Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.2020

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Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.2020

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Sat 02 Jan, 2021 8:03 am

Hi
You can read a trip report and see many photos of my hike that took place from 28-31 /Dec./2020 at this weblink.

https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/bogon ... -20.88864/
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby Xplora » Mon 04 Jan, 2021 9:37 am

Thanks for this report. There are a number of aspects in it which have raised some concerns and my comments may assist yourself and others for future walks and especially solo walks. It is fortunate the navigational error on this walk was not in a more remote area but it is not the first time for you and the lessons to be learnt from your mistakes will assist you in the future.

I would encourage you to rely on your map and use your electronic device more to determine where you are instead of relying entirely on information loaded into it and following it blindly. Patons road does not exist anywhere except in a virtual world. Others have made a similar mistake at that bend and gone down to the river which is only a short distance away. Consulting a map at that point would have immediately corrected your error. Crossing the river and finding a house a short distance further on would also give you another indication something was wrong but instead of consulting your map you used your gps, trespassed and decided on a course which took twice the distance had you turned around at that point and walked a few minutes back to correct your error. Fortunately you managed to score a lift and some water from a friendly local. Just as well you did not fill up at the creek behind his house (as you mentioned to him). The mine you past on Kangaroo Crk track has recently emptied a dam full of toxic material into it. But you ran out of water (not for the first time) shortly after crossing a river. Bladders are good for holding a large volume of water but you don't get as much of an idea of how much you have left until you are almost empty. Knowing how much you drink then it is wise to stop and check the bladder when reaching a good water source. Perhaps a fill up would have given you the time to think about your mistake.

Walking solo requires good judgement, decision making and navigation skills. There is nobody else around to consult. I am sure the owner of the house would not have been concerned about your trespass (as I know him to be a kind man) but you would not have known that and in any case bushwalkers should always respect private property unless in need of help. When reviewing your map and checking your route it is good to take note of significant changes in direction along the track. If you know where you are (even roughly) then you will know how far ahead you are to expect a course change. Consulting a map at any stage would have given clear indication there was no river crossing until Mittagundi and the track did not come close to the river for a further 3kms.
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby north-north-west » Mon 04 Jan, 2021 10:15 am

Kind of amusing reading all this. I did the 107-Kelly-Fitzgerald loop from ... Mittagundi, I think ... in early spring about eight years or so back. Gates closed, still heaps of snow up top, sod-all signage. It's been flashed up a fair bit since, as Kelly Hut seems to have been (it was less than weatherproof then and a bit of a tip inside). But it wasn't a hard route to stay on, as long as you checked the map.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 04 Jan, 2021 1:37 pm

I had not run out of water. The friendly local was being hospitable. I still had 2 litres remaining in my bladder. I was mechanically filtering nearly all of my water on that trip too.The spring near Fitzgerald's hut was the exception since the water was coming straight out of the rock with no water flowing from any higher ground.
Yes turning up at the private property was certainly telling me I was off route. Yes you are right about that Explora sahib. I knew I was in Glen Valley near Big River and once I found Kangaroo Creek track I was essentially re orientated but still off course. Why I did not back track to correct my error is still a mystery to me. That is what should have happened.
I can say that Paton's track is real and is subject to rudimentary signage on Kangaroo Ck. track , but it is not on my SV and Footprints maps. It is on my GPS map. I prefer to use the compass with a real map. I am happier navigating that way. I should have checked the map at the junction where I now know I should have turned south instead of continuing east and crossing the Ford of Big River on Paton's track. I tend to become geographically embarrassed just before lunch time usually . It is then when the brain is depleted and I have usually been hiking all morning. Anyway no harm was done, I definitely learned things about navigating and I had an enjoyable trip. I am admittedly a happier hiker/ XC skier when I KNOW I am going the right way .I was aware that I was not where I planned to be however fortunately my adventure was not badly marred by this error. Moreover I had 4 days of food, 2 litres of water and all my camping gear plus a mob. ph. and a PLB.
However Xplora sahib is right when he has observed that a short back track to the junction where I should have gone South would have corrected that matter. At least on the Thorn range coming off Red Rock Saddle I knew we had taken a wrong turn, stopped , ate , consulted the map and the terrain in front of our eyes and we quickly corrected that and re located the correct route. I would say that the afternoon heat may have addled my brain which is why I try to start moving very early in the day in summer for bushwalking. I shall be more careful in future and yes back tracking when I know I am on the wrong route is to be kept as a priority in future.
Last edited by paidal_chalne_vala on Mon 04 Jan, 2021 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby Baeng72 » Mon 04 Jan, 2021 3:31 pm

Thanks for the report PCV.
Nice photos.
Where do you read/hear about all these tracks?

