Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

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Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby Dutchy » Sat 19 Mar, 2016 9:03 pm

So we did a loop here recently (12/13 of March), and thought I'd post something on the walk.
We did it in two days:
Day 1: Eight Mile Flat to Bluff Hut, about 15.5 km, 1500 total elevation gain.
Eight Mile Spur track has been cleared of shrub all the way to Refrigerator Gap, good track but steep. After a short section of dirt road you take the track to The Bluff. The creek crossing the dirt road closest to the bluff track wasn't flowing. Great views from the top of The Bluff. We could see water down the South side of the Bluff, not sure if it was stagnant though. Over an hour's walk to Bluff Hut. The waterpoint north of the hut was dry, we got water from the tank at the hut, full after a recent down pour.
Day 2: Left the hut but didn't find the trail North.
We Followed Bluff Link Road to just after the gate. The trail we'd been looking for up near the hut was visible here, the track down was harder to find. Just down from the corner it leads into the bush. Blackberries will make this track impassible in years to come if nothing is done. We ended up walking down 16 mile jeep track as someone had told us the nameless track from Bluff Hut to Ritchies was completely overgrown. 16 mile jeep was a drag but didn't take more than an hour. The track to Ritchies is great, maintained for fishermen. Ritchies hut was a great spot for a swim and snooze before heading back to eight mile flat. We opted for the "low track", crossing the river many times. Luckily it was warm and the river low. I wouldn't suggest the Low track on your way up or in winter

Nice walk all in all, despite the first day being pretty hard with the 1500 m elevation gain.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby Stew63 » Sat 23 Apr, 2016 5:37 pm

Hi Dutchy!
I did almost the same route yesterday (22nd Aprill 2016) but as a day walk also starting at 8 Mile Flat.
I stayed overnight in the car at 8 Mile Flat then started at about 7:00am after passing heavy showers throughout the night.
Was hoping to start before sunrise at 6:00am but had a lousy sleep in the car so delayed by an hour.

I used 2 maps the latest SV Map together with the latest Rooftop Map.

8 Mile Spur
I found the SV Map was incorrect for distance from 8MF to Refridgerator Gap and I know I remained on track the whole way.
The SV Map had the distance as 6km but my GPS had it at 7km - the latest edition RoofTop map agreed with my GPS and marked it as 7km.
I concur with Dutchy - the track is good and clear of scrub the whole way. Walked almost the entire way inside the wet cloud to the Bluff.
Arrived at the summit cairn on The Bluff at about 9:40am but still thick cloud. Freezing! The glorious sun finally broke through at ~9:50am as I was walking
past The BlowHole to treat me to spectacular views. Arrived Bluff Hut about 10:30am after stopping many times to take pictures of Eadley Stoney - just brilliant!
Spent almost an hour at the hut snacking and talking to a very friendly local hunter/cattleman setting up in the hut.

Now the walking trail from Bluff Hut.
If you follow the Rooftop Map and follow the Bluff 4WD track west (down) for about 400m you will then see on your right the start of a very good walking trail to the bottom.
I believe this was the original 4WD track to Bluff Hut from days gone by. Its a very good, clear wide trail apart from one big tree down across the trail near the top - a very pleasant,
easy walk down. Trail pops out just below the gate on the corner. (Edited)

14 Mile Spur Track - down to Ritchies Hut
I then took that 'nameless trail' which you mentioned - I think it is/was called the '14 Mile Spur Track' down to Ritchies Hut. It starts immediately on the north side of the intersection of Bluff Link Rd. and Bluff Track and starts as
an old, closed 4WD track for the first 600metres. (There's no way I wanted to take 16mile Jeep 4WD Track down to the river as I like to stay off tracks/roads as much as possible) The SV Map marks the trail
as an 'undefined trail' and the Rooftop Map notes this trail as 'Badly Overgrown' - but this is wrong - it's not 'overgrown' at all! Sure a few small trees down in piles along a couple of sections of the trail mean you'll
have to negotiate/detour and relocate the trail but the trail/pad is generally clear and easily followed all the way. Yes - a couple of places I had to search around for 10~20seconds to confirm/relocate the trail - but no dramas.
The trail suffers from lack of use - but that is all - if more people used the trail it would be even more defined. The trail pops out right behind the toilet at Ritchies Hut. I'd definitely use this trail instead of the 16 Mile Jeep Track any day.
Note: At the top, about 600metres down the trail from Bluff Link Road there is a loverly grassy camping site located in a saddle with a fireplace but no water.

