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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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walking

Is Instagram ruining the outdoors?

When it comes to being in wild nature, my general rule about social media is ‘don’t hike/ski/climb/ride and tweet’. I tend to take lots of photos but in terms of posting and viewing images, I find being even haphazardly engaged in the online world stops me from being deeply immersed in my surroundings. If I’m base camping somewhere with coverage, I will some sometimes post some things or check the news or weather, but generally try to keep my backcountry experience mostly in the real world.

I was recently on a multi day walk in the Alps. My 12 year old daughter had decided to stay at home with various friends and, a couple of times a day I would turn the phone on and check where she was. ‘While I was there’ I’d Instagram a quick pic. We were walking through some gorgeous country, in a section of the Bogong High Plains where I hadn’t been for years and it was fun to share some images and thoughts on these great places.

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2017 Victorian Walking Festival

This will be the second time that the Victorian Walking Festival has run. This information comes from the key organiser of the festival, Stephen Ingrouille.

Time to lace up the boots and start planning the 2017 Victorian Walking Festival which will start on April 1, run until mid-May and coincide with:

  1. the Premier’s Active April Program;
  2. the walks in the National Trust Heritage Festival; and
  3. the international Jane’s Walk urban walking tours.

Any organisation (commercial or community) or individual is welcome to submit walks for the program. Walks can be of any length, any degree of difficulty and anywhere in the state. Self-guided walks and walking related social events (talks/presentations) are also welcome.  It has a decentralised model of organising, with the website refering interested people back to the organiser of the walk/ event.

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The ‘Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing’ upgrade

The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing is described as “a mid-distance hiking experience through the unique and captivating Australian alpine environment”. There are plans to re-route it to make it a 56 kilometre trip and a Draft Master Plan has been released. Public comment is welcome before December 19.

Parks Victoria says “the walk will be supplemented with high quality accommodation options and interpretation that enable a range of visitors to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and stories of Victoria’s High Country”.

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The Victorian Walking Festival

The Victorian Walking festival starts on April 1 and goes until May 8.

You can choose walks by date, theme or region. There are walks in Melbourne and regional VIC plus lots of specialised themes like night walking, food culture, natural history, etc.

The following information comes from the organiser, Stephen Ingrouille

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A Victorian walking festival

The following comes from Stephen Ingrouille.

We are planning a Melbourne / Victorian Walking Festival for the month of April, 2016 [finishing on May 8]. This inaugural festival will encourage people, groups and businesses to organise walks during the month, which can then be advertised via a website, a printed program and through social media.

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Treading softly in the bush

The Australian bush is fragile. Bushwalking Victoria has produced a brochure called Tread Softly that explains how to walk in the bush in the way that conserves Victoria’s natural environment.

Tread Softy lists 10 recommended practices that will help protect the natural environment, without detracting from enjoyment. Each practice takes the form of a commonsense and easy-to-do action.

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Mt Geryon

I don’t know any Indigenous stories about Mt Geryon, in the southern end of Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. But I do often wonder what it must have been like for the people’s who lived and passed through the incredible mountain country of central western Tasmania. To approach this mountain up Pine Valley and finally to reach the small clearing (the old ‘climbers camp’) where the bulky western face suddenly reveals itself is always an impressive, and to me, spiritual, experience. I wonder if they climbed this peak.

So many of the features of this region have been loaded down with Biblical titles or names from the Greek Classics, something that irks me whenever I scan the map or skyline. There are some great names: I love Innes High Rocky in the south west. And closer to Geryon, there is Fury Gorge, Pencil Pine Bluff, Cathedral Mountain, High Dome, Walled Mountain, The Never Never, and the beautifully appropriate Pool of Memories. These names evoke something of the place. Peaks named after early explorers also make sense. But just reeling off a list of names from western mythology seems lazy and disrespectful. But I can live with Geryon. The three-bodied giant of Greek Mythology.

It is such a dramatic mountain, squeezed up the end of Pine Valley up against the Ducane range, and hidden in behind the bulkier looking Acropolis when seen from lake St Clair. It provides a dramatic and other worldly aspect to dinner when you’re sitting in Bert Nichols hut on the Overland track. If the word charismatic can be applied to a mountain, then it certainly applies to Geryon. Its dramatic rocky faces on the east and west constantly change their moods and even from The Labyrinth it presents itself as a ‘real’ mountain, with another thousand feet of cliffs and dramatic skyline above the Labyrinth plateau. It can be mild in The Labyrinth and storming up on Geryon and the Ducane Range. The Cephessis scree, which runs from the base of the western face down almost to Cephissus Creek, is an amazing feature, and acts as a giant staircase that leads you right to the cliffs.

Full story here.

The Bundian Way

There has long been discussion about the trail that once linked the south eastern coast of NSW to the Snowy Mountains. It is called the Bundian Way. Prior to the invasion, Indigenous people moved between the coast, the Monaro Tablelands and the higher mountains. There are other similar stories from elsewhere in the mountains: for instance, the fact that early Gippsland settlers followed established trails from the Gippsland Plains to what is now Dinner Plain and Mt Hotham, and gold prospectors followed tracks up the Howqua Valley towards Mt Howitt.

Sadly, so much of this story has now been lost. In some good news, a book is due to be released shortly that looks at the Bundian Way.

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Three Tassie eco-tourism projects approved

In theory, new eco tourism projects are a good idea, and will get more people out into wild environments in a way that doesn’t damage the environment. But when it comes to the current Tasmanian government, I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them.

The following comes from The Great Walks website.

Three eco-tourism projects have been given the green light to operate in Tasmania as part of the Government’s bid to open up the state’s national parks to eco-tourism.

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