Lees Paddocks Track Bridge Down

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Lees Paddocks Track Bridge Down

Postby Joe » Fri 17 Aug, 2007 9:01 pm

Was all set to head up to Lewis Lees hut for the weekend. Popped into local outdoor shop to get a couple things...got talking to mate who works there. She tells me that the suspension bridge (this sites venerable icon I believe?) was washed away in the recent floods. So access to lees paddocks is pretty much off the cards at moment. :?
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Postby Pompom » Fri 17 Aug, 2007 10:20 pm

I might be talking out of my ? but a few years ago people could travel down to the very end of the Western shore of Lake Rowallen, At this time of the year that would be only feasible with a 4 wheel drive if it is indeed open. Just a thought.

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Postby Son of a Beach » Sat 18 Aug, 2007 9:53 pm

First time I did Lees Paddocks, we didn't even know there was a bridge (it may have been during the last time the bridge was out... was about 12 years ago?). So we forded the Mersey on foot... I had brand new boots, so it was a good way to wear them in... get them all wet and then keep walking.

On the way back, the young lady in our party fell over fording the river. My brother got a great picture of me grabbing her before she was carried to far down stream... although it wasn't much more than knee deep at the point we crossed at that time.

And 4WD access is certainly possible too, but you may need keys to gates, or know property owners. Same summer, on another trip, we walked the 'Never Never' from Junction Lake to Lees Paddocks (including Mt Ossa) in a single day, and (still not knowing there was a bridge there) couldn't find a good place to ford the river (got very wet and cold trying, in the dark, after a 15 hour day!), we eventually ended up at the hut near the river (not Lees hut) where there was a great fire and a bunch of people there. They helped us get warm and dry again, and then we all piled into the back of a National Parks ute that one of the guys there had, and he drove us back, across the river, and back to our car.

Thanks Lee!!!

I strongly recommend against trying to ford an unknown river in an unknown area after 15 hours of walking in the pitch black. Very unpleasant experience. Lots of angst and a few choice phrases at the time.
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Postby Joe » Sun 19 Aug, 2007 2:00 pm

we opted to do lady lake instead. Had a mate who hadnt done much walking in past so this was a good start for him. *&%$#! awesome weather for it. Trecked down as far as lucy long then turned back. It was soundly decided that a car shuffle trip starting at higgs track on a friday night at lady lake hut, into ironstone hut on saturday night and back out to lake mackenzie on the sunday is the go in near future. If you are interested in joining in shoot me a pm or leave a message here :)
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Postby Speculator » Sun 19 Aug, 2007 5:04 pm

Or indeed, if you've got any information on the trip. I'll be going along, and just looking at the maps, it looks like we'll have to ford the Explorer and maybe Fisher rivers on the way out to Lake MacKenzie? Is that right?

taswaterfalls.com wrote:we opted to do lady lake instead. Had a mate who hadnt done much walking in past so this was a good start for him. bleeding/blood-soaked awesome weather for it. Trecked down as far as lucy long then turned back. It was soundly decided that a car shuffle trip starting at higgs track on a friday night at lady lake hut, into ironstone hut on saturday night and back out to lake mackenzie on the sunday is the go in near future. If you are interested in joining in shoot me a pm or leave a message here :)
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Postby Joe » Sun 19 Aug, 2007 5:32 pm

I reckon our best bet is to follow the eastern side of lake explorer up to explorer creek...then just ford there explorer creek meets lake mackenzie. Be good to have a look at Parsons falls whilst there too...anyone know if they are any good?
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Postby kantonysen » Sun 19 Aug, 2007 6:00 pm

Sounds like a great trip. Just make sure that the water levels are down in Lake McKenzie it will make it a decidedly easier trip. When going into Lake Nameless I make sure that Lake McKenzie is down 4 metres from full when going in via Lake Explorer. It is possible to get lake levels from the Hydro web site. http://www.hydro.com.au/home/Tourism+an ... Levels.htm
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Postby Speculator » Sun 19 Aug, 2007 6:56 pm

kantonysen wrote:Sounds like a great trip. Just make sure that the water levels are down in Lake McKenzie it will make it a decidedly easier trip. When going into Lake Nameless I make sure that Lake McKenzie is down 4 metres from full when going in via Lake Explorer. It is possible to get lake levels from the Hydro web site. http://www.hydro.com.au/home/Tourism+an ... Levels.htm
Cheers
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That's great, thanks for that URL. That could come in quite handy for this and many other walks.
While I'm asking questions, thought I might just ask if anyone's had any luck with fishing in the lakes down that way (particularly near Ironstone)?

