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Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Tue 15 Jan, 2019 1:54 pm
by Zapruda
Robert Green (who goes by RVG here) asked me recently if I would like to search out the remains of a “lost” hut that was destroyed in the 2003 fires and record the GPS coordinates - Boltons on the Finn.

We had a rough idea of where the hut was located. Using old and current maps, and the memories of people who had visited it before it was destroyed, we were able to narrow down the area to half a grid square on current topos. Naturally, all the maps had the hut in different locations…

From what I understand the hut was loved by both skiers and walkers for its simplicity and beautiful setting. Being a while away from the main thoroughfares of the area, I imagine it drew in a crowd looking for quiet and solitude, and those seeking a great base for some cross-country ski excursions.

A little background - https://khuts.org/index.php/the-huts/ko ... e-finn-hut

22/12/2018 - With purpose, I started early and set off for Munyang power station from Canberra. I arrived in good time and headed straight for the non-existent bridge over the Munyang River and the start of the Disappointment Spur track (not marked on current maps). It was an easy rock hop across the river despite the rain we had the previous days. I reached the last gauge just before Disappointment hut from which I bush bashed up and sometimes through the rocky creek until reaching clear ground around 1850m. I followed Disappointment Ridge for a while, passing some beautiful and intact snow gums while slowing descending the ridge on its eastern side.

I dropped down slowly with the massive Finns swamp coming in to view in the distance. It was dense and steep country. Equally rugged and beautiful. This is what Klaus Hueneke told Robert and I about the area - That 7x7 km area between Disappointment Spur, the Burrungubuggee, Tin Hut to the north and the Snowy R to the south is one of the least visited and most isolated, often snow covered, parts of the mountains. One could camp in there and never see anyone else for years. Perhaps, for ever. After a few slips and slides, and repeatedly checking the compass, I broke out of the scrub right in front of the impressive Finns River. After quite a bit of searching, I found a suitable crossing point and made the final push to the area where I thought the hut site was. Using a photo I was sent of the hut, I was confident I had found the site at 630450 5981263 (WGS84 datum).

There wasn’t much left in the area. I found small bits of tin, a bottle, cans, tree branches that were cut with saws and a large pile of rocks placed under some snow gums. The rocks were most likely from the huts fireplace. I could see why the Bolton family decided to put a hut here. Beautiful spot.

After spending a bit time in the area, I left in a hailstorm and headed up Finns River. This was beautiful walking. I crossed at Finns swamp and headed up, up, up to the top of Gungarten where I encountered some snow flurries and more rain. I then followed Disappointment Ridge all the way to 1900m mark and camped the night. I headed down to the Disappointment spur track the next morning feeling content and happy with the findings.

Photos of the site here - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1er2l97n6BfEo2wouXrE9btATBc-zJ-bA

My route for the first day - http://maps.ozultimate.com/?lat=-36.315747584663846&lng=148.42447757720947&zoom=15&id=1545541544808

So… Time to get this thing rebuilt I think. Thoughts?

Thanks to Robert Green, Roger Caffin, David Scott, Klaus Hueneke, Graham Scully and AndrewA. All your help made for a very memorable adventure.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Tue 15 Jan, 2019 2:33 pm
by potato
Its a beautiful spot. Best to leave the area as it is now found.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Tue 15 Jan, 2019 5:27 pm
by crollsurf
Thats brilliant Zapruda. Any detail on that red marker post to who and why?
I'm a member of KHA so I love the huts but I'm kind of with potato on this one, it's not on most peoples radar and with no easy access, it would be an expensive rebuild.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Tue 15 Jan, 2019 7:39 pm
by Mark F
Well done Zapruda - any video of the grassy knoll :wink: . Some of the issues with rebuilding huts or other infrastructure is the ongoing use and maintenance - resources are limited and "bang for the buck" is a powerful influencer of the npws budget. It also seems to be in the wilderness zone so an even more persuasive case is required. As an aside I note the large decrease in winter visitation to the areas of knp north of the highway which suggests areas like this will, sadly, remain low visitation.

Crollsurf - I think the red pole is a marker on the Aqueduct track at the start of the aqueduct. Most probably the point where Zapruda left the Aqueduct track to climb onto Disappointment Spur.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 6:40 am
by Zapruda
crollsurf wrote:Any detail on that red marker post to who and why?


Hey Crollsurf, Mark is correct, the red marker is next to a weir on Disappointment spur track. This was the point I went off track. I am not exactly sure of its purpose. Maybe to control flooding on the track after snow melt?