I know that when I'm walking, I hate taking my pack off and stopping (not sure why, it feels good when I take it off?), anyway, that means I rarely consult a map while walking.
I do look at maps a bit before a hike, and compare it to what my Avenza topo maps show so I know on the Avenza app what to expec, and usually drop a pin where the map says something important will be.
Which so far hasn't been an issue as I haven't got too adventurous with tracks yet.
Basically, I'm not fit enougth to get lost yet!
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 04 Jan, 2021 4:33 pm

"Where do you read/hear about all these tracks?"

I look at hard copy maps and I wonder "what that track or terrain is like ?".

I have walked many of the tracks that many people new to trekking in the Vic. Alps have walked or are considering hiking. I am walking routes that receive less human traffic. That is good in many ways but they are often far
far less used and have much less in the way of signage. This Green season since the lockdown ended has been very much about doing walks that I have not done before. I am 51 and I am quite fit.
I am going to get some lighter gear so I can keep doing this pastime. I do not plan to walk some routes I have already done again very soon.
This circuit hike was type 2 fun for sure. Now I am thinking I would like to do it again in the future and in doing so redeem myself in terms of navigation. It would be fun to take some other people with me should I do it again in a year or two. Before the next lockdown ( I predict it will come in early March ) I am going to walk from Charlie McNamara's hut to Young's SEC hut. It will be a navigational challenge and I will not use the GPS to mislead me again. A compass direction is better plus using my eyes and brain. Also of interest is the old miners' bridle trail from Dibbin's hut to Brandy Creek Fire trail along Swindlers creek and the Cobungra River.
The ford at Big River where I crossed it is shown on the SV map. It is very close to where Dead Horse Creek meets Big river. The actual position of Track 107 as compared with the SV map and the GPS topographical map is at variance with both. Now I know this area better I will be smarter and in future backtrack as soon as something seems wrong and at variance with the route on the map such as an unplanned river/creek crossing.
In Autumn I usually go surfing more than Bushwalking so I am banging out the kilometres while I can.
Last edited by paidal_chalne_vala on Mon 04 Jan, 2021 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby Xplora » Mon 04 Jan, 2021 5:12 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I had not run out of water. The friendly local was being hospitable. I still had 2 litres remaining in my bladder. I was mechanically filtering all of my water on that trip too.

This was not what I was told but I accept your explanation. With 2 litres left and a lift then I don't understand why you required a litre from John.

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Yes turning up at the private property was certainly telling me I was off route. Yes you are right about that Explora sahib. I knew I was in Glen Valley near Big River and once I found Kangaroo Creek track I was essentially re orientated but still off course. Why I did not back track to correct my error is still a mystery to me. That is what should have happened.

This is my point about solo walking and fortunately it was in a safe area. An error of judgment like this in a more remote area could be fatal.
paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I can say that Paton's track is real and is subject to rudimentary signage on Kangaroo Ck. track , but it is not on my SV and Footprints maps. It is on my GPS map.

I can tell you categorically it is not real and the sign your saw was one put up by the owner of the property and it is not on the Patons road which is online. Patons road on GPS, google earth and other online services is not the same as the one you saw signposted. This can lead to further confusion which is evidenced by your observations.

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:I prefer to use the compass with a real map. I am happier navigating that way. I should have checked the map at the junction where I now know I should have turned south instead of continuing east and crossing the Ford of Big River on Paton's track. I tend to become geographically embarrassed just before lunch time usually . It is then when the brain is depleted and I have usually been hiking all morning. Anyway no harm was done, I definitely learned things about navigating and I had an enjoyable trip. I am admittedly a happier hiker/ XC skier when I KNOW I am going the right way .I was aware that I was not where I planned to be however fortunately my adventure was not badly marred by this error. Moreover I had 4 days of food, 2 litres of water and all my camping gear plus a mob. ph. and a PLB.
However Xplora sahib is right when he has observed that a short back track to the junction where I should have gone South would have corrected that matter. At least on the Thorn range coming off Red Rock Saddle I knew we had taken a wrong turn, stopped , ate , consulted the map and the terrain in front of our eyes and we quickly corrected that and re located the correct route. I would say that the afternoon heat may have addled my brain which is why I try to start moving very early in the day in summer for bushwalking. I shall be more careful in future and yes back tracking when I know I am on the wrong route is to be kept as a priority in future.