After a brief snack stop at Ritchies Hut took the trail back to 8 Mile Flat (High Track) and arrived back at the car at about 2:40pm - nice walk but somewhat knackered!
Last edited by Stew63 on Sat 23 Apr, 2016 8:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby FootTrack » Sat 23 Apr, 2016 6:54 pm

Hey Stew,

I did the same walk about a week ago and really enjoyed it.

In relation to the "undefined" walking trail to the north of Bluff Hut, you need to go to the corner of the road just past Bluff Hut (towards Lovicks). From there, there are two faint goat tracks that leave the corner. Take the one to the left and head down what at first looks to be a moist gully (plenty of bladey grasses and mosses). After about 50-100 m (?) the track turns more obviously into an old road. Plenty of vegetation along it with the odd tree down etc. but it is very traceable if you look for the cut-out in the side of the hill.

I've attached a google earth print screen for your reference. If you check out the area on there yourself you'll be able to see the whole length of it faintly to where it joins up with the Bluff Track again.

I found the walk down to Ritchie's as you described it - pretty manageable and very pleasant. I saw a fair bit of pink ribbon attached to trees on the way down which was disappointing. Absolutely no need for it, especially when the track wasn't exactly ill-defined. I took as much away as I could as I presumed they weren't coming back to collect it :roll:
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby Stew63 » Sat 23 Apr, 2016 8:24 pm

Thanks FootTrack - I've edited my post to delete reference to the SV map being incorrect - to avoid confusing other walkers.
I'll be sure to actually check it out myself next time soon. Thanks for the update and map which clearly shows a track there - now comparing both
maps together (SV and RoofTops) I think both trails may join up about half way down each to finish at the corner below the gate - I just didn't notice that yesterday.

Note: Well done - you must have got all the pink tape as I didn't see any. (The tape wasn't fresh/new was it?)

BTW You weren't walking with 2 other guys one from NZ were you?
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby FootTrack » Sat 23 Apr, 2016 9:14 pm

No worries, mate :)

Yea, it's funny you mention that actually - about half way down there was a point where the path looked to split into two (both tracks being quite obvious). The straight ahead option must have been what you came down on because I took the downhill curve to the right and that took me to the Bluff Track on the bend.

Easy enough to miss the trackhead though if you don't scout for it. I had to look closely at the map to see exactly where the dots started from to be sure.

Yea the tape was really fresh (I'd say in the last month) and had hardly deteriorated. They were placed very close together too - I had a packed handful of the stuff by the time I reached the bottom. It's one of my pet peeves on walks because walkers should know better.

Nah I walked it on my own on April 13 & 14. Camped overnight on The Bluff which was fantastic albeit a little windy at times. Saw a couple of snakes on the way down to Ritchies which kept me on my toes haha :D
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby Stew63 » Sat 23 Apr, 2016 9:24 pm

The reason I asked about the tape - the friendly hunter (local - Lovick family) I met at Bluff Hut - who also does a bit of work for the DSE and Parks (bulldozing, chainsawing etc.) mentioned that the 14Mile Spur trail was very soon to be re-cleared/recut,
I was thinking perhaps the tape was put there for the contractors to follow?

I saw one snake (100cm) on the trail a few hundred metres above the toilet sunning itself on the middle of the track - the thick scrub made the track so narrow so I had to take a running jump over it - he wasn't moving no matter what!

Where on The Bluff did you camp?
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby FootTrack » Sat 23 Apr, 2016 9:51 pm

Yea I guess it could have been. It did branch off in two different directions occasionally and didn't always follow the most logical path which is what made me think it was another walker. There was some on the track down from Bluff Hut as well. Hopefully I haven't caused work for someone :?

