This was a 5 day hard backpacking trip from the Bulls Peak Creek to nearby Diggings, Wallace’s Hut, Snowy Vale, Moulds site, Katingal & Bogong sites, Cesjacks, old trail across to Strawberry Hill FT, Ryries Parlour, GreyMare Water race, Mawson’s Hut, Kidman’s & huts along Bulls Peak Ck
[provided as record of an old but historic trip visiting many sites along the edge of KNP some of which were contentious back in the 1980’s]
Featured Image is Greg in front of Kidmans Hut – 30 Oct 2010
This is a report on a walking trip from Bulls Peak Creek (Snowy Plains) starting on 26th October and concluding on 30th October. I visited huts along Bulls Peak Creek (Kore Grunnsund’s old hut, the new lodge, Cameron’s Lodge), Snowy Vale Huts (Wallace’s, Snowy Vale, Top Hut), Moulds site, Katingal, Nordheim and Bogong sites, Cesjacks, Ryries site, Mawsons and Kidmans. I searched for Jaanga, Cesjacks 2 and 3, Grey Mare Trail site and Ryries Parlour hut sites without success.
I also visited and got a feel for the Bulls Peak Creek Diggings, the Upper Macdonald Diggings and the old Bridle Trail from Doubtful River to the Strawberry River old Fire trail, the Ryries Parlour bridle trail part way, and Grey mare water race part around the hill to the west of the Grey Mare FT to a prominent saddle.
I used a Garmin Etrex Vista C GPS with route planning done on both Oziexplorer with NSW topo maps and also Mapsource with Oztopo maps. For most important sites I took averaged readings of sites and recorded the accuracy. The GPS is likely to be not as accurate as newer models. Interesting I received a new Garmin Oregon 450 the day before I left but there was not enough time to learn about it. I used the GPS set for UTM and WGS84.
Total GPS recorded trip distance over 5 days was 84.9Km. Reference the end for information about pictures, files and GPS files
Day 1 – Tues 26th October
I left home just before 7AM and it was not till 11AM that I started walking from the Bulls Peak Creek crossing. I left the car on the east side of the Creek as it was flowing strongly and looked quite deep. I walked across the footbridge GPS UTM 636163 5997408 Alt 1409m and climbed up the FT that goes to the border until I could easily head down to the Bulls Peak Ck Diggings as shown on David Scott’s (DS) map.
I then walked down an obvious creek line, with a side creek off to the east until it joins a main creek flowing from the Snowy vale area that then enters Bulls Pk Ck. This clearly is the Bulls Pk Ck diggings.
I checked and took several waypoints marked D1-D9 notating points of reference for the diggings, Point D1 marks the start of the diggings from the side I entered. Interestingly there is a short but definite water race that runs from some undefined point above D1 down the western side of the creek line and then does a complete U turn and then drops away into the creek. It might have been a simple diversion of the creek to permit easier digging below. I did a sketch of the main diggings.
The diggings seem to stop for a 100m or so, then start again and become quite intensive between points D2 and D3. Between these points there are several trenches and mounds that run mostly parallel to the creek as it travels through a small gully area.
Near Point D4 there is s side creek off towards the east where I have marked Points D5 and D6 that mark the boundaries of the diggings in this side gully. It’s not that long but quite deep.
From Point 4 there is a just a long single mound following the creek down to meet the main North South Creek and it then continues south towards the Bulls Pk Ck to about Point D7. I then went back up this main creek towards Wallace’s and found more similar low level diggings between Points D8 and D9.
I then went north until reaching a fence line, and followed that to a stile which was close to a gate that said Snowy Vale GPS UTM 634140 5998666 Alt 1473m
Snowy Vale Huts
I climbed the stile 10m to the south of the gate, and wandered up their trail to an obvious hut that could be seen for some distance. There was an extensive set of Sheep yards that commenced at the gate and went north along the main fence line. I checked the location of sheep yards marked on DS map but nothing was there. The sheep yards at the gate seem to be the obvious location.