At Thorn Range you were with other people but there have been more incidents and I am concerned your solo trekking will lead to misadventure. There are good lessons in this for us all and your warts and all commentary is appreciated as it can help others. I am pleased there was no misadventure for you but you need to be more vigilant if you anticipate doing more remote and unmarked areas. Poor judgment compounds errors so if it is the lack of blood sugar that causes it then you can sort that out. Saying there was no harm done this time is just waiting for harm to be done another unless corrective measures are taken. I know this may seem a bit harsh but I am genuinely concerned as this appears to be a reoccurring theme.
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby Xplora » Mon 04 Jan, 2021 5:19 pm

Just for historical information, track 107 was named by the Mines dept. over 100 years ago. All the tracks had numbers and this track originally went from Mt. Wills to Mt. Hotham and was access for miners. You can search and find the tracks online. This circuit is pretty easy by comparison and a good walk for those less experienced. It is used often by year 9 outdoor ed groups. I would not call it spectacular but there are some interesting bits. Much of it is management track but the single track is not marked.
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 04 Jan, 2021 6:56 pm

Thanks for your concern Explora sahib. I shall be far more careful in future and remain vigilant of my shortcomings. I will learn from my mistakes .As someone who lives in the immediate area you are most probably right about Patons track and I was fortunate that I was not far from the Omeo Highway which was my goal for the day , one way or another .My thinking was that a local property must have an access road in order to drive in and out and that would take me to the main carriage way in the area , namely the Omeo highway.
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby bigkev » Mon 04 Jan, 2021 8:02 pm

Thanks for the report PVC. I haven't been down there since I dropped down off Mt Wills South many decades ago, I'm just about recovered from that trauma :roll: I'm finding that I'm going a little more remote since the lockdown too, although that's probably due to me being fairly anti social. Maybe my memory is playing tricks with me however it looks like the Parks Vic people have been doing some work on that side of the park (judging by your photos).
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby Xplora » Tue 05 Jan, 2021 6:16 am

bigkev wrote:Thanks for the report PVC. I haven't been down there since I dropped down off Mt Wills South many decades ago, I'm just about recovered from that trauma :roll: I'm finding that I'm going a little more remote since the lockdown too, although that's probably due to me being fairly anti social. Maybe my memory is playing tricks with me however it looks like the Parks Vic people have been doing some work on that side of the park (judging by your photos).


A significant amount of unwarranted dozer work was done on Kellys track during and after the bushfires. This was instigated by DELWP who believe the best way to control a fire is push all the trees over and create roads which they believe will stop a fire. The road was widened and a large number of trees along it were pushed over. Apart from that there are a few laminated signs placed in areas which have caused some confusion with tourists in the past. Parks may upgrade those signs when funding and permissions allow (cultural permission required to put in a sign). No other track work has been done by Parks in the area.
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 05 Jan, 2021 9:02 am

Yes, there has been much bulldozer work carried out on Kelly track. Errant fallen logs on Track 107 have been recently cut and new laminated signs have indeed been placed in the Kelly track area Kelly hut and Fitzgerald hut. Those signs may not withstand a full white season. We shall see. They are not high enough to be seen if there is one metre or more of snow. If I get to XC ski out to Fitzgerald hut this white season , starting at Windy corner , I might go and see if I can find them in the snow.
Some of the snow poles on the Marum Point to Fitzgerald hut route have fallen down. That green sign/ pole at the track junction that denotes the junction with the Marum Point track looked new to me.
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby Xplora » Tue 05 Jan, 2021 3:41 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote: Errant fallen logs on Track 107 have been recently cut

This is true but not done by Parks. Done with permission.

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:and new laminated signs have indeed been placed in the Kelly track area Kelly hut and Fitzgerald hut. Those signs may not withstand a full white season. We shall see. They are not high enough to be seen if there is one metre or more of snow. If I get to XC ski out to Fitzgerald hut this white season , starting at Windy corner , I might go and see if I can find them in the snow.