Yea you have to keep an eye out for them eh!

I haven't got a map with me so I can't tell you exactly but it was between the summit of The Bluff and the Blowhole. I managed to find some nice snow grass behind this snow gum which was pretty decent. The amount of rock up there made finding a spot a bit difficult with the sun dropping fast!
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby Stew63 » Sat 23 Apr, 2016 10:32 pm

Tarp and Bivy? That's the way I want to go! :D
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby FootTrack » Sat 23 Apr, 2016 10:55 pm

It's been great so far! I'm yet to use it in any trying conditions, but I love the lower pack weight/bulk and sleeping closer to your surrounds is just magic! Looking up at the stars as you nod off to sleep is a real treat :D
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby Stew63 » Sat 23 Apr, 2016 11:06 pm

Which Bivy do you use? Have you gone for the complete UL 'kit' and mindset?
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby FootTrack » Sat 23 Apr, 2016 11:45 pm

I use an MLD Superlight Bivy. Has performed pretty well so far, although condensation management is still something I am tinkering with. I've certainly lightened my kit and a fair bit of it is probably considered ultralight (tarp, bivy, quilt, titanium pot, can stove etc.). However, I haven't chosen my gear purely on what items are the lightest. I choose gear based on a whole range of factors (cost, durability, repair-ability etc.) and weight is only one consideration. The gear I take also changes depending on where I'm headed. Lightweight gear doesn't mean much if it doesn't meet your expectations/needs. For example, I don't think some of the ultralight packs being produced in the US would stand up to offtrack scrub over here in Australia so I've flexed by using a slightly beefier, mid volume pack. I also think the cost-benefit ratio of buying UL gear is something to consider. For me anyway, it's hard to justify paying a couple of hundred dollars for the latest stove when a can one (like Andrew Skurka has detailed) plus a couple of bits of aluminium cost next-to-nothing and weigh only a few grams more. Each to their own though :)
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 16 May, 2016 9:32 pm

I am most likely doing this loop this weekend as a solo mission. I will report back on how I get on. Since my little Jap mobile probably won't make it past Tunnel bend I will have to hike up the road to 8 mile flat ( after lunch on arrival on Friday at about 12 noon ) and camp there on Friday and start early up the 8 mile spur with a full pack on Sat . morning.
Sat. looks like the best bet for weather so I might get some views.
I will be prepared for sub zero night time temperatures as well as daytime snow, hail and icy winds.
Descending in excremental weather down either the 16 mile jeep track or the 14 mile spur walking track is no big deal. Chances are I will camp at Ritchie's hut on Sunday night and hike out back to my car using the road rather the wet feet track on Monday morning.
Should I cart 4 L extra water up to the Bluff? I think there should be water that I could use my water filter on up there near the Bluff hut .
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby Stew63 » Mon 16 May, 2016 10:07 pm

Mate if my old, clapped out, low slung Jap. car can make it into Eight Mile Flat with no trouble yours will too. Don't come down 16Mile Jeep Track - boring as bat sh1t! Come down 14mile Spur - much more interesting. Have fun.
If you want to make a bit of a start on 8Mile Spur on Friday there's a nice little open, grassy campsite with some views at about ~4km up - I think it's that 1292 mark. (no water) I should have marked it on my GPS - I'll probably bivy there next time rather than the river even if I arrive at 8MF in the dark. Looking forward to your report.
Last edited by Stew63 on Mon 16 May, 2016 10:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 16 May, 2016 10:13 pm

OK, I will look at the road and decide about what my old jap bomb can and cannot do. Driving to 8 Mile flat (in low gear like a little old lady on valium ) does have some appeal , I must admit.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby FootTrack » Mon 16 May, 2016 10:14 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote: Should I cart 4 L extra water up to the Bluff? I think there should be water that I could use my water filter on up there near the Bluff hut .