The hut turns out to be labelled Wallace’s Hut GPS UTM 633892 5998773 Alt 1488m. I took an average set of readings over 117 readings and it said accuracy 3.9m on the front verandah whilst having lunch.
The hut was originally Wallace’s hut and was renovated by Snowy Vale Inc in 2000/2001 as defined in their log book. It’s a small hut with a table and two beds. It can be used by the public in an emergency only. I took some pictures of the log book and a picture there that showed the hut before the renovation. The hut does need some painting around the windows and some of the exposed roof beams.
I now assumed David’s map was wrong as the Lodge he marked is not far up the hill from this spot. I looked around for any other ruins as David’s GPS reading put Wallace’s hut up to 50 metres to the west. I did not find anything. I subsequently learnt that the fireplace behind the hut was in fact the original hut on the site. Someone had rebuilt the hut just north of the fireplace and Snowy Vale then renovated that hut. I then wandered back down to the sheep yards and decided to take the obvious track that ran north along a thin valley I assumed there would be a way up to Cesjacks somewhere along here. The track looked well used.
It seemed to go on for ever and eventually wandered around to the south then SW and climbed. It started to become obvious that it was heading for the Spot marked as Lodge on David’s map. And there it was; a huge version of Bulls Peak Lodge, with solar panels, gas cylinders, and three out station buildings. Wow it was amazing. I wandered round and took some pictures and took an extensive GPS reading on the back SW corner Snowy Vale Lodge (SVL) GPS UTM 633442 5998816 Alt 1576m
DS’s reading is 20m SE and away from the lodge. I took an averaged 300 readings with an accuracy of 4.3m. Reading through the door to a sign there are instructions from Frank Pirchmoser ?? dated around 1997, so I suspect it may have been built around that time. A ski forum suggested it was more like 1989. However it was confirmed by Renzo Dalmazo that the date was really 1990.
There was a continuation of the track, but much less used; more now in a westerly, then NW direction – obviously going towards the park boundary. At one point there was a tap standing vertically, and you could see a pipeline underneath. The 4WD stopped in an open area, and then a walking track of sorts went on eventually ending on the NE side of a creek coming down from the heights above. There is large pump housing with pipes running down into the creek. There is also a pipe running about 40m up to a collection device just outside the border. If one then turned south and went along the border for 40m there is an easy crossing and a steep but open climb up to the plateau above. A good spot for skiers. However I went back across the small creek and climbed up along the border fence to the north to try and find the third hut.
Thus I came across Top Hut GPS UTM 632416 5999535 Alt 1682m.
I took an averaged 200 readings at the door with an accuracy of 4.5m. Around the hut there is a large water tank maybe 30m to the west, a wood shed 25m to the north and a toilet not far from that. There is a vague 4WD trail to the north then through a proper gate and then out to the main 4WD about 150m from the main KNP gate. Top Hut is some 50m from the border at the west. David has his reading located there and it’s obviously incorrect. The border gate is nearly north of the hut some 230m. I have no details on the hut as it’s locked and nothing can be seen. However I collected some details off a forum
I have captured the relevant posts and these included in another word file. It’s suggested that the Upper Hut has been there since around 1989. Although I believe the post means SVL as the Top Hut was severely burnt in 2003. It would have been very exposed up there.
In fact it now appears that the first instance of Top Hut was an old outhouse building towed from Bogong to this spot in around 1986/87 by Bryan Haig. It was upgraded to a hut around 1989/90 when Snowy Vale Inc. bought the land.
I captured several pictures from the forum and also Gary Duncan’s site. Duncan’s site uses the term Bogong Group Upper and Lower hut.
I then traced the way out to the main fire trail and located a spot on the trail that would be a good spot for turning off to go straight down to the SVL track near the pump.
Jaanga and Moulds
I then dropped the pack at the ridge top and turned north across the grassy ridge towards Jaanga and Moulds.
