Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dibbins Hut - May 1998

In May of 1998 we were planning our first trip over to do the Overland Track and needed a warm up walk to test out our wet weather gear. I'd walked up around Mt Hotham before and I wanted to show Sam some of the old huts in the area, so that's how we decided to head to Dibbins Hut for the night.

We only had two day window off work so had no room to move in relation to the weather, leaving the troopie at the Mt Loch car park we headed off into the snow showers. The day was already half over by the time we started walking, but we only had about eight kilometres to the hut. By passing Mt Loch our first stop was a Derrick Hut about four kilometres into the walk, the snow was starting to settle a bit but overall the walking was cold but fairly easy. Derrick Hut was built by the Wangaratta Ski Club in 1967 in the memory of Charles Derrick, a ski-tourer who died from exposure near here, he was attempting to ski from Mt Bogong to Mt Hotham in one day.
Derrick Hut on day one.
After having a quick rest in the hut we started our descent down Swindlers Spur, the snow gums in the swirling mist providing interest on the grey day. As we descended the 400 metres to Dibbins Hut the snow flurries turned to rain, not ideal as its much better to be cold and dry with snow falling than cold and wet with rain falling on you. I wasn't to concerned however as we planned to spend the night in the hut and after slipping and sliding down the steep track we eventually arrived in the beautiful valley through which the Cobungra River flowed.
Dibbins Hut.
Once in the hut we quickly got out of our wet clothes and set about making ourselves at home for the night. Dibbins Hut was built in 1987 to replace a hut that was built in 1917 which replaced an even older hut. The log construction of the hut was a bit on the draughty side so I quickly got the small pot belly stove going, whilst Sam organised our sleeping arrangements in the loft, sounds pretty flash hey, think rustic however and you will be closer to the truth. We spent the remainder of the day huddled around the stove reading and eating, in between showers I wondered over to the river to get some water, the valley looking very atmospheric with the cloud cloaking the surrounding mountains.
Dibbins Hut is a little on the draughty, rustic side!
I'd noticed the rain on the tin roof had stopped half way through the night and sticking my head out side next morning confirmed what I thought, the snow level had dropped down to the hut. After packing up we walked through a winter wonderland, as we climbed back up Swindlers Spur the snow got deeper and by the time we reached the shelter of Derrick Hut it was around 20 cm deep on the ground. After having a bit of a rest in the hut it was time to head on around the shoulder of Mt Loch, this section is very exposed and we got battered around in the wind a bit, we were certainly having a good warm up for the Overland Track. It was with some relief that we got back to the troopie and it fired first go, within a few minutes we were toasty warm and heading down the mountain to Harrietville.
Climbing back up to Derrick Hut, day 2.
Following the AAWT below Mt Loch.
Sam on the track near Mt Loch.

The Dirt
We didn't use notes for this walk but there are plenty of guide book authors who have covered this area. I haven't been back up here since the massive fires that have ripped through the area in the last decade but there would be lots of changes, mainly to the snow gums that really don't like being burn't, both huts have survived the fires so far! All up we walked about 8 kilometres each day, the track is well marked and signposted when not under snow, a pretty cruisey overnight walk.

Sam just loves the snow.

Back in the troopie with the heater on, all good.

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