That’s more like it, the Jack is now covered in mud covering up the slimy green hoppers, life has returned to normal. We will need to hose it down though as its hard open a door without getting dirty.
Weather wise we just about covered it all today, we had rain, fog and sunshine at times all 3, we had sleet and the big finale we were snowed on at Craig’s hut, yippee. We had a massive day, leaving the van at 9am and not getting back until 10 ½ hrs later at 7.30pm.
We headed up the Howqua Hills Track, which has a sign off the main road to Mt Buller marked Sheepyard Flat. This takes you into the Howqua Hills Historic area it is a dirt road that is suitable for 2wd cars. Sheepyard Flat is market in the Camps 5 book and has a tick and we can see why. It is suitable for vans and motor homes, is a very large grassy area on 2 sides of the road, has toilets and lots of trees next to a river.
Heading through this area you get to Frys Flat which is also a camping area that van’s can get into. It is here you will find Frys Hut. Fred Fry built this hut in the late 1930’s and lived there until 1971. It is quite an elaborate hut with a main room with a fire place, 2 bedrooms come off that, then another room with a room leading off that. Fred Fry erected many of the huts in the region including Upper Jamieson Hut, Ritches Hut, Gardiners Hut and Schusters.
From there it was back to the Howqua Hills Track, stopping a little further up at Pickerings Hut, this was a lovely hut surrounded by autumn colours as the trees had changed colour and there were lots of fallen leaves on the ground. We had to battle the rain here trying to hide our camera from the wet. We also found some really big red fungi, a smaller red one was even in a hole in a tree.
This road joins onto Bluff Link road which is also supposed to be suitable for 2wd’s but only in the dry. There are several 4wd tracks that come off this road including one to the Bluff, which we didn’t take as it was wet, drizzling on and off as well as foggy so we didn’t think we would be able to see anything from there. We also passed through a placed called Refrigerator Gap reason being a freezing cold gale blows through there. It was after the turnoff to Bluff that we thought the road became unsuitable from 2wd’s. There were lots of large dips and bumps, holes and rocks that we didn’t think a standard car would handle. Including a creek crossing that was flowing quite hard after the recent rain. Chris got out of the Jack and walked the crossing first, the look on his face was priceless as the water was icy cold, he said by the time he got to the other side his feet had gone numb. The Jack made the crossing with ease. We took a 3km detour and headed towards Bindaree Hut, the road in is very rough big holes that were filled with water and a creek crossing that was a bit hairy.
Bindaree Hut was a very strange hut indeed, we think it should be renamed Hobbit Hut as it is very small, not much bigger than a kid’s cubby house. Chris stood next to it and it wasn’t much taller than him, handy for cleaning the roof. I might add Chris didn’t shave today and he is looking like one of these mountain men. The sun came out briefly here before the weather changed once more; it changes very quickly in the High Country.
It was on the road heading towards Bindaree Falls that we had some sleet, we stopped just before joining the Circuit Track for Chris to put his boots back on and to put some thermal gear on as we were heading towards Mt Buller, we were about 1000m at this point and there was some snow on the road. From the Circuit Track we took a 7km 4wd track that joined Mt Stirling and Mt Buller. Just as we came into Mt Buller there was a sign stating the temperature and it was 1 degree. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground, on roofs of buildings and cars. We drove as far up as we could go which was several hundred meters higher, it was here we got out and had a little snow fight, it was freezing but very pretty, we drove back down stopping to take some photos of snow gums with snow at their base and another snow fight.
We took the 7km track back to Mt Stirling and headed towards Craig’s Hut, the clouds had cleared somewhat and we were seeing more and more blue sky, we were hopeful of those sunset shots. We donned on our jackets, gloves and hats ready to face the freezing cold wind that greeted us at Craig’s Hut. We had the place to ourselves and yes there was some blue sky. We took a few quick shots before boiling up the billy for a hot cuppa. The sky still had some very dark ominous clouds that blocked the sun for most of the time we were there, it did peek out from behind the clouds for just the briefest moment, and it was in that brief moment that literally only latest 1 to 2 mins that the hut lit up a golden yellow. Wow it was awesome, the sun quickly disappeared, we waited in hope that it would emerge once more and light up the sky but instead it snowed, yep we got snowed on at Craig’s Hut how awesome, wow it was fun, we stayed as long as we could before our lenses kept getting snow on them as it was really starting to come down. It was fun, cold yep in fact freezing as soon as your little fingers popped out of the gloves to change a setting on the camera it felt like you had just placed them on a block of ice, mate the things we do to get that perfect shot, don’t know if we got that but we sure had heaps of fun trying.
It was a long slow drive back down the mountain but we both agreed we had a great day and was worth every bit of wet, mud and snow we encountered.