I found the general area for Jaanga but could find no obvious ruins. Robert Green had the same issue although he found a pipe coming out of the ground. I could not find that. It’s likely that Roberts reading is accurate as I believe it came from the same source as Moulds which turned out to be very close. It’s also more sloped which aligns with the picture from KHA Newsletter 111. Since then I have seen a short write up by John Williams with some GPS readings. These seem to place the hut 300-400m west near the top of the ridge. This does not look correct, so further checking needs to be done. [I found the likely correct area for Jaanga a couple of years later]
I then went down a bit and tracked across to Moulds. It was a bit scrubby and it turns out the higher route I took back was better.
I found Moulds site spot on where Robert’s reading put it.
Moulds GPS UTM 631235 6000799 Alt 1723m. This is the reading for the fireplace/cairn. I took 80 average readings with an accuracy of 4.3m. A copperhead snake basking in the sun next to his tin can home put me off somewhat.
There is a heap of flattened metal sheet on the ground directly west of the site and Robert’s reading seems based on that area.
Moulds Toilet is around 100m bearing 311 true. GPS UTM 631162 6000864 Alt 1724m. I averaged 50 readings with an accuracy of 4.6m.
David’s location is 550m bearing 331 true from Moulds. This is obviously incorrect, although the Jagungal sketch map Ed 4 shows it where David’s location is! Actually Ed 1 shows it correctly.
I tracked back to the main road, picked up my pack and then took the obvious 4WD trail across to the Bogong/Katingal/Nordheim sites area.
Site 1: Bogong Site.
The first thing to come to is an obvious site. David Scott has Katingal near here.
My reading was GPS UTM 631304 5998596 Alt 1753m. I took an average of 150 readings with an accuracy of 4.1m. (631191 5998412 in GDA66 ie GR312984. KHA has this as Bogong Lodge)
Bogong has a GR 312984 from KHA. Bogong was supposedly built as a replacement for Nordheim Hut in 1978 and destroyed by the NPWS after a huge legal battle in 1987. The Jagungal sketch map also shows the Bogong site as the most northerly and most likely where David show Katingal. So Site 1 is Bogong based on correspondence with Bryan Haig and similar readings from John Williams.
Site 2: Katingal Site. I tracked SW and found another possible site at GPS UTM 631257 5998552 Alt 1754m. However I suspected this might be a mound caused by a fallen tree or its roots. There are some daffodils growing around here which one ex Bogong user says was where Katingal is. As for 1 above this is clearly Katingal site. Took only an average of 32 readings with an accuracy of 4.4m.
I checked both David’s sites where he had Bogong and Nordheim. There was nothing at either with his Nordheim being too far down the hill.
Site 3: Nordheim Site, or close to it. However just south of his Bogong reading I found an old tree stump with some wood nailed to two branches indicating something might have been here. Tree stump site, probably Nordheim GPS UTM 631221 5998516 (GDA66 631108 5998331. Ie GR 311 983). The Jagungal sketch map shows the Nordheim location is about where the tree with the timber is as above. Took only an average of 50 readings with an accuracy of 4.4m.
Site 4: 20m SW of Site 3 I found wood on the ground and a spoon. These appear to be relics from Site 3. Site 4 GPS UTM 631203 5998511.
Site 5: Tank Site. I then was leaving, but 60m NW (bearing 311 true) I found a definitive large site of length around 30m with a couple of pipes sticking out and some bricks near a tree stump in the middle. It has a distinctive hut mound with a bend in the middle. I thought this might be Katingal or Bogong, depending what the first one is. GPS UTM 631172 5998559 Alt 1758m. (In Mapsource I altered the datum to GDA66 for this point and the reading became 631060 5998375. This is very close to GR 311 984 which DS has in lieu of KHA’s GR312984). I have subsequently discussed by email with Bryan Haig and he indicates it is most likely the substantial tank site. He bought the tank to the site in pieces and Kore Grunnsund built a stone wall around the base which might explain the mound. There is a picture of the tank on page 25 of Haig’s book. I took an average of 100 readings with accuracy of 5m.