They got through last winter but will be covered with half a metre so you will find them difficult to find in a good season. I doubt anyone in Parks would see them as a permanent solution. This area is becoming more accessible for many navigationally challenged people during bushwalking season. It will probably become more popular in winter also with a similar type.
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 05 Jan, 2021 6:16 pm


This area is becoming more accessible for many navigationally challenged people during bushwalking season. It will probably become more popular in winter also with a similar type.


There is a sly left handed reference to someone who could be me, in your estimation ;-P .
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby Baeng72 » Tue 05 Jan, 2021 8:04 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:
This area is becoming more accessible for many navigationally challenged people during bushwalking season. It will probably become more popular in winter also with a similar type.


There is a sly left handed reference to someone who could be me, in your estimation ;-P .

I salute your linguistic nerdom PCV. Left handed in Latin is Sinister. 8)
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby Xplora » Tue 05 Jan, 2021 8:20 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:
This area is becoming more accessible for many navigationally challenged people during bushwalking season. It will probably become more popular in winter also with a similar type.


There is a sly left handed reference to someone who could be me, in your estimation ;-P .

Not at all. I was in fact referring to a number of events in the past which gave rise for me to talk to PV about putting in better signs. One was witnessed by me personally (and I have mentioned it previously a number of years ago) where bike riders were stuck in a ground hog day and kept looping back to Fitzgeralds hut trying to find their way to Falls Creek and another, also reported here, where people started down 107 thinking it was the way back to Falls Creek. I believe the later was early winter.

I do not need to make sly left handed remarks about your navigation skills but you can take it that way if you like. Most would say I am a little more direct and I thought I have been clear enough already. You have been fortunate thus far and I am pleased you make it back to report but all is good until something goes wrong and it concerns me your plans include solo walks in some quite remote areas where people have been known to go the wrong way easily, including yourself once before. You say your judgments are impaired by the lack of food and at other times the lack of water but it keeps happening. We all make wrong turns but the key is how you recover. I make no secret of being a little disappointed you felt it OK to knowingly trespass to achieve your goal when a better option was to consult your map and I make that point again as I would hope nobody here emulates this behaviour. I am also disappointed you have made excuses for it instead of acknowledging how wrong it was. Enough castigation. Please sort it out as I really do not want to hear of your demise and would prefer to read your reports on your return.
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby commando » Tue 05 Jan, 2021 11:39 pm

This thread has provided some interesting reading...

Whilst Xplora has the best intentions of personal welfare, i think paidal_chalne_vala enjoys putting himself out there and finding satisfaction
fulfillment and inner peace in exploring the high plains and pushing it to the limits, that's what we live for, as very few people get to know what they
are capable of and finding out how far to push it, understanding and controlling fear takes practice, and perhaps inner confidence and ability looks scary
from the outside looking in. We all get misplaced or disoriented at some time, its just a matter of when, and that's part of the thrill of the challenge.
Thanks for the excellent trip report...
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 06 Jan, 2021 9:40 am

Thank you commando. You can only learn about these things by doing them. I have been enjoying the outdoors a great deal for at least 16 years or more. I like to push the envelope. The same can be said when I find myself on my surf board in bigger surf. I will try to surf it for one wave just to find out why I should stay with smaller breaks and leave it to the locals!.
I must say I do usually check the map and compass when I come to a track junction on a new/unknown route. This was unusual for me to not turn around and continue walking , hoping the South Bound turn would somehow appear.

I have never claimed to be an expert at anything, merely an enthusiast. I am looking at doing some more hikes before the next lockdown/Third wave of CV19 possibly comes in March . BTAC have given me a place on their track clearing trip on the Jan. Long weekend. The Guy's hut to Wonnangatta Valley route via Dry river spur will be a new frontier for me and my chainsaw. I will drive home from Licola via Mt. Skene.
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Re: Bogong High Plains-Big River- Fitzgerald Hut loop.Dec.20

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 06 Jan, 2021 10:00 am

Explora sahib, you do castigation rather well. I am contrite and do not condone or excuse the grievous crime of trespassing on a private property. Evidently I was in the wrong there. There is a good reason why I blocked you on the ski forum which I shall not divulge here.
I will try to improve at all things I do .
Maybe I should write that out 100 times and hand it in to the school master when term 1 commences ? ....

Anyway I am planning my next hike when the weather /spare time window presents itself. It looks like it will be too hot to hike early next week.
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