Season 2003-2004

We have a great program planned for season 2003-2004. After last season was cancelled due to the Alpine Bushfires, we are keen to saddle up again and venture into the mountains, to witness the miracle of post fire rehabilitation.
The bush will be a different and exciting place this summer with a riot of vigorous plant growth, long veiws “through” the bush and long lost treasures revealed again. We have again offered more detail in our program, with all 5 day rides incorporating a Bogong traverse, and the Mt Fainter rides packaged into 3 days.
Our Spring Spur stables, nestled below Victoria’s highest mountain, are an ideal starting point to experience the best the High Country has to offer. The Bogong area of the Alpine National Park features the 7 highest peaks in Victoria, vast rolling High Plains, dozens of historic huts, mobs of brumbies, fast flowing mountain rivers, spectacular displays of wildflowers, old goldmines and a network of mining and cattle tracks cut into mountain sides over 100 years ago.
The best way to experience this vast area, most of it in-accessable to 4WD, is to join one of our Packhorse supported tours. Continuing an unbroken tradition dating back to the 1860’s, our team can take you on the journey of a lifetime.

Not Rooned

If we don’t get three inches, man,
Or four to break this drought,
We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.”
“There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
There will, without a doubt;
We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.
“And every creek a banker ran,
And dams filled overtop;
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“If this rain doesn’t stop.”
And stop it did, in God’s good time:
And spring came in to fold
A mantle o’er the hills sublime
Of green and pink and gold.
Selected verse from Said Hanrahan with apologies to Father John O’Brien.
We seem to have avoided ruin these last 12 months, despite the bush throwing all it’s got at us and many others.
Pleased to report that “spring came in to fold” and that this summer the high country will be a wonderful place to witness the power of recovery of the tough Australian bush.

Bogongs Burn

With over 1 million hectares burnt during the 40 days of the 2003 Alpine fires, our backyard has taken a bit of a pizzeling. At Spring Spur, the Mountain Creek fire was held on our eastern property line in the second week. Thanks to the tireless efforts of CFA, DSE, helicopters and others.

The focus of the effort was constantly changing with our community under attack from the Simmonds Creek front, then an outbreak on the Tawonga Gap and another on Bogong Hill that crossed the East Kiewa River near Crankie Charlies and spread into the golf course.
Fire fighting efforts concentrated on control lines, many of which were on the private property/ public land interface, and hence little resources were available to work on the fires inside the parks. Steep, remote terrain also made such efforts too risky”. Talk about smog! We are lucky to see 200 metres, and this limited the opportunity for helicopters to work on the fires.
Our mid January tour was disrupted by the fires and after trucking the horses and transporting our riders to Falls Creek, the tour was forced to ride into the Bundarra Valley and thanks to the generosity of Helen Packer and Russell Mullet, we used their “Willows” property as a base. The riders were evacuated on the Thursday, and the Alpine road closed on the Friday as fires approached Mt Hotham. We thank our riders for their good humour and understanding. I believe the day ride to the Blue Duck Pub was shall we say “refreshing”.
The horses remained at the Willows with Helen and Russell, and of course Nereda who refused to leave them. The Willows was under threat from the southern flank of the Bogong fire for some days. The horses, Helen’s and ours were on flood-irrigated flats and safe as could be hoped.
On Australia day at approx 11am the firestorm finally swept through the Willows in the Bundarra valley fuelled by extreme northwesterly winds. Our horses had been there at Helen and Russell’s for two weeks. The firestorm burnt both sides of the Willows property to within 20 ft of the house. Nereda and Helen stayed with the horses throughout the drama much to our horror. The horses were galloping up and down the irrigated flats during the peak firestorm and settled down remarkably fast once the roar of the fire subsided. They even trotted over to the C.F.A. fire truck thinking it was dinnertime! There was some relief here at Spring Spur although the fire roared through Bogong village area and then burnt Big Hill behind the town of Mt Beauty and was an awesome spectacle from here at the homestead! A terrible south westerly came up and blew the fire back onto us.
During January and Febuary the mountains were very different place to what they were prior to the fires. With dozens of communities under siege, many roads closed, business’s shut down and the new school year delayed, life was far from normal. We remained constantly vigilant for ember attack; maintaining water supplies, pump primes and precautions around buildings.
The condition of the Park, our beautiful camps, many huts and old yards is still mostly unknown. All tracks in burnt areas will be cleared of fallen timber this spring. From assessing fire maps that are available, the impact is across the entire area of our operations. We will be running a full program of rides from December 2003 and look forward to witnessing first hand the post fire mountains.

The Line Goes On

Feathertop, a favourite mare at Bogong Horseback Adventures, foaled in late winter, producing a filly in the image of her dam.
Willow was born in the front yard at Spring Spur and Kath captured some great images of the event.
Willow was on her feet within 30 mins of taking her first breath, and we wish her well in her life here below the mountains.