Mark F wrote:Well done Zapruda - any video of the grassy knoll


Mark, I sadly lost the video. There may be a babushka lady with some more photos though.


Potato, Crollsurf and Mark, I agree with you all about the cost of a hut rebuild and I am also weary of too much infrastructure in this beautiful national park. I'm looking at it from a historical and heritage point of view. I wish we could focus more on the history of the area rather than things like this new "great walk" track they are putting in. I cant lie that a little bit of me also wants a the hut there because of its fantastic location. Also, selfishly I would love it as a base for ski adventures in the area.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 7:23 am
by potato
Zapruda wrote: I cant lie that a little bit of me also wants a the hut there because of its fantastic location. Also, selfishly I would love it as a base for ski adventure in the area.


I had that same feeling as well... I visit that area each winter but I different views about the euro heritage. So I would rather the park spend its money on dealing with the impacts of current lot humans - anyone seen Perisher Creek lately?

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 7:32 am
by Zapruda
potato wrote:anyone seen Perisher Creek lately?


Sadly, the ski resorts seem to come first and everything else in that part of the park second. I couldn't believe it this year after the snow melted when NPWS were asking for volunteers to clean up Perisher. I don't understand why Perisher wasn't footing the bill and cleaning up their own mess.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 8:29 am
by potato
Apply a clean up tax to the lift ticket?

How long did it take you to walk up from where you left the Disappointment track to the 1850m level?

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 8:35 am
by Zapruda
potato wrote: How long did it take you to walk up from where you left the Disappointment track to the 1850m level?


Around 20 minutes. The regrowth is thick but there is a boulder field that I was able to use to make the going a bit faster. Last time I went up this way I veered too much to the left and was slowed down quite a bit by the scrub.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 10:02 am
by potato
Thanks - that not too bad at all.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 10:04 am
by Zapruda
It’s was the descent down to Finns River that was the most challenging.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 10:57 am
by Mark F
I believe the easiest way onto Disappointment Spur is a bit further down the track towards Munyang (around GR 272783). I think this is where an old track ran up to a building(s) on the end of the ridge (GR 277779). I have been meaning to investigate for a while.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 11:00 am
by potato
Zapruda wrote:It’s was the descent down to Finns River that was the most challenging.


Interesting, thanks. I have only approached the area from Gungartan.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 11:01 am
by Zapruda
Mark F wrote:I believe the easiest way onto Disappointment Spur is a bit further down the track towards Munyang (around GR 272783). I think this is where an old track ran up to a building(s) on the end of the ridge (GR 277779). I have been meaning to investigate for a while.


Last time I went up that way to the radio tower I found it a little scrubby on top. Slow going. Beautiful and fun but only worth it if you have the time.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 11:04 am
by Zapruda
potato wrote:
Zapruda wrote:It’s was the descent down to Finns River that was the most challenging.


Interesting, thanks. I have only approached the area from Gungartan.


An excellent approach for sure but if you are a bit fire trail averse like me, this option or Marks is definitely more enjoyable.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 7:16 pm
by rcaffin
My wife & I went straight up from Disappointment Hut to the SMA 066 trig point to the N many years ago, and it was not (very) difficult. The reality is that any route around there on the S side of the ridge will be controlled by the post-fire scrub - and the snow if done in winter.
DisappointmentSpurS2.jpg
DisappointmentSpurS2.jpg (52.52 KiB) Viewed 12177 times

We camped right on the ridge - well tucked in to a bit of shelter up there anyhow. Not exactly sure exactly whereabouts on the ridge we camped - the view was (as usual) a bit limited ...

Cheers
Roger

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 7:28 pm
by Zapruda
Correct Roger. Lots of regrowth but luckily the treeline ends / thins fairly suddenly and before you know it you are in open country.

I wish they still made the Olympus in that purple. I love it.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Wed 16 Jan, 2019 7:31 pm
by rcaffin
Yeah, that was 'a few years ago' now. Good tent though: it served us for many years.

Cheers
Roger

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Sun 20 Jan, 2019 4:33 pm
by kanangra
Thanks Zapruda. That was really interesting. I've often thought about visiting that site but never managed it. Must put that right. From what I understand the Boltons accessed their holding via Daveys then Reids on the Burrungubugge. Then up and over into Tolbar Ck. Must have been hard going getting out of there? Apparently the SMA built a hut on Tolbar ck but I don't think it is still there?

