Trip Report: Bogong Village to Stony Creek

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I had two free days before Christmas so my outdoor-obsessed mate Andrew and I went on a quick walk through some of Victoria’s finest mountains. Following the success of my double-ended solo crossover walk the previous weekend (see Walk into History) we decided to try the same concept but on an overnighter. We both do the same walk but start at opposite ends – meeting in the middle to camp for the night and swap car keys. It worked well: No car shuffles, you can walk at your own pace and you have someone to talk to at night.

Andrew knows the high country better than me so he planned the route – but when your hiking partner is founder of the group Melbourne Hard Core Hikers you know the route is going to be a challenge. It turned out to be over 50km including some serious ups and downs.

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Click on the map to enlarge and see the route we took

We had excellent weather and I discovered some great places I had not previously been to. The standout locations for me were around the Fainters and the Bogong High Plains – two areas I am planning to get back to this winter.

The walk from Bogong Village to Bogong Jack Saddle was very straightforward – some would say boring. But I knew I had a long day ahead and the easy fire trails meant I could cover some distance and get some height with little effort.

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Bogong Jack Saddle

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Fainter Fire Track

In an effort to save my energy I didn’t make the short detours to walk the summits of the Fainters – plus I wanted to leave myself a good reason to return to this idyllic part of the high country.

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Freaky dead tree

I had planned to walk over Mt Jaithmathang on my way to Tawonga Huts, but when I got to where I thought the trail should start I couldn’t find where to go. The country was very open and if I was  motivated I could have made it up there – but the Fainter Fire Track was easy walking and I decided to bypass yet another 1800m+ summit. When I reached Tawonga Huts I was surprised to find no one else there so I took a 30 minute break to look around and dehumidify my boots.

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Bogong High Plains looking towards Mt Jim

Shortly afterwards I hit the Bogong High Plains near Mt Jim. Some people may find this area flat, desolate and boring – but I thought it was quite spectacular and it had a really good vibe. I am keen to return and spend the night up there somewhere although I reckon it would be pretty nasty in a storm.

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A highlight of the trip was when I spotted a six pack of free range horses on the high plains. It was like a scene out of The Man from Snowy River or Brokeback Mountain except without the man-love.

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The track to Weston’s Hut offered idyllic high country walking

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Approaching Weston’s Hut

I visited some other huts on this trip I hadn’t been to before so I have added photos of the following huts to my earlier post on Huts of the High Country

  • Bogong Jack Hut
  • Tawonga Huts
  • Weston Hut
  • Blair Hut
  • MUMC Hut

I made it to the rendezvous point at  Blair Hut and Andrew showed up  shortly afterwards with tales of how easy North West Spur was.

I normally carry a lot of gear – but for this trip I decided to travel a bit lighter given the fine weather and distance to be covered. So I borrowed Mrs Bretto’s pack and left most of the “nice to have” items at home including my stove. I decided salami and cheese would do for dinner as it was only one night. Although ultralight backpackers would still scoff at my pack weight it was quite a change from my usual load.

Although I have had many afternoon naps in a hammock, I have never used one as an alternative to a tent when hiking. So Andrew and myself decided to try sleeping in hammocks for the first time.

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I am pretty sure it is more comfortable if the hammock isn’t resting on the ground?

We met a couple of guys camping at Blair Hut so we shared their fire and a few hiking stories over dinner.

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Fortunately by the time we went to sleep Andrew’s hammock was above the ground. Note the sleeping mat underneath for warmth and his MYOG Tyvek bivi bag and insect mesh.

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I am lucky that my mate Stovemaster Niko has a garage full of camping gear he doesn’t have the time to use. So I borrowed his Hennessy hammock for the trip. At 1.3kg including the tarp it was a welcome weight saving over my 3kg tent.

I can’t say I slept very well but the Hennessy hammock is a very impressive piece of gear. I think it would take a bit of practice to get it hanging just right to ensure a comfortable night. It is an asymmetric design and I worked out later that I slept in it the wrong way which probably didn’t help. I would certainly try it out again if Niko lets me.

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The West Branch of the Kiewa River will cleanse your thirst – but I had to make sure I filled by water bottles upstream of my very naked friend refreshing himself.