I wouldn't think so. As long as you give yourself time to scout for them, there were a couple of stream/soaks I saw south of The Bluff. They were visible from the track. The Bushmaps map has them marked from memory if you want actual coordinates.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby damoprz » Tue 17 May, 2016 6:01 pm

We got all the way to Bluff Carpark not to long ago in a Mazda 3 with 5 people + packs (so it was very low). Unless the road condition is much worse any 2WD will be fine with a little care.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby scroggin » Fri 20 May, 2016 5:02 pm

Stew63 wrote:Hi Dutchy!
14 Mile Spur Track - down to Ritchies Hut
I then took that 'nameless trail' which you mentioned - I think it is/was called the '14 Mile Spur Track' down to Ritchies Hut. It starts immediately on the north side of the intersection of Bluff Link Rd. and Bluff Track and starts as
an old, closed 4WD track for the first 600metres. (There's no way I wanted to take 16mile Jeep 4WD Track down to the river as I like to stay off tracks/roads as much as possible) The SV Map marks the trail
as an 'undefined trail' and the Rooftop Map notes this trail as 'Badly Overgrown' - but this is wrong - it's not 'overgrown' at all! Sure a few small trees down in piles along a couple of sections of the trail mean you'll
have to negotiate/detour and relocate the trail but the trail/pad is generally clear and easily followed all the way. Yes - a couple of places I had to search around for 10~20seconds to confirm/relocate the trail - but no dramas.
The trail suffers from lack of use - but that is all - if more people used the trail it would be even more defined. The trail pops out right behind the toilet at Ritchies Hut. I'd definitely use this trail instead of the 16 Mile Jeep Track any day.
Note: At the top, about 600metres down the trail from Bluff Link Road there is a loverly grassy camping site located in a saddle with a fireplace but no water.

After a brief snack stop at Ritchies Hut took the trail back to 8 Mile Flat (High Track) and arrived back at the car at about 2:40pm - nice walk but somewhat knackered!


I did mention in the pre-walk thread that the spur was open :)
scroggin wrote:
Dutchy wrote:Does anyone know if the "walking track" from Bluff Hut to Ritchy's Hut is "visible"? or would that be a gps shrub bash?

I've only done it coming the other way. Though not a maintained 'track", It's quite open and follows a prominent spur. Easy walking with little to no scrub bash.


FootTrack wrote:I found the walk down to Ritchie's as you described it - pretty manageable and very pleasant. I saw a fair bit of pink ribbon attached to trees on the way down which was disappointing. Absolutely no need for it, especially when the track wasn't exactly ill-defined. I took as much away as I could as I presumed they weren't coming back to collect it :roll:

The pink ribbons are probably there because it used to be a well used route for Timbertop, not sure if it still is.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 23 May, 2016 4:50 pm

Hi
I have just returned from doing this trip. I shall write a full trip report soon.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby walkon » Tue 24 May, 2016 8:23 pm

FootTrack, well done on getting rid of all the pink litter. It is getting out of hand in places even where there is a distinct footpad and places that are meant to be wilderness areas. On Mt Clear, in one spot I could see eight pieces of tape on the track even though there were three large marker cairns denoting the track. If you couldn't see them on a clear track then you shouldn't be there.

I just read a report from someone who leads groups regularly and was bemused they couldn't find a track that has rock cairns marking it and is quite noticeable. If they are that much of a novice then they shouldn't be out there.
Cheers Walkon

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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 25 May, 2016 8:37 pm

I have never claimed to an expert at anything . I am smart enough to turn around if I am not sure where I am going or if it is too hazardous. I can't see that as being a hanging crime.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 31 Mar, 2017 10:48 pm

Has anybody been up the 14 mile track from behind the dunny at Ritchie's hut recently ?
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 01 Apr, 2017 2:20 pm

What about the Dunny at Ritchie's hut ? Is it still out of action?
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby Stew63 » Sat 01 Apr, 2017 5:41 pm

I went down the 14mile Spur track last year if that's any help.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 01 Apr, 2017 7:28 pm