Judging from your coordinates the hut site for Boltons is a little to the north east of where it is marked on my Geehi Dam 1:25000 sheet printed 2001.

Well done.

K.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Sun 20 Jan, 2019 4:37 pm
by kanangra
Just a note both Tolbar Hut and Boltons Hut are mentioned in the article Fifty Three Ski huts of NSW.

K.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Sun 20 Jan, 2019 5:20 pm
by kanangra
Just a further note that may interest I have looked up the old Parish map for the parish of Munyang and it showed 4 lots on the Finns River in the vicinity of the hut site. All 4 lots had their western boundary on the river. The northern most was Lot 5 of 100 acres owned by Sara Alice Reid. Then Lot 3 of 200 acres owned by Sara Alice Bolton then Lot 4 of 300 acres owned by Sara Alice Reid and Lot 6 of 200 acres owned by Sara Alice Reid. Presumably the one person.


The map also shows the track over from the Burrungubugge River across the Tolbar. The eastern boundary of the parish is the Burrungubugge River and the track continues and says to Snowy Plains. On the western side of the river 3 lots are shown. two of them are shown as owned by Dora B Reid; Lot 2 of 200 acres and Lot 7 of 100 acres. Presumably a relation of Sara Alice Reid? This is the area of Reid's Hut site.

K

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Sun 20 Jan, 2019 5:52 pm
by RVG
The Bolton family lived at Diggers Creek, on Snowy Plains, from which a track led to the Burrungubugge River. Just south of the Burrungubugge River lived the Reids, who not only had land beside the Burrungubugge but who also owned four parish portions several miles further south near the Finn River.

Love blossomed and John Bolton married a Reid. They had a largish family which built and occupied quite a few huts in the mountains. For instance, nearby Daveys Hut was built for Tom Bolton. (The current spelling "Davies" is a misspelling. No family called Davies ever lived there.)

Doubtless a family arrangement led to the Boltons taking over the Reid property on the Finns and building a hut there.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Mon 21 Jan, 2019 6:59 am
by Zapruda
Thanks Kanangra. I still use your trip reports from a few years ago. Good info.

kanangra wrote:Thanks Zapruda. That was really interesting. I've often thought about visiting that site but never managed it. Must put that right. From what I understand the Boltons accessed their holding via Daveys then Reids on the Burrungubugge. Then up and over into Tolbar Ck. Must have been hard going getting out of there? Apparently the SMA built a hut on Tolbar ck but I don't think it is still there?


Yes, old maps suggest a track from Burrungubugge to the area as well as one from Tin hut down through Finns Swamp. Tolbar hut no longer exists unfortunately. I will head up Tolbar creek in cooler weather and see If I can find the site and also the track running east/west. Recent accounts suggest it is becoming hard to follow.

kanangra wrote:Judging from your coordinates the hut site for Boltons is a little to the north east of where it is marked on my Geehi Dam 1:25000 sheet printed 2001.
K.


Exactly. None of the maps had the hut in the exact location. Not uncommon though.


kanangra wrote:Sara Alice Bolton


I have found reference to a hut that went by the name of Sara Reids hut or Sarah Boltons hut. This hut was located roughly 500m southwest of Boltons on the Finn. Presumably burning down in 1939 fires. Interesting.

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Mon 21 Jan, 2019 9:26 am
by johnrs
Heh Zapruda
What type of tent is in your picture?
And how big was the Finn river, just little holes amongst the tussocks or a creek with ponds and water races?
Thanks
John

Re: Searching out Boltons on the Finn - KNP

PostPosted: Mon 21 Jan, 2019 9:48 am
by Zapruda
johnrs wrote:Heh Zapruda
What type of tent is in your picture?
And how big was the Finn river, just little holes amongst the tussocks or a creek with ponds and water races?
Thanks
John



Hey John,

The tent is a Tarptent Notch Li. Its been fantastic. Easily one of the nicest Ultralight tents I have used in the past decade, and I have used a lot... https://www.tarptent.com/product/notch-li/

Finns river was surprisingly substantial for a body of water up there. Up around the swamp it was wide and shallow, easy to cross. Down around the 1550m mark where I crossed, it was moving deep and fast. It was around waist deep where I crossed. During snow melt It would be a torrent. I would like to explore it a bit more. There were some cascades I spied in the distance that might be worth further exploration.

Cheers.