Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mt Feathertop, Victoria - Bungalow Spur return - April 2013 (2-day hike)

I have set a new PB here with what is close to a two year delay in getting out a trip report!  But the delay in finishing this post is symtomatic of the last couple of years for me. After this walk blogging went came crashing to a halt and I didn't do another overnight trip for 10 months - until early Spring 2015, in fact. The reason for the gap was that I'd been struggling for a while with some osteo arthritis in my hips and after this walk I decided to park further activity until I'd had surgery, planned for later in 2013, followed by a few month's of recovery.

Anyways, my second daughter, Harli - probably feeling sorry for her usually solo-walking father - asked to join me on an overnight hike.  Realising this was quite possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share a walk in the wilderness with my usually, creature comforts-loving teenager, I readily agreed.

Route selection was critical.  Remembering the less-than-favourable reviews I'd received from family members who'd joined me on a previous hike that got a little - er - challenging, I looked for a route that was short (2 days) and on well-maintained tracks, but still involved a decent workout in the high country.   A return walk to Mt Feathertop from Harrietville, via Bungalow Spur, fitted the bill perfectly.

This would be my second visit to Mt Feathertop, having done a fabulous snow shoe trek there in winter 2012.  This time, rather than the white and greys of Winter. the walk would be done during Autumn -  red. brown and green the predominant colours, but also black also present everywhere, due to bush fires two month's earlier.

Um, yes we did.   Let's just call it
convenient carb-loading

We broke up the long drive to Harrietville with debates over who's music to listen to and with stops at a well-known 'Scottish' restaurant and at the town of Bright.

Harli in downtown Bright

Bright is a pretty little town.  A generally rustic feel is boosted in the Autumn, when a wide variety of deciduous trees throughout the town add an amazing amount of colour.

After a brief comfort stop in Harrietville, we were on the trail just after 1pm.   As we made our way up the track signs of the recent bush fires were everywhere, often surrounding the track - this would have been no place to be during the fires.  The severity of the fires made for a stark, dramatic landscape over much of the path.
Harli with the smile of blissful ignorance, before the walk up Bungalow Spur

Deep in thought (about food, probably)
Autumn and bush fire makes for a stark beauty

Burnt trees on Bungalow Spur

Some kind of grasshopper
(Sir David Attenborough I'm not)

South from Bungalow Spur

The weather was perfect and we made good time. We arrived at Federation Hut a little after 4pm, 3 hours after starting.   I was quietly impressed at my teenage companion, who handled the stiff climb without complaint.

The camping area around the hut was busy, with 5-6 largish groups.  We pitched the Minaret and headed up to Mt Feathertop.

Harli and the Macpac Minaret outside Federation Hut

Toilet block at Fed Hut

Camp site at Fed Hut

The route to Feathertop is steep in places, but with a well defined and maintained path, including steps in places.  The views as we climbed, were fantastic and at the summit, in the twilight, the views got even better.

Walk to Mt Feathertop

Approaching Feathertop's summit

View from Mt Feathertop

Harli on Mt Feathertop

Looking towards the summit of Mt Feathertop

Harli & me, loving the windy conditions on Mt Feathertop

Failed superman pose - came out a bit fascist.

The wind gusts were strong

Mt Feathertop is right...there

We returned to the hut as night fell.

View from above Fed Hut, towards across the Cross Cut Saw

We headed off early the next morning, enjoying a final few hours of shared wilderness.

Near Federation Hut

Trail near Fed Hut

Harli on trail near Fed Hut

Burnt our trail down Bungalow Spur

Bush fire autumn on Bungalow Spur

Whooping it up

Final team selfie

If you've read a few of my posts here, you already know how much I enjoy "a walk in the woods". But I find just as much - no - more enjoyment in being able to share such places with my children.   I know I'm not alone of this - I regularly encounter parents and their kids on the trails and I love that this happens.  The more I get out into the wilderness, the more I appreciate its value to people - offering a connection with something bigger and deeper than ourselves.  And it is only fair and sensible that kids should get to experience that same connection early, awakening in them the recognition of the need to have nature as a part of their lives.

(Message to Harli!  Do come out again some time.  ML, Daddio.)

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