I have put further thoughts and background material on Snowy Vale and the huts east of Cesjacks in a separate document.
I arrive at Cesjacks at 5.45PM having done some 18.1Km in the trip log since 11AM.
Day 2 – Wed 27th October
I stayed overnight at Cesjacks and took a new GPS reading averaging 130 readings with an accuracy of 3.2m at the front door.
Cesjacks Hut GPS UTM 630631 5998858 Alt 1727m
It had rained overnight and the sky looked dark and warned of wet and cold conditions with a strong breeze blowing. It was so bad I cooked breakfast on the stove in the hut.
I decided to wander along the Bulls Peak ridge line and look for Cesjacks 2 and 3 and the way up from Bulls Pk Lodge.
I first went to the Cesjacks 2 site as marked on DS’s map. It was a fairly sloped position exposed to the west and I could find no evidence of any structures close by. It didn’t look like the right area for a hut.
I then went up slightly to the ridgeline and found my way down to where the footpad from Bulls Pk lodge more or less ends. Its then open country up the ridge. However there is a very prominent cairn on a large rock outcrop that marks the way. It’s shown on the Jagungal sketch map as RC.
Large Cairn on rock GPS UTM 630036 5997116
The site DS shows as Cesjacks No3 is close by to the south. There is a nice flat area right next to the old 4WD west of the cairn mentioned above. There are some rocks and trees providing cover from the west, but it’s still not an ideal spot for a hut. I could find no evidence of any structure being here. I tracked further south by 200m and some distance east and west and saw nothing.
I then headed west south west across a large open area with some boggy ground, but it was reasonable walking. I tracked slightly north picking up a likely ridge rising to the west. I then hit on an old trail not far above the Doubtful River. I tracked it back 500m or so to confirm that it was an old trail coming from the Cesjacks area. I didn’t have time to go back far so that’s for the future. [I did return on a later trip]
I then followed it as best I could right through to the Strawberry Hill FT. It’s actually quite a nice walking route if you’re trying to get from Cesjacks to the Grey Mare FT.
I lost this trail in 3 distinct spots but back tracked so I could get a decent picture of the overall route – which I did. The old trail crosses McAlister Saddle between the Geehi and Doubtful Rivers. It’s easy to lose the trail at this saddle which I dutifully did. A large snow drift also disguised where it went. Jagungal itself was still covered with large drifts on the east and south.
It tracks west into the Geehi valley and actually crosses the Geehi twice just above where it forks into two branches. It then goes beside the Geehi and up and over another saddle to the west and into the upper reaches of the Tooma River before swinging south towards the end of the old Strawberry Trail. This is clearly marked by another large cairn on a rock, again shown on the Jagungal sketch map.
The old Strawberry Hill FT is now hard to follow in places but the general direction should be obvious. The most difficult section is that of about 500m south of the little hill to the north just before it joins the Grey Mare FT. It’s hard to find from the Grey Mare so one should note the first two waypoints accurately.
I took 24 waypoints on the McAlister Saddle trail and 10 on the Strawberry Hill FT.
On the Grey Mare FT I stopped to look for the Grey Mare Trail hut site as shown on DS’s map. I could find no signs of any such hut. However on the east side of the nominal site there is an old concrete marker which says SMHEA Survey Mark 329/7/1 GPS UTM 621878 5994585
On the Grey Mare FT there were distinctive tyre marks from a couple of Mountain Bikes in very recent days. Apparently they are permitted on the Grey Mare, Valentine and Round Mountain Trails.
I went on to the snow poles near Smiths Lookout, and then tracked west over a small flat hill which is quite scrubby on its east and south sides. It’s an easy walk down to the lower gap where a valley up to Ryries Parlour goes. However after a hard and long day it was a slog up to the top saddle into Ryries Parlour.