We got an early start on Day 2 as I was keen to get as far up Diamantina spur as possible before the morning sun would hit me. So Andrew and I swapped car keys and went our separate ways. Unfortunately I only got about half an hour up the spur before I was hit by the summer sun.

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The lower sections of the Diamantina Spur track were partly overgrown as shown above and steep in sections – but overall it is quite a pleasant walk.

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Mt Feathertop

It seemed that sunscreen, spiderwebs and sweat is a delicious combination for the big, biting flies I encountered in this area. The nasty pricks were very cunning and would always pick the exact moment I was pre-occupied doing something important to attack me.

Although I have been up Mt Feathertop a couple of times before I decided to hit the summit as I felt pretty slack for bypassing some peaks the previous day.

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The upper sections of the North West Spur were relatively open and easy going as shown above – but as I got further down the track was long, steep and hot. Temperatures reached over 80 degrees Celsius in my pants.

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I was pleased to see this creek as it marked the end of the main descent down the North West Spur.

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The track then gets easy and follows Stony Creek to the parking area. I was pretty shagged by the time I got back. It was a warm, sunny day and I spent most of the day sweating as I walked up and down the hills so I was very mindful of my water and salt intake. By the end of the walk I didn’t feel too good but I couldn’t work out if I was mildly dehydrated or over-hydrated.

Motivation for the last hour of the walk was provided by thoughts of the charcoal chicken I was going to inhale when I got to Bright. So I was shattered to find out that the shop wouldn’t have any BBQ birds ready for 15 minutes! I wasn’t waiting for 15 minutes. I was hungry. I had to get back to Melbourne. I couldn’t stay in one spot for too long because I smelt like I had crawled out of a dumpster. So I drove on disappointed…….a valuable lesson that you should always keep an emergency chicken in your car.

If you are going walking in this area I recommend Spatial Vision’s Bogong map:

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7 thoughts on “Trip Report: Bogong Village to Stony Creek”

  1. What a great way to spend a weekend, love the idea of walking from each end and car swapping. I have been curious about the hammock options for camping for awhile now as I live in Singapore – to hot for a tent here. They don’t seem that comfortable?

    1. Thanks for your feedback Grant. I think a properly setup hammock would be at least as comfortable as a tent/air mattress combo – but everyone is different and it wouldn’t suit some people. Hammocking isn’t as popular here in Australia compared to the US – where you will find many websites dedicated to the art of hammocking.
      If I was going to buy a hammock for camping I would certainly be looking for a double-bottom model. I know Hennessy have a couple of models with double floors:
      http://hennessyhammock.com/catalog/#hammock
      I think this would make it much easier to manage your sleeping mat in cooler conditions but more importantly enable you to sleep without a mat in warm conditions while hopefully not getting bitten on the butt by mosquitoes.
      I haven’t ever seen one in person but I would like to try out Exped’s Ergo Hammock Combi:
      http://www.exped.com/en/product-category/hammocks/ergo-hammock-combi#prettyPhoto
      This looks like a sweet setup with a double bottom.

  2. Hi Bretto. Should the emergency chicken be kept alive in your vehicle or pre-ccoked for easier and quicker consumption ? Some pretty awesome shots you have taken there too. Good job !

    1. Thanks for your comment Trevor. The type of chicken really depends on the duration of the trip because I find a live chicken can really damage the cars upholstery after a few days. Really not a problem if you borrow a friend’s car though.

  3. I have a Hennessy hammock and it’s fantastic for solo trips. You just need a night or 2 with different conditions of setting up, and you’ll have it worked out no trouble. I’ve been with it in the snow and summer, and it’s bloody cold in the snow!
    I’m waiting on my hilleberg Nammatj gt to arrive for this year’s winter!

    1. Yes I can see the hammock has some definite potential for solo travel (at least in the warmer months) but I certainly need a bit more experience setting up to get it hanging just right.
      The Nammatj GT is a good looking tent but a Kaitum 2 (non-GT) would be a most welcome addition to my gear room. But it is a tough choice. Hope the Nammatj serves you well this winter. Cheers

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