2020 BHP alternative


Route marked in yellow, overnight sites in blue

Day 1: Mountain Creek Campground, Eskdale Spur, Cleve Cole Hut.

Day 2: Cleve Cole Hut, Bogong summit, Hooker Plateau, West Peak, Quartz Ridge, Cairn Creek Hut.

Day 3: Cairn Creek Hut, Grey Hills Track, Spion Kopje Spur, Johnston Hut.

Day 4: Johnston Hut, Kelly Hut, Fitzgerald Hut, Langford East & West Aqueduct, Cope Hut.

Day 5: Cope Hut, AAWT, HP Road, Roper Lookout, Heathy Spur, Edmonson Hut.

Day 6: Edmonson Hut, Spion Kopje Spur, Spion Kopje Fire Track, Robbers Roost, Lake Guy/Bogong Village.


  • Second group to do the route in reverse.
  • Start/Finish points approximately same elevation (600m).
  • Main climbing days – Day 1 (1,200m), Day 3 (600m) for group starting at Mountain Creek; Day 1 (1,200m), Day 5 (600m) for group starting at Bogong Village.
  • Similar level of challenge as we would have done for KNP walk.
  • Similar elevation gain and challenge for the two groups.
  • Minimal doubling up of terrain covered in 2018. Some back and forward on same track to make the route work.
  • Night before and night of return in Mt Beauty.



2020 BHP alternative2020-02-10T09:03:50+00:00

Key Details


There are a number of significant hike related events in the next couple of months.

February 1: Group training hike. Waterfall Gully car park ready for a 6am start. Up and down Mt Lofty with a couple of additions. 19kg packs please. Finish around 9am.

February 6: Meeting at Craig’s place, 7.30pm. Agenda will include impact of fires on route, allocation of duties (eg menu, first aid, transport, accommodation bookings etc), training fine tuning, equipment … lots to discuss so please bring your ideas. Please be willing to put your hand up for duties. It does not have to be the same people each year!

February 14/15: Optional overnight camp/night hike at Aldinga Beach. Approximately 6pm Friday to 9am Saturday. If you’re not doing this one, that’s fine but remember two practice overnighters is the requirement. Time is running out, so make this a priority.

February 22: Group training hike. 5am start somewhere near Waterfall Gully. Will include an extended hike before and after Mt Lofty in order to simulate “Jagungal Day”. 22kg packs please. Finish around 10am. Don’t plan anything too strenuous for the rest of the day!

March 19: Final meeting, in a big shed (Rob?). “Full dress rehearsal” – have your pack packed as per the hike (except food).

Ten weeks until the hike! If you’re not already cranking out big hills regularly … get going! Stick to the recommended pack weight schedule, get up to 25kg a couple of weeks after the February 22nd hike but don’t stay there for more than a couple of weeks! “Train hard, train smart” becomes even more important for the next couple of months – we have some tough training hikes coming up. Listen to your body. I strongly recommend that you stop all pack training 1-2 weeks before the hike – make sure you’re feeling at your peak on March 26th!





Key Details2020-01-15T05:52:15+00:00

New Year Inspiration


Happy New Year, hikers! Three months from now we’ll be nearing the end of the KNP walk. Don’t the months pass quickly!

Around this time of year I generally start looking for some extra motivation in regard to preparation for the hike. I found it earlier this week in a most unlikely form whilst training on Brown Hill.

I was on the descent, lost in my own early morning thoughts when I noticed an older man below me, on his way up. Though he carried no pack, he was equipped with trekking poles and boots which suggested he was serious about the climb. His movements were laboured and it was apparent that he was struggling. No shame in that; Brown Hill is hard work. As we neared each other, I surmised that he was not in peak physical condition and might be in need of some encouragement. We stopped to chat briefly as we crossed paths.

Noticing my pack, he asked me what I was training for. I gave a brief summary of our hike intentions, not wanting to discourage him too much from what I assumed to be his initial foray into the world of hiking. Almost as an afterthought, I asked him about his motivation for being on the hill at an hour when most people in the week between Christmas and New Year are still in bed.

“I’m just preparing for the Camino,” he replied casually.

I opened my mouth a few times before the next words came out, such was my shock. For those who may not be aware, the Camino de Santiago is an epic eight hundred kilometre walk through the varied terrain of rural Spain. It has a thousand year history as a religious pilgrimage, and many modern hikers still treat it as such. Completing the Camino is a life-long goal for many of the people from all over the world who take it on each year. To say that it is a massive undertaking is something of an understatement. Clearly, I had underestimated this man.