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Postby Joe » Sun 19 Aug, 2007 7:53 pm

kantonysen wrote:Sounds like a great trip. Just make sure that the water levels are down in Lake McKenzie it will make it a decidedly easier trip. When going into Lake Nameless I make sure that Lake McKenzie is down 4 metres from full when going in via Lake Explorer. It is possible to get lake levels from the Hydro web site. http://www.hydro.com.au/home/Tourism+an ... Levels.htm
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yeah that is awesome link...cheers!
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Postby kantonysen » Sun 19 Aug, 2007 8:54 pm

When Lake Mc Kenzie is down more than 5 metres it provides a great short cut to Lake Balmoral. Lake Mc Kenzie is virtually cut in half. Lake Balmoral is a beautiful Lake with it's pencil pines. It's not that far onto Lady Lake hut.
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Postby gorby » Thu 20 Sep, 2007 9:37 am

The bridge across the mersey at PineHut is definitley down.
The option of travelling up the western side is for hard core 4WD only with winches and chainsaws.We got there on motorcycles but it was hard work with water up to 3 foot deep in one hole.

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Postby Son of a Beach » Thu 20 Sep, 2007 10:02 am

Nice pic (albeit a bit sad for walkers, and in particular for this site ;) ). Compare with this enlarged version of the site logo for a "before and after" pair of pictures:

Bridge.jpg
Bridge.jpg (165.33 KiB) Viewed 9536 times
Last edited by Son of a Beach on Fri 12 Oct, 2007 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Pine Hut Bridge on the Mersey

Postby corvus » Thu 20 Sep, 2007 7:51 pm

G'day All,
I Cannot believe that this magnificent bridge has gone having used it many times since it was built ,how high did the river get??
This will certainly curtail my little circuit walk from Lees to Pelion /Kia Ora and back down Paddy Hartness track to the Paddocks till Summer when the Mersey subsides and I can cross at the ford as I did after the other bridges were washed out.
The irony of this is that the beaut little bridge built upstream several years ago was not too low just in the wrong place and that Basil Steers Log Bridge just above the new one must have been very sound b4 it too seccumbed to the might of the Mersey. :(
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Postby gorby » Thu 20 Sep, 2007 8:31 pm

Not real sure how much rain we had,but the waterlevel in lake Rowallan rose from 9.6 metres down to almost spilling within a week.
It appears that a branch on a log must have snagged the bridge and then a build up of stuff on that pulled the ropes through the clamps as they were in a pile where they dropped with duct tape jammed in them from around the ropes.

here is a pic from 1991 of the log bridge which was sited just upstream

You may be able to see the sweat on my brow and the poo in my pants
because the effect of the flowing water passing under the log was making me feel quite uneasy.The loose handrail didn't help much either.

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DWC Bridge

Postby tastrekker » Thu 20 Sep, 2007 9:49 pm

While we're compiling a history of Lees Paddocks bridges...

I clearly remember Steers Log in its hey day. Gorby's photo shows the log after it suffered a severe set-back in the late 80s. The log was originally well above the water and stretched from the top of a tall stump on the shingled side of the river to the top of the bank on the cut-in side.

In 1990 (I think), the hand-rail cable was knocked down by floods but the log managed to stay in it's lofty position. One evening my family went up to check the bridge after heavy rain. The river was still in a furious mood as I inched my way over. A mate was leaning on the cable to give it a little tension. Unfortunately my 'mate' did not notice me cross the cable halfway over. He gave it an extra heave in the wrong direction and sent me flying. Somehow my feet stayed on the log and there was just enough tension in the cable to hold me upside-down a whisker above the raging torrent.

A year or two after that episode, the log snapped and only lasted in Gorby's position just above normal water level for a short while.

There was another Mersey River bridge on the Lees Paddocks Track that lasted a mere 3 months. It was a very impressive structure with steel arches at either end. A new track was constructed along the east bank from Moses Creek to the bridge 200 metres above Lewis Falls.

Unfortunately, the bridge was built just above normal river height in a gorge where the river could go no where but up. The hard efforts of walking club volunteers were sadly brought undone by the first flood to come along.

