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Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Mon 09 Sep, 2013 3:38 pm

I've been back a couple of weeks and thought I should write up my walk in the northen end of KNP. I drove down from Sydney and over the range into Brindabella. At first I drove up Grace Rd on the western side of the valley till a local stopped me and informed that the road was gated ahead. I said that I had driven through years ago but he said it had all changed. So I turned around and tried the road on the eastern side instead. That came to an end after a while at the river. So I reversed to the top of the nearest hill and set off. It was 10:30.

The first thing I had to do was cross the Goodradigbee River itself which was running strongly in 3 channels. I mustn't have had my trail legs as I nearly went under in crossing the first channel. I remember thinking, not a good way to start the trip. Safely on the other side I picked up a farm track which led uphill and soon disappeared into the paddocks. I walked across the farmland to a fence where I picked up the original road right on the boundary of KNP where there is a large sign. The road then led down hill to a turn off to a campsite on the river. The sign said that the road was blocked so the guy had been right after all. This means that the Long plain Rd is no longer a through route for vehicles as it had been years ago.

I soon came to the bridge over Cooleman Ck and the gate on Long Plain Rd. which is kept locked in winter. The next stretch up-hill under the power lines was not as bad as I was expecting and after a couple of hours I was at the junction of Cooleman Ck Trail. I turned off here and followed the trail down to the creek where I stopped for lunch. Just as I got set to munch down on my wrap the rain that had been threatening all morning began to fall. Fortunately only lightly at first and so I was able to scoff lunch down. Before long the rain turned to sleet and then snow. Still it was a pleasant stroll in this remore region known as the Bramina Wilderness Area. I passed several cleared grassy areas each with a fenced off section perhaps for yarding brumbies?

About 3:30 I burst out onto the Boundary FT which was wide and snow covered. I turned left here and followed it for about an hour in ever deepening snow till the junction with the Broken Cart Trail. Here I turned left and walked down to Broken Cart Ck where I set up camp beside the road under a tree where the ground was free of snow. I soon had the tent up and dinner on the go. By 7 I was ready for bed and surprisingly despite the early hour was soon asleep. It had been a good day.

It rained/snowed most of the night. I could have sworn I heard a vehicle go through but I must have been dreaming. After packing up I was off by 7:10. I retraced my steps a short way and turned off onto Feints Trail which proved to be my very pleasant companion for the next 5-6 hours. It has not seen any vehicular use in a long time and is now pretty much a grass covered swathe through the the tall forest. After a while it descends steeply to the old gold workings on the Goobragandra River. I decided to take breakfast here seated on a log on the far bank. Once again the rain came and I was soon on the move again. From here the track heads due south steeply uphill. It is a bit of a slog but soon evens out and is very pleasant if quite a long track. I left the river at 8:30 and did not arrive at the Peppercorn Trail until 12:30. 4 hours of reasonably solid going.

From here the trail was soon climbing again up onto the Fiery Range. The higher I climbed the deeper the snow got till it was over a foot deep on the track. I plouged on and down the other side passed a high open area with weather station. On consulting the map later I noticed this was the source of the Murrumbidgee River. The track followed the juvenile stream as it drained the flat but then swung away as it approached Long Plain. Here I decided to take lunch just inside the tree line as it afforded some shelter from the wind that had sprung up. As I dropped my pack I disturbed a brumby grazing nearby. One of many I saw. I ate lunch looking out over the expanse of the plain. The powerlines came in and out of view depending on the movt. of the mist and low clouds.

I pulled my hood down tight as I stepped out onto the plain that looked wild and windswept. Before long I crossed the Murrumbidgee again this time on a substantial bridge. Within a few kilometres it had already become a significant stream. This brought me out onto the Long Plain Rd which I had left just over 24hrs before. I crossed straight over onto McLeods Spur Trail which would be my return route out to the car. This led across the upper plain in what was one of the most scenic sections of the walk. Several good campsites beckoned but all were exposed and I had a lot of ground to cover still. I took afternoon tea amongst the ruins of the old Peppercorn homestead. There is nothing in the way of shelter there now. I drew some water from the creek, crossed the barrier and at 3:30 set off on the final stretch for the day.

This too was very pleasant going at first on the fringe of the open country but before long I was back in the forest and the track started to climb. Soon the snow thickened till it was well over a foot on the track and over a metre off it. It was starting to get dark and I hoped to be able to get the high country behind me before night fall but dark came and I was still high on the flanks of Mt Jackson. There was nothing for it but to make camp in the snow. I found a spot right on the trail where the snow wasn't as deep and set up camp there. I used the water I'd carried from the creek to make dinner and settled down to sleep about 7:30. My socks were wet from the night before and my feet were really cold even in the sleeping bag. This made sleep difficult for quite a while but eventually It overtook me.