Eventually I reclaimed my ability to speak and managed to convey my respect for what he was doing; but only until his next statement left me completely gobsmacked.

“I don’t like to brag” he said quietly, “but I’ve already done it three times.”

I’ve been humbled many times through the medium of hiking. I’ve copped several reality checks on our recent Bogong High Plains adventures. I think God often uses his Creation to teach us humility. Sometimes you see it coming. On other occasions, like this one, it just comes out of nowhere and smacks you in the face.

Needless to say, the rest of our brief conversation wasn’t about me. I was completely in awe of my new acquaintance.

I continued the descent and he slowly made his way up the hill. On turning for my next ascent, I realised that the conversation wasn’t over. I had more questions. I made my way back up the hill and was relieved to find him still at the top.

With Eugene on top of Brown Hill

I spent another fascinating twenty minutes or so talking with Eugene on top of Brown Hill. He is sixty-seven years of age. The first time he did the Camino, he completed a staggering fifteen hundred kilometres of mostly solo walking. There are apparently numerous options which can be attached to the main route as well as varied start and finish points. Eugene spoke passionately about how the experience changed his life. He talked about people and places along the way. His deep respect for the history of the pilgrimage was evident. Though he clearly loved to talk about the experience, I was left with the type of feeling that only comes from being in the presence of someone of rare humility. I can’t adequately articulate what a privilege it was to spend this time with him. My training regime certainly didn’t seem as important as it had a couple of hours before.

I learnt something of great value from Eugene. It certainly wasn’t inspired by his physical prowess or supreme fitness. I did not detect anything more than a modest grasp of hiking equipment or technical jargon. What he offered was much more intrinsic. In the end, completing a challenge like the one we are confronting is not about knowledge or experience. It’s not about how much flashy equipment you’ve got. Shock, horror … it’s not even about training. It’s about perseverance. It’s amazing what you can do if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

It’s hard to imagine someone less likely than Eugene doing the incredible things he has done. Three Camino’s and counting … he’ll be back there again shortly after our KNP walk. I dare say I’ll be reflecting on that from time to time during our hike.

Anyone up for the Camino in 2022?




New Year Inspiration2020-01-01T08:20:31+00:00

What happens on the third day?


One of the highlights of my recent trip to the USA was the time spent in Yosemite National Park, California. World renowned for its hiking, rock climbing and outdoor adventure opportunities, this place is unique and spectacular. Huge granite monoliths rise thousands of feet from the valley floor, framing cascading waterfalls and rivers (unfortunately the falls were dry during our visit!) Forests of massive pines and isolated groves of gigantic Sequoias provide habitat for abundant wildlife. It truly is an inspiring place.

While staying in Yosemite Valley, I was interested to learn something of the history of arguably its most noted pioneer, John Muir. He began living and working in the valley during the second half of the nineteenth century, at a time when few people frequented the area. An early advocate of the preservation of wilderness areas who would later become instrumental in developing American Nation Parks, Muir soon recognised the need to protect places like Yosemite. His famed three-night camping trip with US President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 became the catalyst for a National Parks model which has been copied around the world, including Australia.

Muir’s writing and speeches were focused on a concept which we appear to be only beginning to get our heads around one hundred and twenty years later – the importance of being immersed in nature to our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Apparently it was not just as an environmentalist that he was ahead of his time. He championed the benefits of people spending significant periods of time in the mountains and wild places. The motivation behind his push to have wilderness areas protected by federal law was to ensure their unspoilt availability to future generations.

Its hard not to be inspired in a place like Yosemite National Park

This is a concept which is reiterated time and time again throughout the pages of the Bible, where we read about  men routinely spending extended periods in the wilderness in order to hear from God. Abraham packed up everything and began roaming the desert with minimal understanding of the required timeframe. Moses spent forty days on Mt Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. David became a fugitive for many years, hanging out in desert locations, caves and the Judean highlands, waiting on God. Elijah retreated to a cave in the mountains, eventually hearing the still, small voice of the Lord. John the Baptist withdrew to remote locations to “Prepare the way of the Lord”, surviving on locusts and wild honey. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for forty days and regularly spent time in the mountains talking to his Father after that. Why are men so drawn to such places?