Follow this link to a photo of the ill-fated bridge:
http://bushwalk.com/forum/download/file.php?id=6954&t=1

You can still follow the orange markers from the end of the Mersey Forrest Road over Moses up to the crossing above Lewis Falls. It's a great place to cross but only when the river is VERY low. These orange markers are also the way to access the many falls of Moses Creek.
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Lees Paddock Bridge

Postby norts » Fri 21 Sep, 2007 7:06 pm

We used the ford at Pine Hut last Friday only about knee deep.
It was very funny the Saturday before at the same point, a poor father had to make at least 3-4 trips, carrying across bikes for his children and himself. The water was very cold.

There must have been a alot of water as the Reg Wadley hut missed out by ony a about a metre. You could see the tide mark on the bank below the hut.

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Mersey Crossing

Postby corvus » Fri 21 Sep, 2007 7:24 pm

Good to know that you could use the ford ,did you check out the sapling bridge across the Warruguarra creek because if the the water level was that high at Wadley's the first paddock must have been innundated
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Postby tastrekker » Fri 21 Sep, 2007 8:14 pm

GOOD NEWS!

The bridge is coming back. Today I spoke to the senior PWS ranger responsible for the area. He confirmed the Engineers have done their assessment and Tas Govt insurance is about to do their bit. The bridge will be back by summer. They are rebuilding in the same spot.
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Postby forthferalz » Sat 22 Sep, 2007 4:47 pm

i can see this forum is going to be an awesome resource! keep up the great posts :)
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Postby dee_legg » Tue 02 Oct, 2007 11:16 am

hey everyone. i did a walk in the lee's paddock/ walls area in easter 06. it was a great walk but i can't remember the exact route and after looking at many maps i've never been able to find one that seems right.
all i know is we started at a car park at either fish river or moses creek and after crossing two rivers/ creeks.. one on a bridge and one by rock hopping we climbed for a good hour before coming to a reasonably sized waterfall.
if anyone has any ideas about where they think i might of been it would be great.
it seems pretty pathetic that i don't even know where i walked but oh well.

thanks!
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Postby gorby » Tue 02 Oct, 2007 12:12 pm

a picture of the log bridge over the mersey at pinehut in original position

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Postby tastrekker » Tue 02 Oct, 2007 8:34 pm

dee_legg wrote:all i know is we started at a car park at either fish river or moses creek and after crossing two rivers/ creeks.. one on a bridge and one by rock hopping we climbed for a good hour before coming to a reasonably sized waterfall.


This sounds a lot like Little Fisher to me. I'll create a new topic in this Walks and Locations forum to tell you more.
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Postby tastrekker » Tue 02 Oct, 2007 8:59 pm

tastrekker wrote:
dee_legg wrote:all i know is we started at a car park at either fish river or moses creek and after crossing two rivers/ creeks.. one on a bridge and one by rock hopping we climbed for a good hour before coming to a reasonably sized waterfall.


This sounds a lot like Little Fisher to me. I'll create a new topic in this Walks and Locations forum to tell you more.


...and now that I've re-read dee-legg's post, it could be Moses Creek with the "reasonably sized waterfall being Grail Falls... I'll create another topic dedicated to the Moses and Jackson Creek tracks.
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Postby Tazlizzie » Thu 15 Nov, 2007 9:09 pm

I heard this week that nothing much has happened, regarding the bridge, so it may not be re-built for summer after all. Has any-one heard anything? Cheers, Lizzie.
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Postby Son of a Beach » Fri 16 Nov, 2007 7:03 am

oh well, if there's not been too much rain (or snow melt) the river is fairly easy to ford in one or two places.
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Re: Lees Paddocks Track Bridge Down

Postby Joe » Wed 16 Jan, 2008 9:37 am

Parks and Wildlife wrote:Mersey River swing bridge to Lees Paddocks track is now open
Updated - 14 January 2008

Repairs to the Pine Hut Plain swing bridge that crosses the Mersey River on the Lees Paddocks walking track have now been completed. This bridge was brought down as a result of the flooding of the Mersey River late last year. The restringing, repairs and engineering certification of the bridge has been completed and the bridge is now open again to bushwalkers.
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Re: Lees Paddocks Track Bridge Down

Postby Son of a Beach » Wed 16 Jan, 2008 10:51 am

That's great news! Thanks for letting us know of the official word on this. I think several of us will be grateful for this bridge again on the March long weekend, if not before. :)
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