I was awake and up before first light because I wanted to be away early as I still had quite a distance to cover. It was over an hour before I dropped below the snowline and for the first time on the trip the clouds lifted and the sun came out shedding beautiful mountain light on the surrounding peaks. At one point the spur narrowed and I had good views into the valley of Peppercorn Ck on my left and the Goodradigbee river on my right. At last the track dropped away steeply and descended for a solid hour to the river. Here the current was flowing fast and waist deep so I decided to take breakfast whilst I got ready. I began to cross just as the sun was striking the river which here runs through a deep gorge. With the aid of a stout staff I made it safely across but it was touch and go.

Once on the other side the track climbs steeply before returning to the river which has to be crossed again. This is the park boundary and there is a sign declaring that fact. There are a couple more crossings before the track bursts out into the clear. The paddocks are overrun with kangaroos and I notice a nature reserve sign on the gate. There is a real assortment of old rusting machinery lined up beside the road including several tractors and lawn mowers?

From here there is one more crossing of the river and then a pleasant wander through farming land till a gate off to the side of the road I had driven in on. From here It was only a short distance back to the car where I arrived at 11:30.

This was a very good excursion in this infrequently visited area. I would estimate the total trip distance at about 100k.


Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Mon 09 Sep, 2013 9:43 pm

Please tell me you have some photos. The trip sounds like it was incredible.

Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 10 Sep, 2013 7:26 am

Great write up. Love to see some pictures, sounds like a great area to explore.

Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 10 Sep, 2013 11:05 am

Guys I took a few but I am very challenged by technology. I'll try.


Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 10 Sep, 2013 1:50 pm

No idea where any of those places are as I'm not familier with the area but it sounds unreal!

I'll assume you did it solo,K and what rating bag did you take?

Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 10 Sep, 2013 3:09 pm

Yes did it sole. I took my best bag Western Mountaineering one. Not sure of the name. It weighs about 1kg. It was just warm enough. The feet of it touched the roof of the tent and so got a little wet which didn't help with the cold feet. Eventually my socks dried out from the insdie out and my feet stopped throbbing with the cold.

When I got home though I did notice they were swollen. I couldn't get into my street shoes when I tried to go out that night.


Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 10 Sep, 2013 3:18 pm

Great trip Kanangra! As others have said....We'd love to see some pics. Get someone you know to help you create a photobucket account or the like (they are free) and learn how to upload your images. Once set up its quite easy to copy the required image tags from your pics and paste them into your story.

I've read quite a few of your reports and they deserve images to help the less imaginative see your trips in full.

Again great work.

PM me if you want some help walking through the process.

Re: Northern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 10 Sep, 2013 3:24 pm

If you are having problems uploading photos I am happy to explain how I do it.
It sounds like your toes almost get frostbitten, are they better now?

@DarrenM have you tried ?
I prefer it to photobucket, you select an area on the screen and the app then automatically uploads and puts the URL to the image in your clipboard. (It also removes EXIF)


Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 10 Sep, 2013 3:34 pm

I haven't icefest but it looks interesting. I'll look into it, cheers.

Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 10 Sep, 2013 4:58 pm

Thanks for the offers guys I really do have to get myself up to speed with the new technology.

My feet are fine now. The swelling went down after a few days. It may have been the early stages of frostbite? But I find after a couple of solid days on the trail that my feet swell a bit anyway. I had been ploughing through snow for a couple of hours just in joggers so the old feet were a little on the damp and cool side. Then when I changed into my dry gear my socks were still quite damp from the night before. This meant it took a few hours for my feet to thaw out. All part of the experience.


Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 10 Sep, 2013 10:18 pm

Would a fire help before turning in, did you bother with one in the evenings?...I've never been in snow but I like a good fire drying even for sweaty clothes.

Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 10 Sep, 2013 11:20 pm

Ha, lighting a fire on snow is a unique experience. The fire melts it's way down through the snowpack. In the end you are sitting above a 1m hole with a fire in the bottom.

Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Wed 11 Sep, 2013 10:21 am

Yes I've had that experience before. I remember one occasion when we camped off Tabletop in winter. No I didn't light any fires on this trip. Everything was too wet.


Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 14 Jan, 2014 11:47 am

I thought I'd dig out a couple of shots from this trip too.
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On the track
Cooleman Ck.
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It's getting late and I need to find a place to camp.
Camp at Broken Cart Flat.

I'll continue with Day 2 when I get a chance.


Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 14 Jan, 2014 1:11 pm

Day 2.
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Feints trail
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Goobarragandra River.
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Back above the snow line.
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Long Plain.
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Peppercorn Homestead ruins.

Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 14 Jan, 2014 1:43 pm

Day 2 Cont.

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Scattered homestead contents

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Peppercorn Plain.

Day 3.
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On the trail.
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Goodradigbee River.
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Into the open.

Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Tue 14 Jan, 2014 2:08 pm

Day 3 cont.
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Country tool shed.
Lawn mower anyone?
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River scene.
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Goodradigbee River

Re: Nortern Snowies Winter walk.

Wed 05 Feb, 2014 8:46 pm

Great trip Kanangra!
I stumbled across this doing some reading for our Easter northern KNP trip.
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