I am planning to walk up 14 mile track from Ritchie's hut next month , as far as the Bluff hut as a return day trip from Ritchie's hut. I presume you follow what looks like the remains of an old Bench cut track just following a compass bearing.
I know the track starts from behind the Ritchie's hut pit loo.
Has it been cleared at all ?
I mean 8 mile spur walking track was cleared in April 2016 and walking it was not too tricky in terms if navigation. It was steep but I can cope with steep going up hill, much more than my knees can cope on a steep descent.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby neilmny » Sun 02 Apr, 2017 1:46 pm

2nd. Edtion Buller-Howitt SV Maps shows the 14 mile as a "walking" track.
It generally follows the top of the spur from behind the Ritchies Hut to near the intersection of Bluff Track on the Bluff Link Road.
A piece of the SV map is shown in this thread http://forums.ski.com.au/xf/threads/how ... ort.66700/
Also check you PM's :wink:
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby Stew63 » Sun 02 Apr, 2017 5:07 pm

14Mile Spur Track - refer to the SV Map Howitt-Buller
I went down the spur - probably easier to navigate going down in the upper sections.
From Bluff Link Rd. follow an old, closed 4WD track for about 400metres downhill (negotiating a number of fallen trees along the way) to a small grassy somewhat open saddle - nice little campsite. Now from this grassy saddle climb gently upwards as the route continues to the SW - however the first 50metres or so leading away/up from the saddle the 'track' is quite indistinct (read invisible!) - it will eventually become apparent though - just keep going/looking you will find it - be patient! Once you locate the track (Yay!) and follow it you will find several other short sections where the track again becomes indistinct but just relax, take your time, follow your navigational instincts and you will find your way. There are a couple of sections where there's a mish-mash of fallen timber across the track (not too bad though) and you will need to work and reason your way around these sections to relocate the track on the other side.

From memory the entire track from about 1100m (ish) all the way down to the dunny is quite clear and totally obvious. Watch for snakes sunning themselves on the track not far up from the dunny!
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sun 02 Apr, 2017 9:26 pm

Graeme Stoney ( Local high country fella ) told 14 Mile track has too many false spurs and gullies and that 16 Miles track is easier. Well I know that because I have walked 16 Mile track from top to bottom.
I lost the 14 mile track just after the grassy saddle cum camp site near the top when I was there the first time in May 2016. It has been unfinished bushwalking business ever since!.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby JohnR » Mon 29 May, 2017 12:16 pm

Just a quick follow on for this thread.

We walked down '14 mile track' or 'Unnamed Spur' yesterday and found the track pretty easy to follow.

A bit of pink ribbon left in spots, but good that it has been mostly removed as it is not really needed. There are a few sketchy bits through some rocky outcrop sections but otherwise the track is visible (and in fact extremely obvious for the last 1km down to Ritchies Hut).

There is a new toilet at Ritchies Hut.

Cheers,

John
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 29 May, 2017 2:34 pm

I saw the new dunny at Ritchie's hut , in fact I tested it out. It rocks like a rocking chair . I was there on May 2nd 2017. Yes the track up 14 Mile Spur is where the dunny used to be and it is obvious.
I am inclined to give it another go in May 2018. 8 Mile spur track is a steep ascent is best tackled when it is not hot.
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Re: Eight Mile Flat, The Bluff, Ritchies hut

Postby Stew63 » Thu 13 Jul, 2017 9:15 pm

Hiked into Richie's Hut from 8Mile Flat gate with my 14yr old yesterday. Unfortunately left Melbourne late so only got to Richie's at dusk. There was a very friendly family occupying the hut who kindly shared their blazing fire. Woke to a very cold and frosty morning this morning with a 5mm layer of ice in the saucepan water and our water bottles frozen. (-4C?) The new toilet is one of those new PV ones placed by helicopter - when one tank is full the top toilet module slides down the tracks to the fresh tank module - the full tank is later removed by helicopter.
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Joined: Sat 03 Mar, 2012 2:53 am
Location: Eltham, Victoria
Region: Victoria
Gender: Male


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