Flat Hill Top GPS UTM 621246 5994096 Alt 1711m
From Waypoint RP38GH the route of the old Bridle Trail was obvious and could be followed up until RP37GH onto the hill leading to a high saddle.
Some of the way down it can be followed but I lost it and it and kept to the north when it was mostly on the south. However I corrected this on the return the next day. I made camp in a reasonable spot on a side valley up to the north by 6PM. I had done 23Km by the trip meter with a lot of backtracking and slow methodical checking. The campsite was about 200m north of Waypoint RP16.
Campsite GPS UTM 619665 5995045 Alt 1660m
The weather had started quite cool and threatening but ended warm and sunny. The views to the south were just majestic with Rocky Bogong towering right over me.
Day 3 – Thurs 28th Oct
Up at 6.00AM. I packed but left the tent up to dry, and just walked down the old Ryries Parlour trail to around Waypoint RP21CX as provided by Craig Doubleday. Based on the end and start of his tracks he camped near here.
My route down had been on the east side of the creek and was reasonably easy to follow. The WPs and Craig’s track show a distinct crossing as the creek enters a rocky area. The trail then goes NW parallel to the creek. However it’s quite scrubby for several hundred metres.
As the route closes on a side creek coming from the SW, an open area is obtained and it’s near here where Craig must have camped. It does make a reasonable campsite with grass and plenty of wood and water.
Campsite and Better Hut site GPS UTM 618940 5995211 ALT 1606M
Near here I looked for DS’s site called Ryries Parlour hut. However the area is sloped and not very suitable. I could find nothing. Near the clearer area I marked a spot which would have been a much better hut site – but there seems to be nothing there.
The main creek that was followed soon makes a turn to the north and heads off to join the Tooma, whilst the old bridle trail continues on and climbs a little to go around Hill 1628 as marked on the maps. Across the creek there is a large clearing which might have contained a hut, but I did not have time to check it out.
I returned back up the way I came to the campsite and packed up, leaving here around 10AM.
I retraced the way up to saddle and found the correct way on the south then north side of the creek.
Over the saddle and part way down I found the Ryries Hut site, DS calls it Jackie Smiths hut site.
I took a GPS reading that was averaged over 150 readings with an accuracy of 4.5m. It was taken on the north corner. The size of the hut ruin was difficult to determine due to trees but maybe around 5x3m. There were a small number of tins on the ground and one small bottle only.
Ryries Hut site (Jackie Smiths) GPS UTM 620338 5994570 Alt 1693m
I then tracked down to another effective saddle and took the line up along a ridgeline that Craig Doubleday had followed in April as it seemed a nice way to the saddle further east through which the Grey Mare water race was likely to pass.
The route was actually quite good and mostly clear up to a rocky top peak. I took a reading here averaged over 50 readings with an accuracy of 3.9m.
Rocky Hilltop GPS UTM 620685 5994370 Alt 1719m
To get down from here it was necessary to take the ridge north for a couple of hundred metres then swing SE.
In the saddle between this Rocky Top and the Flat Hilltop just west of the Grey Mare FT it open and grassy but no signs of any race can be seen. I took the saddle to the top and then tracked around this easterly hilltop as though I would contour around it until reaching the Grey Mare FT.
It only took 50-100m before I started to detect a flattened section then the distinct outline of a race became evident. I tracked it back towards the saddle but it disappeared quickly. I concluded that there must have been a long and fairly high flume across the saddle to the west side maybe crossing the saddle at over 10 foot above ground level.
I then followed the race around towards the FT where it goes around the contour line and continues along west of the FT as it continues north. It’s hard to follow in places with fallen trees and dense thickets.
It quite possible to walk around the hill to the FT although some obstacles will need to be walked around.
I then went north along the Grey Mare FT, stopping on the east to have lunch and get water around 500m down a grassy slope.
I then met 4 fellas walking from Kiandra along the AAWT to Thredbo via the main range. They intended to go to White’s River hut and then traverse across the Rolling Grounds. We exchanges pleasantries and how many copperhead snakes we had come across. They of course were interested in the weather and I had the unpleasant task of telling them it was likely to be quite poor weather in the mountains from Sat onwards for a few days. Unfortunately this prediction was accurate. Hope they were alright!
