Friends of Bogong

24 - 25 March 2012


Pam, Margaret, Geoff, Rod, Rudi in front of Mt Cope

Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 March 2012 Work Party – Mt Cope Walking Track

More photos here

On the Saturday, we met our liaison Ranger Rudi at the Mt Beauty Works Depot at 8.20am.  Rudi showed us the biggest pile of permatreads on the back of the big dump truck (borrowed from Mt Buffalo) and said that was our day’s work ahead of us.  Then he grinned and said it was for another project.  Whew!!!  We then drove up to the High Plains and around Howman’s Gap we noticed lots of white stuff.  It had snowed all Friday night.  We drove onwards to the Mt Cope Walking Track car park for our day’s work and to meet our intrepid campers [Margaret T, Pam, Marianne and Geoff had camped at Raspberry Saddle and woke up to lots of snow!!]   We had a brief chat (in the icy wind) with Ranger Rudi about the day’s planned activity and then Rudi made an executive decision – let’s go and have a look at the Wallace’s Hut restoration project.  All agreed as it was absolutely freezing standing in the wind. 

We drove across to the Wallace’s Hut car park and Rudi gave us a guided tour of the new signage and facilities.  The seats and picnic tables are in the shape of Bogong Moths, and the shelter and elevated platform have an interesting contour.  We then inspected the historical signage – and yes – the Teachers’ in the group spotted the spelling and contextual errors (no proof reading at the sign writers!!).  We then went to have at look at Wallace’s Hut.  The restoration is by the Victorian High Country Huts Association and they are using traditional skills with bush adzes and bush craft.  The Hut has been raised to its original height (it had slumped on its rotting foundations) and a new chimney has been built.  Old rotting timber has now been replaced and wooden pegs and rescued old original nails have been used.  It should be completed before winter.

Ranger Rudi then received an emergency call and had to leave us and drive across to Roper’s Hut to rescue an injured hiker (suspected broken ankle).  Margaret G and Betty went with Rudi as they were staying at Happy Larry’s for the Saturday night.  The rest of us then walked the Wallace’s Hut to Cope Hut  and return ‘Heritage Trail’ starting with a visit of the Wilky site (Wilkinson Lodge burnt down in 2004 and many of the group had stayed there on winter ski trips).  We then walked along the aqueduct past Rover’s Lodge (no one home) and then up the Australian Alps Walking Track to Cope Hut (with a rest at the wooden seat for the view – a Friends of Bogong grant).  The snow was finally starting to melt and we escaped the icy wind by going inside Cope Hut.  There are recent repairs with new insulation put into the roof ceiling.  Margaret T then gave the hut floor a good sweeping.  We continued along the ‘Heritage Trail’ admiring the views across the High Plains and reading the Interpretation Signs (ie Maise's Plot sign stating that scientific studies show the cattle grazing does do significant damage to the plants/wildflowers.!!!).   We went along the tourist trail with its permatread, steel bridges and rock stepping stones, then another rest at a wooden seat for the view (FoB grant?), then along to the Wallace’s Hut track.  A very pleasant ramble as most of the walk was sheltered from the icy wind.  We then decided to have a late lunch at Bucketty’s Campsite and joined in with the VMTC (navigation weekend) who were camped there.  We enjoyed lunch in the sun and joined in with David and Lyn Miller, Helen and Julia who were doing navigation plotting exercises.  And we were very lucky to be invited to their campfire that evening for one of David Miller’s famous Camp Oven Roast Lamb and Vegies gourmet dinners.  We couldn’t refuse such a kind invitation.

At 5pm some of us went for a walk down to Faithfull’s Hut (very clean and the usually locked side door was open and we went in for a look).  We then walked back up along the creek and then cut across the snow plain back to camp.  A beautiful walk that whetted the appetite.

We joined the VMTC group and the warm and cheery campfire for appetizers / entrees and watched the Camp Oven do its work.  We enjoyed a fantastic dinner for sixteen (six FoB and ten from VMTC).  The Roast Lamb and veggies (potato, pumpkin, sweet potato, beans) and mint sauce were delicious (My Bush Kitchen Rules score of 10/10).  We then helped devour the sweets (Triple Chocolate Roll, Sticky Date Pudding and Apple Crumble with a choice of cream or custard or both.  Yummy, yummy and yummy.)


After breakfast, we left our frosty tents up to dry in the morning sun.  We drove across to the Mt Cope Walking Track car park to meet Ranger Rudi, Margaret G and Betty.  Geoff and Marianne had trouble with their Nissan 4WD as the diesel just didn’t like the cold weather!!  It caused some concern as it stalled with a diesel warning light on.  After some warming in the morning sun the 4WD was OK.

We worked on realigning a section of the Mt Cope Walking Track, digging out a trench to lay permatreads, pegging them down and backfilling the braids and channels to stop further erosion.  We had a great team effort going and somehow we worked through our usual morning tea break.  On realising this error we called “elevenses” and Ranger Rudi surprised us with a giant Boston Bun fresh from the bakery and Thermoses for coffee and tea.  We continued on and laid 46 pematreads in total then packed up for a late lunch.  We enjoyed lunch under a magnificent old snow gum in the sunshine with Ranger Rudi telling stories about his Omeo district rangering and recent exploits on the Allan - Black Line (the straight line on the border).  The exploration party had built their Plinth/Trig points as large Stone Markers and with plenty of empty Gin bottles marking their campsites!!  We then started the journey home (some stayed for another night) and met up again with some of the VMTC party at the Mt Beauty bakery.

Attending:  Rod Novak, Jim Harker, Margaret Graham, Betty Witt, Margaret Timbury, Pam Gardiner, Geoff Kelly and Marianne Watt.