|The view from the ridge line today was pretty sweet.|
I had one of the coldest nights I've ever experienced camped down by the Snowy River last night, I was in the tent just on dark and well before midnight the tent fly was a sheet of ice. I know that the tent fly was a sheet of ice because being in my senior years now I had to get up for a piss at around midnight, opening the vestibule I had the dubious pleasure of having the ice shatter and rain down on my head. Yeah, just what I wanted after crawling out from my warm and toasty sleeping bag. So when dawn finally arrived I wasn't overly keen on braving the day, eventually I decided to lean out the vestibule to get a photo of the mist blanketing the surrounding mountains before once again zipping myself up snuggly.
|I didn't even leave my sleeping bag to get this shot...|
By around 8am, after almost thirteen hours of snoozing in the tent, I decided that I could prolong the inevitable no longer. Climbing out of the tent I staggered to my feet, looking a bit like a geriatric toddler taking his first steps. Once safely up right I wandered down to the edge of the river, the mist had largely dissipated by now but there was still a few wisps remaining as I took in the scene up and down the river. I wasn't in a huge rush this morning as I didn't have a long walk in front of me today so I enjoyed a fairly relaxing breakfast while I waited for my tent to thaw out and dry off a bit. Eventually I ran out of reasons to linger any longer and shouldered my pack and set off on my journey back to McKillops Bridge.
|By the time I did eventually surface today the mist had almost lifted.|
Today's stroll immediately headed away from the Snowy River and started to climb a shallow valley. My notes suggested that the ruins of an old log cabin are visible along here but I think the 2014 bushfire might have finished off the old long cabin as I didn't notice it, while I didn't see the cabin I did see plenty of evidence of the old silver mining days as I gently climbed. My route up here followed a very old fire track, the old grassy track was now close to being reclaimed by nature in some spots, but the only real navigational issue was to pick the spot that I had to leave the gully and climb up a broad spur. While the start of the climb was a little indistinct there are enough track markers around to make things pretty clear on the ground. Once out of the gully the route climbs a track that has been benched into the hillside, it appears that someone has at some stage spent a lot of time and love on this walking track as the track was not only well benched but also featured a lot of dry stone work, it's a bit of a pity that it's so neglected now.
After around 100 metres climbing I arrived onto a narrow saddle, this was the spot that my notes suggested taking a side trip out to Snowy River View. According to my notes this sign posted side trip along a rough pad would require some easy scrambling in spots. So leaving my pack in the saddle I set off on the now un signposted side trip, apart from the absent signpost the other thing missing was the actual pad and the scrambling bit, well at least the view was still there. This side trip heads out a rocky, cypress pine covered ridge passing over a series of rocky knolls, the grandstand views of the Snowy River getting better and better the further along the ridge I went. Stopping at the final knoll before the ridge started to drop in earnest I enjoyed a Wedge Tail Eagle soaring on the thermals above me.
|I think he may have been sizing me up for lunch.|
Returning to my pack I set off once again, I was now dropping down to cross another creek before climbing up one final time to meet up with Deddick Trail again. The benched track down to the creek actually traversed some fairly steep slopes so I was glad that the track builders had spent so much energy constructing this section, even if it was now fairly overgrown. After crossing the dry sandy creek the track climbed up a fairly rocky, open spur, the most notable vegetation being the cypress pines again. On meeting Deddick Trail my loop was complete and I turned and started my easy descent back down to McKillops Bridge, like yesterday's walk the open walking on the 4wd track was actually quite pleasant, especially considering the lack of vehicles on the closed track.
|Dropping down from the saddle the benched track traversed some reasonably steep terrain.|
I didn't actually retrace my route all the way back down to the ute though, meeting a fairly neglected looking and un-signposted nature trail dropping away towards the river I decided to head down and check things out. The nature trail loops down to the river before heading up stream towards the looming McKillops Bridge. Like every other walking track in the McKillops Bridge section of the park the nature trail was fairly neglected and over grown, the track being almost indistinguishable from the scrub in spots, not that I was going to get lost with a bloody great bridge blocking out half the valley ahead of me. After avoiding a pig dog that was wandering around and then checking out an old Kurrajong Tree I climbed the last few metres up the grassy nature trail to emerge onto McKillops Road, the comfort of the ute now only twenty metres away. Climbing in I settled back for the six hour drive home, gee we live in a bloody big country.
|Deddick Trail made for pretty good walking again today.|
I walked 7.6 kilometres at an average speed of 3.3 kph on today's leg of the stroll, with 376 metres climbing and an over night pack on my back I suppose I'd still rate this leg as an easy walk. Over the course of the two days I walked 19 kilometres and climbed 867 metres on what I'd rate as a medium grade over night stroll. The walk could be done in one day if you don't want to camp out, if doing it that way it would be a hard grade walk I think. I largely did the walk as written up by Glenn Tempest in his Day Walks Around Victoria book only really deviating at the end to walk the short nature trail back to the ute. John & Lyn Daly have also written the walk up in Take A Walk In Victoria's National Parks and Parks Vic have a very good free pdf of the walk available on line. Unlike the first day of this walk, today's walk largely followed walking tracks, in spots the old track is getting fairly neglected but it's still easily enough followed, it's a bit of a shame really as the walking track section of this walk is really enjoyable.
|Not a bad spot to finish my walk. The original bridge got washed away - it was only 10 feet lower than this one. The mind boggles imagining what this river use to look like.|
|Heading home up McKillops Road, this road will certainly get your attention.|
|There are some fairly serious drops off the side, this is actually one of the least scary spots.|