I then followed the Strawberry Hill FT (once I found the start) back up to the Strawberry Hill ridge and tracked south to the Geehi River, crossing OK with crocs, then on to the Valentine River which I attempted to cross with boots and gaiters but got slightly wet feet. I hate that!
I noticed just before the river for a couple of hundred metres sign of an old bridle trail that had been cut into the embankment. DS has no bridle trail here but the route is an obvious one and was definitely used in the past.
On the way up over the plateau there are further occasional signs of an old bridle trail that obviously went through Big bend and to the Geehi.
I reached Mawson’s Hut at about 5.20PM. Another long day! The trip log showed only a total of 14.5Km but I was so tired as the going was over difficult terrain due to scrub at Ryrie’s and soft ground over the Geehi, plus the odd snow drift.
I took a new reading at Mawson’s (as my previous readings seem to differ by more than 10m to DS and KHA readings) at the door and averaged it over 330 readings with an accuracy of 3.3m.
Mawson’s Hut GPS UTM 626132 5990522 Alt 1815m
Mawson’s (like Tin Hut) is now the proud owner of a new toilet. It has a 150 litre roll-in/roll-out helicopter conveyed toilet built on the south slopes above the hut.
It stands out quite markedly. It just does not appear to be more environmentally friendly nor aesthetic then the old structure. The thought of a helicopter, at great expense and use of a huge amount of fuel to cart the waste, seems extravagant. But we see the same thought of thing in Tas and NZ as they replenish huts.
Day 4 – Friday 29th Oct
Awoke 6.30AM and left after a leisurely breakfast by 9.15AM. I followed the old dray trail across the Valentine (crocs again in the crossing) and up to the plateau at the top to the east. As one climbs up and comes to an open area, one needs to turn south about 45 degrees to pick up the old route.
I stopped and took some Waypoints, Pts 1, 2, 3 on the tops where the trail may have exited and crossed the plateau to the eastern side. Unfortunately there is no clear route across although when its drier they may have been able to cross just south of the Tor.
I also visited the Tor as marked on the Jagungal map for the first time and took some pictures. It’s quite an impressive rock stuck way out the middle of this plateau.
The Tor GPS UTM 627926 5991000 Alt 1878m
Travelling across to the east side of the plateau I picked up and old fence line running N-S and there are still around 5 posts in a row existing. As you follow the strands of the old fence it comes within 30m of an old gate (Waypoint 171) which marks where the old trail went. There is also an E-W fence line across there plateau here. The N-W fence line continues but swings S-E and crosses a ridge to end up at another gate (Waypoint 166). This is where the old trail from Kidman’s seems to finish.
I followed the route of the old trail down to the next plateau and then onto the plateau where the Burrungubugge (or McDonald River) rises and had lunch near here (Waypoint 151)
I then took the route of the old trail down towards the plateau below but stopped to see the falls/cascades as the water rages down from the plateau above. Due to trees and dead wood it was hard to photograph. It seems like the water drops around 70m in a short distance. The falls are quite noisy and include multiple streams of water pouring down the gorge. The river actually drops about 110m from the top where you can cross it to the bottom near the fireplace in a horizontal distance of some 550m.
Exiting the route down one comes to a small plateau. It’s here where back in 2003 we first found the large fireplace that was used by stockmen in the past and where one can camp. However I did not stop on this occasion and instead continued another 600m down and across the plateau to the area just above where the Burrungubugge enters another gorge that marks a well-worn route down as well as the site of the Upper McDonald Diggings. I had always thought they were at the bottom and that’s were Charles Warners GR and the Jagungal sketch map edition 4 show them. However an old map about Alpine Hut (from DS’s research) shows McDonald Diggings in the area I just reached. However the map titled “The Area Around Alpine” spells then as McDonnell’s Diggings and the Creek as McDonnell’s Ck.
