Monday 3rd September
Whew! From my viewpoint it has been a busy day.
In the morning I joined a group sponsored by the Adult Education Centre. Today was a focus on elderly persons and the digital age. All were asked to bring along a portable digital device and were encouraged to learn or share their knowledge. I thought I might learn something or be able to pass on something to others. I was surprised there were a dozen people in the group and all had devices of some sort. Smart phones, iPads, laptops, Android Tablets and all had different reasons for using them. I soon learned the facilitator was a little out of her depth but was pleasant and trying to be helpful. One dear lady had a new Samsung Android and was ready to smash it on the desk. She could not get email and there was no sound. Sound was easy to fix for her and then I spent 20 minutes trying to sort out her email. I found an App and after putting in her user name and password she was overjoyed at getting email for the first time. Listening to the comments of those present it seems all are frustrated with their devices and they get angry when things do not work as they should. These Adult Education classes are good for them as they learn something and leave the class happier than they came in. From my point of view I was pleased they were prepared to have a go and learn something. Perhaps next week I will go again.
I baked a loaf of sourdough rye bread. Actually it should be more accurate to say I put the ingredients into the breadmaker and it did all the work. I took the loaf out to let it cool.
After lunch I did the Mt.Beauty (hereinafter I will refer to it as MB) Gorge walk. Midway along the walk there is a swaying suspension bridge
over the Kiewa River then the track follows the river,
climbing steadily and in the heat of the afternoon my layered clothing had me perspiring. Except when the track was in shadow and the rocks, plants and mosses never dry out at this time of year. Once in shadow it became quite cool. The sides of the gorge are, for the most part, narrow and steep and I saw evidence of recent rock falls and one rock just balancing,
either from an earlier fall or will be a fall in its own right one day.
I then drove the steep, narrow and constantly twisting Falls Creek road. I know I cannot access FC unless I carry chains so I stopped at the halfway point, Bogong Village.
The village was built in 1938 to accommodate staff during construction of a dam for the hydro-electric power station. Once the dam was full workers were moved to MB. It is now a privately owned holiday accommodation village open to the public and includes an Outdoor Education Centre. There is a general store and next door a restaurant.
A dam at the bottom of the hill below town is almost empty. I suspect the water has been deliberately maintained at a low level in expectation of the run off from the melt when spring finally arrives.
Along the way I stopped at Clover Power Station.
The first and only hydro power station built on the surface.Hmmm! Perhaps there is a reason it is the only one. The power station is tiny compared to the Murray One Hydro Power Station we visited at Khancoban in March this year.
Tuesday 4th September
Another big day for me.
First I drove up Mt.Beauty and stopped at the two lookouts on the highway.
At the topmost lookout I met a lady, in her 70’s, trying to sell postcards which she made from her original oil paintings. The unique thing about her paintings is most are in the snow and painted in real life. In other words she does not take a photo and paint from that. Many of the scenes are locations which cannot be accessed in the winter as the roads are closed. She ski’s cross country and carries her painting equipment with her. Skiing 30 Klms in a day is nothing for her.
From the top of the pass I then took a rough gravel track to a much higher lookout, accessible by 4WD and is known as the SEC (State Electricity Commission) Lookout.
The lookout is located at the base of two huge power transmission towers and nearby is a Telstra Tower, Repeater Station and Microwave Transmitter.
Standing beneath the power towers I could hear the clicking of power running through the lines. I also found another trig point.
From here I could see Mt. Buffalo
in one direction and Mt. Bogong in the other.
I could also see Mt. Feathertop normally not visible from most lookouts.
Next I drove to the other side of town and turned off on another gravel road to the Big Hill Lookout. Hmmm! Eight Klms of gravel road according to the signs. The road deteriorated to little more than wheel tracks, corrugated on corners and had almost sheer drop offs on both sides. This was a nervous drive for me. At 7.2 Klms I arrived at a clear area but trees prevented any view. The track went around a bend but there was a closed gate with a sign saying it was closed during winter months. Grrr! Why couldn’t they put the sign at the bottom of the hill?
