Back in 2008, Stephen Curtain released ‘Winter Dreaming: an Australian Alps freeheel film’. It was a telemark ski movie which was filmed largely in the Snowy Mountains and a number of spots in north eastern Victoria, including the iconic eastern face of Mt Feathertop.
Ten years on, Stephen revisited some of the footage from the Feathertop scenes and re-packaged it into a 10 minute film called ‘Winter Dreaming. The backstory, Feathertop backcountry and beyond’ for the inaugural Victorian backcountry festival, held at Falls Creek in September 2018.
Several years ago, Tourism Victoria suggested that Victoria needed four ‘iconic walks’ in order to help ensure the state became a bushwalking destination. One of these was the ‘Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing’.
After a great deal of work, the final masterplan for the walk has been released by Parks Victoria.
This is a great program: Parks Victoria (PV) Track Rangers are volunteers who walk and camp along popular tracks during peak holidays in order to provide a presence in key visitation areas and providing hikers with up-to-date park information.
If you have good experience in remote area walking plus appropriate skills and the right personality, it’s a great opportunity to be out in some fantastic country and contribute in a positive way to the management of some of the state’s best parks.
It involves a 4 to 6 day commitment. Full details below.
There is still time to donate to the Challenge: All money raised will go to Disabled Wintersport Australia and can be made to the following Bendigo Bank account.
Mack’s 10 Peaks Challenge
Having finished the Challenge, Mack is now focused on helping out DWA on the snow at Falls Creek this winter.
The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing is described as “a mid-distance hiking experience through the unique and captivating Australian alpine environment”. There are plans to re-route it to make it a 56 kilometre trip and a Draft Master Plan has been released. Public comment is welcome before December 19.
Parks Victoria says “the walk will be supplemented with high quality accommodation options and interpretation that enable a range of visitors to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and stories of Victoria’s High Country”.
Tourism North East has called for feedback on the master plan for the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing walk. This has been billed as an ‘iconic’ walk which links the two resorts via the Bogong High Plains and Cobungra Gap, and is generally done over three days. A permit is required to camp at the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing campsites.
There is a proposal for a major re-alignment of the walk, which instead of skirting the High Plains, cuts out to Tawonga Huts then down into the Kiewa Valley and up Mt Feathertop. This new proposal would require substantial new track building up the Diamantina Spur. The initial public consultation period for the Plan is over.
Last year Parks Victoria (PV) ran a Volunteer Track Ranger Program in north east Victoria. They received a very positive response from both the people who volunteered and those who were out hiking in the areas where volunteer rangers were present. PV has decided to run the program again this year and is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified people.
Being involved in the program will enable participants to expand their volunteer experience while exploring some of the remote terrains and campsites in the Alpine National Park. This helps Parks Victoria during peak times of visitation.
“Huts in the mountains can be a vexed issue. Huts will tend to attract people and so tend to concentrate visitation within a larger area. As one example, most people who climb Mt Bogong tend to then turn towards Cleve Cole hut rather than head across to the Hooker Plateau. This tendency to influence visitation can be both good and bad.
They are part of the cultural history of the high country, and reflect major stages in the post colonisation era: cattle grazing, forestry, hydro, even fire watch towers and, more recently, huts built for recreational purposes. We also have a number of strange and random anomalies, ones that don’t really make sense: Craig’s hut near Mt Stirling as an example, which was built as a set for a film. There are, of course, those whose primary function is safety, such as Seaman’s hut near Mt Kosciusko, and huts that belong to clubs or even schools (Geelong Grammar on Mt Stirling)”.
With growing risk of wildfire, and many huts simply ageing and starting to fall apart, there is the chance that the overall number of huts will decline in coming years. Some are carefully looked after (the Kosciusko Huts Association lists the known caretakers of huts in the Snowy Mountains) but others are falling into disrepair.
I am more interested in indigenous history of the high country than huts, but I do appreciate the cultural value they hold for many people and the practical value of refuge huts.
Running Wild is “a series of spectacular runs in some of Victoria’s best national parks. Our motto is great runs – great places – great people. We do not run “races” as such, we are about the running experience, enjoying the country, experiencing what nature has to offer – weather, terrain and your ability to push yourself and get to know your body and your limits, and the social experience.
That is what running and wild running is all about, however if you want to run fast and race, that’s fine too”.
Their summer season starts in early February. There are a range of mountain runs, including the Lake Mountain Alpine Marathon, the Delatite Dash and the Razorback Run.
The Dinner Plain Mountain Running Festival is a new for the 2014/15 season.
For people with solid outdoor experience who want to share their love of wild nature with others, this is a great opportunity.
Parks Victoria is calling for volunteer track rangers who can be available to stay in key areas in the Alpine National Park on peak weekends, to be available to support people who are out walking.
The Track Ranger Program was established in 2005 and has volunteers hiking and camping at popular walking trails and campsites in the Victorian Alps during peak periods. Track Rangers will spend time hiking the trails of Mount Bogong, Mount Feathertop or the Bogong High Plains over 3 to 5 days. The program runs over the new year period, Labour Day weekend and Easter.
You will receive support and training from Parks Victoria.
Running Wild organises trail runs in some of Victoria’s most spectacular mountain country, including Feathertop, Mount Buller, Lake Mountain, as well as the 160km long Alpine Challenge, which is a major fund raiser.
The organisers say
Our motto is great runs – great places – great people. We do not run “races” as such, we are about the running experience, enjoying the country, experiencing what nature has to offer – weather, terrain and your ability to push yourself and get to know your body and your limits, and the social experience. That is what running and wild running is all about, however if you want to run fast and race, that’s fine too.
They are organising some new runs in 2014: the ‘Vertical K’ Series, the Victorian Mountain Running Championships and the Mount Buller Mountain Running Festival.
If running in mountain terrain appeals, then check out the various races. One of the things I appreciate about the organisers approach is that they see the run as a ‘mutual support event; it is not a race in the traditional sense. For safety reasons all participants must offer assistance to others in distress.’
The Alpine Challenge is especially impressive: it covers ‘some of the best, hardest and most exposed high country in Australia including Mt Feathertop, Mt Hotham, The Fainters, Spione Kopje, Mt Nelse and Victoria’s highest mountain, Mt Bogong’.
Their 2014 season of runs starts in early February.