There are piles of stone rubble along the southern bank of the River above the cascades which I thought were deposited by the river raging during snow melt. However on reflection and looking more closely they are certainly old diggings.
Upper McDonald Diggings GPS UTM 630416 5991396
To clinch this, there is an old water race that runs from the north edge of the river N-W some 100m NW to a creek that flows in to the River.
However for the race to have functioned it looks to me as though there must have been a small header dam formed by damming this side creek. Above the likely site of the dam there is a small gully that may have formed part of the water storage.
Likely Header Dam site GPS UTM 630330 5991456
I travelled down the gorge passing the large cascades just below the plateau where the diggings are. I never actually found the site of the Lower MacDonald diggings before, but I think they may be close to the position I marked as there is a small ridge which includes lot of disturbed stones
Lower McDonald Diggings GPS UTM 630814 5991099
I continued on to Kidmans hut through open woodland although it’s getting hard to walk through a portion of the wood due to fallen trees and growing scrub.
I reached Kidmans Hut at 3.15PM and felt quite tired. The day’s trip was only 10Km but it was enough.
Reading the log book there had not been many visitors to the hut since winter, but Peter Kain and two others had been there for the Oct long weekend and made a base camp there. They did a day trip (9.25 hrs) to the Mailbox, Mawsons, Kerries, Big Brassy, Alpine and back. I guess without a pack it can be done, but it’s quite a walk with snow still around.
Day 5 – Sat 30th Oct
The weather was predicted to turn on this day and it was cool and blustery in the morning. I had breakfast on the stove in the hut.
As I packed up it sprinkled a bit, but didn’t rain.
I then headed off around 9AM deciding to take the route over Little Brassy Gap rather than via Bulls peak Lodge as I was sceptical about the weather.
I reached Little Brassy Gap about 10AM and it started to really rain for the first time. However it relented.
I went well and decided to detour to the west side of the Mill Flat. I did not find any signs of a timber mill as reported in Pauline’s book but did see another fat copperhead snake. I reached the junction of Teddy’s Creek and Collins Creek.
Strangely I could see where some brumbies had crossed at the junction and stirred up some mud, although not much really. 10m away some pigs had done a good job and destroyed more grass. They are becoming a real problem in this area, much more than brumbies.
I turned north up the old trail that goes out to the Barley Fields and Jardine’s property. Near where the trail heads out across an open area I had to stop and put on my over pants as the rain intensified.
Then as it petered out for a bit I stopped and had lunch under a dripping gum tree.
The Fire trail that links from the Teddy Ck trail up to a trail along the border has been improved with better culverts put in across some small creeks.
After lunch I continued up to the crest where the trail forks and took the branch north towards the Barley Field. (This was owned by Bob McMillan, who passed away in 2004, and one other. It’s a hugh open grassy area between Grunnsund’s old properties, the Gungarlin and Jardine’s land to the east).
Just as I got close to the boundary of the park I came across 5-6 brumbies and scattered them through the bush. They were the only ones I saw in the park the whole time.
I exited the park through an open gate (Waypoint Gate2) and then dropped down a steep incline to the open large field known as the Barley Field.
I followed my GPS over open very wet fields and had to hop across a couple of creeks heading for the western gate that would take me to the area where I knew there were some private huts.
Passing through the last gate in driving rain I dropped my pack and went back up a small hill looking for the Wheately Yards as marked on DS’s map. The area nearby is flat with scattered timber but I found no signs of any yards. Logically they would have been close to the nearby gate.
I then wandered down the well-used 4WD toward where I knew the huts were. I missed the turnoff to the Cameron’s Lodge but found where the trail goes to Grunnsund’s old lodge.
