Hotham - Machinery spur to Blair Hut and Diamentina spur to

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Hotham - Machinery spur to Blair Hut and Diamentina spur to

Postby paddlpop » Mon 02 Oct, 2017 9:07 pm

High country 3 day hike..
Left Melbourne at 5.00am and paeked the car at Bungalow spur around 8.30. Wandered down to the road and plonked myself outside the General Store with my 'Hotham please' sign. It was drizzling a little and I hoped the wait wouldn't be too long....not much traffic so thought Id give it an hour and if no luck I'd simply trudge up Bungalow....
Less than 10 mins and about the fifth car along pulled over! Guy was a backcountry skier and hiker who was also heading to the Loch car park. I reckon that Loch carpark must be the windiest place in Australia....every time I've been there its absolutely howling...I mean serious wind..not this namby pamby gale force stuff...!!
Aside from the Beaufort scale 14 breeze it was hailing too and viz was down to 50m. Great...going to be navigationally challenged from the get go! Took shelter in a little rest area at one of the top lift stations while I checked map, took a bearing and set the GPS to my pre plotted waypoints to the head of machinery spur. Headed off towards Mt Loch and after leaving the resort boundary found myself in virgin snow. A couple of waypoint checks and it was time to turn down the spur toward Red Robin Mine. Snow quality wasnt bad and the going quite good. It was nice to be out of the wind.
I reached the mine and found that a shelter had been made so took advantage and stopped fir a cup of tea.

Less than 1km down the track the snow petered out so off came the snowshoes. The clouds disappeared and the sun came out so the walk along the West Keiwa logging road was lovely.

About an hour later I arrived at Blair Hut and as predicted not a soul in sight! The hut was a complete mess...Looks like some hunteres cached NZ military ration packs but the critters had got in to them and trashed everything.
On the way in I came across a solitary MSR Evo Ascent snowshoe....theres no way from Blairs that doesn't involve snow so I imagine theres a very unhappy bunny out there somewhere...and about $450 out of pocket. I left it on the shelf in the hut as wasn't going to cart it out.

The hut was well stocked with wood so I headed to the further campfire site, pitched the tent and carried several armfuls of wood.
Fantastic evening - quite mild so sat out by the fire sipping Fireball until 9.00pm or so.

Woke at 5.30 so got up and thought to make the most of the beautiful but frosty morning and maybe hit the snow on Diamentina spur while still crunchy. The river is running pretty high and fast so had to walk back the 700m to the trail before moving on.

Stopped briefly at the base if the spur for a quick rest stop and a big drink....onward and upward....2 hours of climbing and had covered about 2/3 of the elevation gain. Had been travelling in snow for about an hour so found a patch of rock at the start of the arette and stopped to have a cup of tea and soak up the day. Almost an hour past so headed upward once more. The snow was pretty unconsolidated and quite grainy a mushy so more ofton than not I was kicking steps in the snowshoes!!! A couple of hairy minor slips but more of a slog thsn anything.
Topped out at the usual campsite we use but the snow was wet as were my feet so I thought I'd just trot over to Fed hut. Well rhat waz an understatement.....took *&%$#! hours to get there and I foolishly followed several sets of snowshoe prints traversing Mollys Hill....after taking two big slides down hill I realised that whoever I was following had no idea where they were going! Anyway...7 hours after leaving Blair Hut I fell into Fed hut in a fairly shattered state!

A fire was going and the only occupants were a couple if backcountry skiers. I usually avoid huts but this one was definitely welcomed.

Up before dawn this morning to another bluebird day...smashed out the descent down Bungalow Spur in 2hrs flat and still felt good!

Home by 3pm feeling really good about the 3 days alone. A great hike with some gruelling aspects but so satisfying. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy the occasional solo trip.

Bring on the next one!
Nothofagus gunnii
Nothofagus gunnii
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