the camp and walks went smoothly for our group of 23 walkers. Thank you from all of us. Also, a special mention to Murray who volunteered his services to make our stay as comfortable as possible. His freshly made batches of scones and Christmas pudding hit the spot after long days of walking. The Schuss chalet is extremely well equipped and the kitchen facilities inspiring as evidenced by the gourmet meals being served. Apart from one shower on the first day of walking the weather was kind for the remaining walks.
Our first day of walking saw us sharing the path with approximately 100 runners all vying for personal best times. We also benefited from an explanation of the extensive aqueduct system by Chris and noted the numerous brown trout swimming in a healthy waterway. Those of us not familiar with Falls Creek in summer soon discovered that mountain creek walking is a great way to discover the beauty of the Alpine environment.
Over the remaining days we noted the juxtaposition of the sparsely vegetated, wide open plains and the diversity of the plants along the paths we trod on lower ground. The violets, trigger plants and the striking red of the star fish fungus, along with the various orchids including the rarely seen cinnamon bells, delighted us all. The occasional gang-gang cockatoo was also sighted. Such was the beauty of the area that many of us walked on the rest day. Sadly, whilst walking the picturesque Pack Horse Track we noted the presence of blackberries.
The devastating bushfires of 2003 and 2006 are still much in evidence as large patches of white, skeletal snow gum branches reach upwards and provide a mystical feel to the landscape. We were fortunate to be provided with information by Mick from Parks Victoria regarding the challenges in maintaining the area. It was pleasing to hear that the brumbies were passively removed from Victorian Alpine Parks.
The short gully climb to the small basalt knoll of Roper’s Lookout rewarded us with a panoramic view of the resort and surrounding high country. There are in excess of 50 huts spread throughout the Bogong High Plains and we glimpsed the past with the heritage listed Wallace Hut. Built in 1889 from snow gum slabs and woollybutt shingle it sheltered cattlemen moving their herds to the high country to graze in summer. En route to Johnstone’s Hut we sighted a patch of snow yet to melt.
We concluded a very enjoyable week with a dinner at a local restaurant and said our farewells to new and old friends.