DS marked a spot where Rowe’s’ Hut ruin is, from the old Jagungal sketch. The sketch doesn’t show the 4WD. However from having been here in the mid 1990’s I had marked Rowe’s Hut ruin site as being where there is a real old hut. It is some 230m north of where one leaves the main 4WD and takes the 4WD into the site. The spot marked by DS would actually be on the main 4WD, but there is nothing there. Unfortunately due to the weather I missed seeing any signs of Rowe’s Hut site which I have subsequently learnt does exist down near the main trail. There apparently is a sign but it’s not quite in the right spot.
The hut shown on the Jagungal sketch is where Kore Grunnsund has rebuilt the old hut taken from the Katingal site near Cesjacks. Whilst the building is old it is partially constructed of stone, wood and metal sheet. There used to be more stuff around, including a caravan, but now about 40-50m east there is a newish green shed with an old vehicle behind. I subsequently learnt that the 2003 fires took out the caravan and an old shed.
The KHA site used to show this site as Grunsen’s as does Gary Duncans site. However I am positive its Katingal as its engraved above the door.
Katingal (Kore Grunnsund old hut) GPS UTM 634108 5997283. Alt 1473m
I followed the muddy track across to the new hut on the horizon to the north about 400m. This is the hut I saw being built just before 2000. I have a picture somewhere of that time.
This is actually a new hut built by the new property owner Stuart McDougall in 2001. He bought Grunnsunds property Portion 37 in about 1995. It is built from a wood frame but metal clad. It overlooks the Bulls Peak Ck valley and can be seen from Wallace’s Hut. To the east Cameron’s Hut can be seen. The hut is well built with a nice BBQ area on the west side.
They have built some tracks down to the creek as well as around the small plateau out to the east.
High Hut (or McDougalls) GPS UTM 634031 5997618. Alt 1464m
I took an averaged 100 readings but only got an accuracy of 6.7m due maybe to all the metal on the walls. I then headed east and down a small gully and side creek towards the Cameron’s hut.
Down near this creek I found what looked like some small diggings with clearly showing stones
Small Diggings GPS UTM 634401 5997585
I reached the Cameron Lodge which is a metal covered structure and took an average of 100 readings but only got an accuracy of 6.7m again. The lodge looks like it is used but needs some painting an attention.
Cameron’s Lodge GPS UTM 634681 5997647 Alt 1451m (Its got a new owner and now now)
I then struggled through awkward country having to cross a difficult fence back into the Barley Field and track along inside the fence line along the Bulls Peak Ck. All the time drenching rain was falling.
I reached the car around 3.30PM having done 17.1Km. I then drove out via Nimmo Hill which is 9.3Km from Bulls Peak Ck. Bulls Head Ck to Belconnen in Canberra was very close to 200Km
On the way out I passed some very interesting wallabies on the road as well as near Nimmo Hill. Most had young. They seemed like Red Neck Wallabies. I have often seen wallabies along the trail to the Gungarlin especially late in the afternoon when they come out to graze.
Diagrams and Pictures Available
Pictures of this trip are available in Google Photos. If you click on a picture you can download it as 1024x 768 pixels.
33 GPS Map views are also in Google Photos covering each Day and the road trip from Nimmo to Bulls Pk Ck.
It includes several special sketches and scans:
- Two sketches and map extracts covering the Bulls Peak Ck Diggings
- Two sketches showing the huts and features of Snowy Vale Inc property and Wallaces Hut area
- sketches and map extracts showing hut sites east of Cesjacks
- Two map extracts covering Jaanga and Moulds sites
A Google Drive folder contains the following:
- One Google earth kmz file covering the trip but not extra routes
- One GPX file covering the trip data and other data used
- Separate file of this report of this trip and an excel file KNP Oct 10 Important Location from 26-30 Oct 2010 Trip.xlxs
[Note some of the site data from this report has been updated in later years after further visits such as Jaanga, Bogong sites]
I have also created a separate file on findings on the huts of Gungarlin Valley adjoining KNP near Cesjacks. Also I have kept data on the contacts for these huts in another file.
Written Greg Hutchison, 20 Dec 2010 [Updated 3 Dec 2017]