272. Sunday 16th September 2012. Beauty tucked into the end of the Kiewa Valley…

Monday 10th September.

Woke early to another birdsong and sunshine day.

More information about Mt. Beauty can be found here   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Beauty,_Victoria

Today I had two interesting trips. Once again I drove the Falls Creek Road as far as Bogong Village.

I was gobsmacked when I parked near Junction Dam and found the water level was much higher than it was last week when I last visited. Then the dam was low and mostly mud. This week it was around three quarters full.

The dam was muddy last week. Now it is three quarters full and filling fast. It will not be long before water is released.

The access track to the dam wall became an obstacle course. The storms and high winds…gale force, in fact Falls Creek only 16 Klms further up the mountain had blizzards on those days…last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday had blown over a dozen or more trees from the hill above the path.

Some of the trees felled over the dam access path by the gale force winds last week.

Those trees were now across the path.

This is an indicator of the force of the winds. This branch has been speared into the ground and snapped off.

Dam Spillway.

 

Once at the dam wall I noticed steel catwalks allowed access inside the dam wall, well below the current water level and certainly much further below water level when at full capacity.

The staircase to provide access to inside the dam.

Once inside the dam tunnel I could hear a sound like a pump or turbine and lots of running water.

Inside the dam tunnel.

By now it was near dark inside the tunnel and although the noises were quite loud I could not see anything either side or below the walkway. Even the camera flash could not illuminate the distant darkness below. I was having a nervous moment by now. Continue the walkway to the other side or turn back. Nobody knew I was here but I continued on to the other side regardless. I took a look around the other side then took a few deep breaths before beginning the return walk. Once more reaching the centre I had that feeling of claustrophobia but stopped to take a photo of…nothing. If you have never been inside a dam wall tunnel, here is your chance to try it for free.

Bogong Village as seen from the dam wall.

Further on past the village I found the Bogong Power Station and even approaching from the road did not see it until I was right on it. For a number of reasons it was built into the ground and is covered by the hillside above it.

The Bogong Power Station is ten stories high.

The following websites will explain far better than I can and are worth a look as well as the photo gallery. I have a new respect for the way this power station was built and fitted in with three existing power stations using the same water to turn the turbines in all four.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiewa_Hydroelectric_Scheme

http://aglbogonghydro.com.au/bogong-power-station/

The visible external of the building is as tall as 10 stories yet much of the power station is below ground. Without driving around and into the car park, it is not visible from anywhere else except the river. Even then it would be easy to not see it unless you were looking for it. The power station does not have any person there looking after it. In fact none of the four power stations is manned. All are controlled remotely by staff sitting in an office in front of a computer bank in MB.I was given a brief history of the place by a guide who was waiting on two busloads of schoolchildren.

Tuesday 11th September

Today was a long walk with the associated sore muscles and tiredness once I stopped. I had planned a trip to Mountain Creek which is at the base of the northern face of Mt.Bogong. There is a 4WD track to what is known as Granite Spur and I understand a winter hut near the snowline. With plenty of rain these last weeks and the gale force winds last week I could not be sure of the condition of the track so decided to park at the Mountain Creek base camp and walk the two klms to the first spur. Some trees had fallen across the track but had been cut away.

Some of the many trees fallen across the 4WD track.

The track ended abruptly at another of those accursed locked gates just before a creek crossing.

Mountain Creek 4WD crossing.

I was carrying too much gear to attempt a creek crossing with a fast flowing current and ankle snapping rocks so retraced my steps to the camp site. I next attempted the Peppermint Walk which ends in a stand of Peppermint Gums just below the snow line. The walk was 2.5 Klm each way and started off with quite a steep single file walking track. Evidence of last week’s violent winds was in fallen trees all of which seemed to fall across the walking track and involving a bit of climbing over and under branches and trunks or finding a way around. After awhile, I halted and decided to try again another day as the track now started going down which meant it would start to go up again at some point but I was only halfway to the destination. The area is thickly wooded and often the track was difficult to define. Thank goodness the Vic Parks Rangers had placed orange markers every 100m or so. I could find my way in. More importantly so I could find my way out. With two long walks both with a bit of uphill and climbing over fallen trees I was beginning to feel tired and my muscles were beginning to ache. It all proves I am out of condition and need to do more walking to get back into shape. The snow covered north face of Mt.Bogong was tantalisingly visible through the trees, closer, but still out of reach, inviting me back for another attempt next time the weather conditions are suitable.

Sight of the snow line through the gum trees but the track wandered away and downhill and by this point I was too tired to fight the fallen trees any longer.

