Keppel Hut and dragons and radios
February 2016, the seventh anniversary of the Black Saturday fires, saw a lovely sunny weekend forecast so a walk over Lake Mountain to Keppel’s Hut seemed a good idea. I left the carpark and numerous cyclists at Lake Mountain about 2pm and started wandering up the ski trails. Insects galore, but only three other people in the first hour or so. The last person, rather disconcertingly, talked about snakes reminding me that, walking solo, being bitten would be a bad idea. I trudged on, leaving the wide open, grassy ski-trails for the less maintained, ungroomed track to Boundary Hut, or what’s left of Boundary Hut. I had been here before many years ago when the area was under snow because I can remember seeing only a few bricks.
A sign on the track just past Boundary Hut warned me that I was now heading into a remote area and that if I wasn’t properly equipped I’d probably die a horrible death. Sounded like fun so I wandered on. At this point the track is next to an alpine boggy-marshy swampy area that seems to drain onto the track for the first ten metres or so. It was slow going as I kept having to stop to take photos of dragonflies.
The track was easy going through open Snow Gum forest before descending a bit more steeply through Alpine Ash regrowth. There was lots of dead ash trees from the Black Saturday fires of 2009, most of them still standing but a few lying down over the track. While it looked like a lot of work had been done keeping the track open it is going to be endless task as the trees are going to keep falling for a long time yet. Alpine Ash regenerates from seed and the regrowth is quite thick meaning that there are few views and no air movement. Hot, sweaty walking.
Eventually the track spat me out on a four wheel drive track about 100m from the hut. There was one other person camping overnight, a four wheel driver by the name of VK3MRG – a short wave radio enthusiast busy rigging aerials for better reception. We chatted over dinner, chatted to people in Europe and listened to planes flying from Tonga to Auckland. He helped eat my chocolate and I helped drink his wine. The hut is a great camp spot – plenty of space for tents (the hut sleeps four if you need to) and there’s water in the creek running nearby.
The next day was back-tracking up the hot, sweaty hill and along the ski-trails. My original plan had me heading down Goulds Track, which connects the walking track to Upper Taggerty Road, and then to Snowy Hill. Goulds Track appears on some maps but is so overgrown I couldn’t see it though I could easily pick the ridge where it should be. While it is less than a kilometre to Upper Taggerty Road, I thought it might be a bit too epic for a solo trip, especially as my phone’s battery was dead and so calling for help wouldn’t be an option. I decided on the easier option and stuck with the walking track.
TIME AND DISTANCE: Around 8km and two to three hours walking each way.
NAVIGATION: All very easy on marked trails and I only looked at my map to see where Gould’s Track should be. Rooftop’s Big River–Rubicon –Woods Point has the tracks marked. The Recreation Trails and Tracks Map on Lake Mountain’s website, also drawn by Rooftop, is good for a mud map
|Boundary Hut Ruins|
|Dragonfly - an Emerald Tau|
A bug - alpine grasshopper of some sort
|WARNING !! The track off the plateau towards Keppel Hut|
|My camp next to the hut|