Morning light slowly illuminated our camping site as the sun climb it's way into the Eastern sky. Waking from a nights sleep that was surprisingly refreshing despite waking at every toss and turn, to find one's self at the bottom of the tent and having to pull yourself back up the mat, ready to start the slide again. Oh, the problems of sleeping on a mountain side!
We enjoyed breakfast in the sun's warm rays whilst the tent and one wet sleeping bag dried out over the branches of a near by tree. The hot water bottle lost it's lid early in the morning!
With bags packed, water bottles refilled and breakfast tucked away,
we headed off down the track to Harrietville, along the Bungalow spur.
|Snowgums with Mt Buffalo in the distance|
We passed the old Federation Hut camp site
and followed the track through the Snow gums,
Trigger plants and Apline Snow Daisies lined our path.
Just past the old Federation Hut Camp site, about 2 kilometers from it's current location, is the ruins of the Feathertop Bunglow.
Feathertop Bunglow was built in 1925, as a place for visitors to the area to be able to eat and sleep. It was burnt down in the devastating fires of 1939 and has never been rebuilt.
It's ruins can be still seen through the undergrowth.
Snow Gums dominate the vegetation of the upper slopes above 1,000m of the Australian Alps. These gums are characterised by there spreading branches, which is caused by the weight of winter snow, and the dappled colour of it's bark.
On our walk across the Razorback, we were surprised to find the hundreds of beetles covering the flowers of the Snow Gums.
These beetles are Cantharids and belong to the Chauliognathus genera, in the Family Coleoptra. They live in mimicry complexes and can be found in large numbers on vegetation and flowers. These beetles tend to feed on pollen, nectar and fresh foliage but are also know to eat other insects. We also saw these beetles clinging to the underside of Snow Daisies on the summit of Feathertop.
Above altitudes of about 1,750meters, the Snow Gums give way to Alpine herbfields which occupy the well-drained slopes and rolling hilltops of sub-alpine and alpine zones.
The summit of Feathertop was covered in Snow Daisy, Snow Grasses and patches of
Billy-buttons which characterise these herbfields.
|High altitude herbfields|
As we walked down Bungalow Spur, the vegetation changed noticeably. We were soon entering Alpine Ash forests which are predominant in the montane zone of alpine slopes. Tall eucalypts including the Alpine Ash and Mountain Gum started appearing
amongst the Snow Gums.
The Snow Gums eventually gave way to the expansive forest of Ash and Mountain Gums.
Soon, ferns started appearing in the undergrowth.
We had lunch at Picnic Point, no sorry Picture Point. It was just the place for a picnic and a photo. We enjoyed watching and listening to birds in the trees
and our sandwiches.
Nearing the end of the track, we walked through stands of tree ferns and listened to the babbling creek that flowed along next to the track.
And soon we were at the end of the track. After one last hot slog along the Feathertop Road, we were soon enjoying a well earned cold beer under the shade of a tree in Harrietville.
Why do we walk? Is it for the challenge? Or to commune with nature? Or is because of what walking can lead to, a greater appreciation of the world around us and the friendships we make on the way.
So whether you walk, saunter, strut, roam, ambulate, promenade, prance, stroll or hike,
enjoy where your walk takes you.
Walkabouters Club of Victoria Inc.A0019863A