Gosh, is it Wednesday 12th September already?

During the night something rattled the garage doors below where I am sleeping. It could have been the dog sleeping against the doors and having a scratch and moving the doors. I walked around downstairs with a torch checking the doors. The dog came to the side door…from the back of the barn, not the front where the garage doors are. Ooooh. Kinda scary. I locked the side door, something I never do and went back to bed. Now the dog normally barks at anything which moves and she did not bark last night so it probably was her bumping against the door. In the dark my senses thought it was the garage doors.

Whatever.

It was enough to get my senses on alert and it took ages to get back to sleep.

I woke with an aching knee, the same knee which was hyperextended by the dog the day I arrived.

Despite the knee, I walked around the MB control pondage, a distance of 3 Klms.

Mt.Bogong seen from the Control Pondage.

The Kiewa River is diverted just below the number 4 power station. Some water continues along the original river bed, some comes out of the power station along what is called a tail race and emptied into the control pondage. The control pondage is higher than the river and at a certain point is discharged back into the river. The walking track has a bridge over the point where the water re-joins the river. For some reason there is a pumping arrangement and concrete obstacles to slow the water. Standing on the bridge watching the water I could also hear the same sounds which bothered me inside the dam wall a couple of days ago. Although that seems to settle my mind there was the memory at the dam of little more than a trickle of water being released. Here at the pondage water was churning and thundering along the canal to the river. Along the way I passed a child minding centre and was surprised to find a mound of snow in the yard and being played on by the children. One of the mums told me the Ski Resort at Falls Creek sends a truck load of snow every year. It will last up to three days depending on weather.

Children playing in the snow which has been trucked from the ski fields at Falls Creek.

I visited a doctor and it seems I may have pinched and bruised a tendon when Sienna bumped against my leg and hyperextended the knee joint. It will repair itself…in time. His only suggestion was to avoid anything which aggrevates the knee.

Ummm. Sleeping, sitting, standing, driving.

Whats left? Floating in a relaxation chamber???

He recommended Panadol Osteo three times a day while the knee heals itself.

Thursday 13th September

Heavy rain woke me a couple of times during the night.

Mail finally arrived but does not include my new credit cards which according to the bank were mailed to me in August.

The sun was shining but there was no warmth in it.

Friday 14th September.

A cold morning followed by a cold day and a cold night. Went shopping in Albury and that was the highlight of my day. The lowlight was the loss of North Queensland Cowboys to the Manly Sea Eagles with Manly being awarded two controversial tries. The Cowboys can now hang up their boots until training begins in 2013.

Saturday 15th September.

The sun was shining and there was some warmth.

Amazing! I can control the drone in flight AND take a photo at the same time.

I took my Parrot AR Drone to a bridge over the Kiewa River, near Tawonga for a flight. This is an area which is below road level, is flat and has picnic tables beside the fast flowing river.

Yet another view of Mt.Bogong from across the Kiewa River.

I reasoned that being below road level and beside a bridge it would be sheltered from breezes and not interfere with my training flight. The river at this point is beginning to be wider, deeper and fast flowing. Water, from many creeks, some substantial, flow into the river between here and MB. Many more creeks will flow into the river over the next 100klms or so before the Kiewa and another river system, the Mitta Mitta, joins the Murray River as it continues its 2,375 Klm journey to the mouth at Goolwa in South Australia as it empties into the Indian Ocean.

On my way back to MB I stopped at Tawonga and saw a long line of Renault cars.

A long line of sporty Renaults at Tawonga.

The Victorian Branch of the Renault Car Club of Australia was having a rally at Winton Raceway not far from Wangaratta later in the day. They had driven from Wodonga along the Kiewa Valley Highway and stopped at Tawonga for a break. I followed them towards MB where they turned off to take the mountain road to Bright. That particular piece of road is popular with motor sporting enthusiasts as it is steep and has lots of tight bends requiring many gear changes. From Bright it would be a leisurely cruise to Wangaratta then along the Hume Highway to Winton.

Sunday 16th September.

Woke to overcast and cool conditions. I had allowed the fire to go out during the night and the barn had lost much of its warmth. I had been lulled into thinking the weather was becoming warmer and did not realise the amount of accumulated warmth from the fire.

Sigh!!! I started the fire again and will have to wait while the warmth builds up during the day.

Note to self. Keep The Fire Going All The Time.

Not much happened today. Flew the drone in the car-park at the Neighbourhood Centre. Went for a three klm walk, spoke with Donnis  (she is on Vancouver Island) and pretty much wasted the day.

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