Near town I found another walk along a deep ravine thickly covered in undergrowth and fallen tree trunks.
The rough path followed a gurgling creek for about one Klm and then required a climb up a steep track to regain the 4WD track above.
It was a delightful sunny and warm spring day.
The Wattle, Australia’s National Floral symbol, all species, is in full bloom everywhere I look.
After two big walks in two days, my back and leg muscles are protesting.
Tomorrow the forecast is for strong winds in the Alpine regions, cold, rain and snow above 600m.
I baked the simple fruit cake mentioned in this blog a few months ago. The only oven in the barn is microwave convection combination. I have never used one before so I was pleased the cake turned out as well as it did.
Wednesday 5th September
Today is the tomorrow I referred to yesterday.
WWWGO has been parked at the front gates to the property. It is parked on an angle and has a full fuel tank. Diesel has leaked onto the bitumen and started to melt the tar. Not good. I moved WWWGO across the street to a mechanics for storage. Now I need lots of detergent and a cheap scrub brush to wash down the huge stain.
The day started out fine and sunny but by mid-morning the clouds rolled in, light rain fell and the wind picked up. Not the forecast howling gale but windy enough to knock out TV reception.
It is somebody’s birthday today. Someone who is close to me, shares every day with me and as Donnis has just arrived in the USA I thought I would take myself out for my birthday dinner. No such luck. The Chinese restaurant was closed, the Country Club was empty, just two staff, the pizza shop was closed, it was raining and windy and so I went back to the barn and reheated some leftover chicken wings and celebrated with two glasses of wine.
What a bloody miserable birthday.
Thursday 6th September
Another day like yesterday only more rain. All day.
Friday 7th September.
I drove to Lavington (a shopping centre suburb of Albury) to get some groceries As I drove the 90 plus klms from MB I heard on the radio all the damage throughout Victoria, particularly Melbourne and suburbs, from the gale force winds over the last three days. MB in the sheltered end of the valley has missed the worst of the winds. As I got closer to Albury it was noticeable just how strong the winds were. Once I parked and got out of the car the cold wind chill factor again reminded me how MB is sheltered.
While in the car-park I spoke with Donnis on Skype using the iPad.
On the news tonight the same reports about gale force winds and rain and cold continued. In fact a blizzard was raging through Falls Creek and reports of snow, now over 2.5m thick blanketing the ski fields. I would have loved to have seen that.
I have not seen the mountains for the last three days due to the low cloud cover and constant precipitation.
Rain continued throughout the night.
Saturday 8th September
Another cold wet and overcast day. I did a lot of nothing.
Oh, Donnis called me on Skype.
Oh, I watched the preliminary Rugby League finals. Melbourne Storm defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs and North Queensland Cowboys defeated the Brisbane Broncos.
Sunday 9th September
I woke to birdsong and sunlight.
While the sun was shining I took the opportunity to get out and about. I drove further up the mountain to Fainter Falls which also happens to be the point at which it is illegal not to carry chains. Along the way I stopped at the deserted village of Clover.
The village comprised 17 houses to accommodate families from Europe. Built in 1941 and deserted around 1955 due to unhealthy dampness. Some of the foundations, stairs, paths, garden walls and rock retaining walls, now covered in moss can still be seen on this 5.5 hectare historical site.
I may have been the first visitor to Fainter Falls for some days as I saw no signs of other footprints in the soft earth and mud.
The track is about 1.7 Klms return and in places, although not difficult is challenging especially the narrow steep stone stairs with no handrails. The path winds over the hills and a clear view of the wild Pretty Valley Branch of the East Kiewa River. Fainter Creek erupts over cliff faces and joins the rushing noisy torrent of the East Kiewa River below.
During the walk I reflected on the Wild Rivers walking track in Tasmania and I feel this walk is similar although a lot easier to reach. The steep steeps and narrow pathway did give my leg and back muscles a good workout. Well worth the visit.
Fresh snow has fallen in the last few days evidence of which was on the hills further up the valley.
Other walking tracks are signposted along the narrow twisting road from MB so perhaps another workout is in store this week.