Mt Bogong Walk: 26th - 28th January 2007

Participants: Mark, Mark and Mark, Patty and David

Years in the planning (not really, but it seemed that way) and we were finally off to our walk (not climb) up the highest peak in Victoria.

We were all bundled into the one car, very heavily loaded with an assortment of camping gear and headed off up the Hume Freeway on a very beautiful and promisingly sunny and warm weekend.

Lunch was had at a Bakery in Euroa, and the journey was pretty well uneventful until we spotted an echidna on the roadside on the road towards Mongans Bridge.

This was one very unintimidated little echidna. Normally these guys burrow into the ground at the first sign of somebody approaching, but this guy was quite happy to go about his business along with posing for our cameras. Not sure what David was intending to do with that stick though...

Hopping from one valley to the next, we eventually had our destination in sight. Mt Bogong, with an impressive elevation (for Australia) of 1986 metres above sea level. Given base camp was at about 600 metres above sea level, we had a decent climb ahead of us tomorrow.

Finding a spot to camp was a little difficult. There was no campsite set up for camper trailers, and all of the campsites had their car parking spots blocked by walker's cars who were up camping up on the mountain or doing a day trip. We eventually managed to squeeze into a nice little spot just by Mountain Creek.

The Chantanont's new tent was impressive, though this new model lacked the water feature of the last one.

Ahhh, with the campsite all set up, it was time to cool off and relax...

We cooked up a very tasty roast beef with all the trimmings for dinner. We would need the energy for our hike in the morning. Mark did an excellent job of prepping the cow. As usual, we ate like pigs.

A few kilometres into the walk, and the Staircase Trail departs from the 4WD track alongside Mountain Creek, and starts to climb, at times relentlessly, upwards.

After hours of tiring climbing (for me anyway) we reached Bivouac Hut for a short rest.

This is where the Staircase gets it's name. The track was now climbing quite steeply, and boulders and rocks formed steps as the trail continued upwards. I heard a rustling in the scrub to the left of the track, and sure enough a young Red-Bellied Black Snake made it's way across the path in front of us before disappearing back into the bush.

We lunched on the trail near the edge of the tree line, enjoying tasty salad sandwiches and magnificent views.

The path continued upwards, and in the distance we could see our return path down Eskdale Spur, not looking anywhere near as steep as it would later reveal itself to be.

As we continued we passed a rocky gorge, with some awesome views back into the valley of Mt Beauty. The Devil's Delight geocache that was near here, however eluded me.

But I did find a beautifully coloured grasshopper. I've seen brown, golden and green grasshoppers, but never a blue one before!

Are we there yet? The trail continues on and on, and my legs are getting heavier and heavier.

We pass a monument to some hikers who perished in a blizzard. Hard to imagine the differences in weather conditions when we had such a lovely warm day.

Finally at the summit. Time for a well earned rest. And a photo opportunity.

We spent quite a while enjoying the Bogong Summit, but eventually it was time to start heading back down.

Michell Hut looked like it was brand new. I guess the previous hut must have been destroyed in the 2003 fires.

It was a very long way back down, and about 4 kilometres longer than I really would have wanted it to be. The path down was very steep, steeper than the Staircase on the way up I'd guess. Back at camp, some of us still had some energy to burn!

The two kilos we lost on the walk was quickly compensated for by eating 4 kilos of food...

We shared our fire with some Korean and Thai students who were camping in the area. We tried some Kim Chi, and enjoyed hearing of the adventures and hardships of life in the Korean Military Services.

Four kilos of food wasn't enough to ensure full recuperation from the walk, so we topped it off with another 2 kilos of Bacon and Eggs. Mmmm, very tasty.

A last look at our conquest. We drove through forest that was recently burnt in the 2006 fires, and stopped off for a coffee in Bright on our journey back home. A fantastic weekend, and a great walk to the highest peak in Victoria.