Sue and I have recently been listening to a podcast series on a phenomenon known as the 3-Day Effect. I have become quite fascinated with the topic. A number of researchers, outdoor enthusiasts and even sceptics have noticed measurable physiological changes to the human body on the third consecutive day of an extended outdoor experience. It seems something happens from the third day onward. Brain patterns are different, creativity is enhanced and subjects report an improvement in their physical and emotional health. This is something well worth considering … perhaps too important to dismiss.

When I look back at my own experience on these hikes over the last two years, I can see evidence of this pattern. On both occasions, I recall a heightened awareness and sense of being at one with my surroundings from day 3 onward. My team mates may even recall an annoying tendency to express what was going on in my head at that time!

Many of us have long suspected a connection between experiences in the outdoors and our general wellbeing. We may even be aware of the personal benefits of being outside. The problem for most of us is we rarely do it for long enough to receive the full effect. There is good evidence to suggest it takes a full two days to overcome the negative influences of our comfortable, sedentary lifestyles to begin to really live in harmony with our environment in the way God intended.

This is one of the things which is so exciting about our extended walk through Kosciuszko National Park – we get to be out there long enough for our Creator to break through our barriers and speak to us.

And … the thing that really gets me fired up about our 2020 hike is revealed by a quick study of our intended route. What looms as our greatest challenge – the Jagungal day (day 3 or 4, depending on which group you’re in) – will be tackled after this time threshold has passed! So, in theory (and hopefully in practice), we will be at our best and most receptive!

I can’t wait to see what happens on the third day and beyond on the 2020 KNP walk!




What happens on the third day?2019-11-04T08:44:08+00:00

Put it to the Test


This afternoon I went for a training hike in the pouring rain. It was cold, the wind on Willunga Hill was fierce and I even got battered by hail at one stage. Many people would think this is crazy. It’s much better to wait for favourable conditions to train in, right? Not necessarily. I made a couple of important discoveries during my training session.

I found out that my rain jacket, just over two years old now, is in serious need of an application of some waterproofing spray. Though it did not leak and the sealed seams are all intact, the outer layer quickly became waterlogged. Over time and with extensive wear, a garment loses its capacity for water to “bead” and run off like it did when the item was new. This makes it heavy, cold and less comfortable to wear. Applying a spray on waterproofing agent can greatly enhance the garments performance.

The situation with my boots, which are the same age as the jacket though they have endured much more wear, is more critical. It seems the membrane in the boots has deteriorated to the point where they are no longer waterproof. Sadly, even though they are still quite serviceable in fine weather, these all-time favourites will have to be replaced.

The thing is though, if I’d waited for better training conditions, I wouldn’t have come to these important conclusions.

At this stage in our preparation, the new members of our team are (hopefully) busy shopping for equipment. Even the old hands will no doubt be tweaking their kit to some degree. Buying equipment is fun, but you are not truly prepared until you put your gear through some serious testing.

One of the most under-rated (in my opinion) parts of our hike preparation is the requirement to go on at least two practice overnight training camps. These practice runs can lead to valuable insights, particularly if your gear is really tested by unfavourable conditions. There are a whole range of questions which can only be answered through testing yourself and your equipment. Do you need a silk liner to stay warm in your sleeping bag when it’s really cold? Does the floor of your tent alone provide adequate insulation when the ground is cold or wet? How much extra weight are you carrying when your backpack becomes waterlogged? How much longer (and how much extra fuel) does your cooker take to bring water to the boil when it’s cold? What type of hat best protects you from the sun without overheating you? What clothing combination do you prefer for hiking in changeable weather conditions? How much water do you need to carry on a hot day?

Equipment after a serious test run!

Spencers Creek and Happys Hut (first night of our KNP hike) are not the places where you want to find out your tent leaks or your clothing doesn’t perform as expected. Of course the manufacturer and the salesman claimed your gear was up to the task. But how will you really know unless you put it through a searching test run or two? It sounds very appealing to wait for a nice balmy summer night to do an overnighter. But your gear might not truly get tested.

In another month or so, we’ll all be resigned to a long, hot summer of training. Considerations such as waterproofness, windproofness and warmth can easily be forgotten about.

Now might be the time for some serious equipment testing!




Put it to the Test2019-09-22T10:42:22+00:00

Revised 2020 hike dates


As discussed, the hike has been pushed back a day. Details are now as follows:


Depart: Thursday evening March 26th.

Return: Friday evening April 3rd.

Revised 2020 hike dates2019-09-11T10:01:54+00:00

Route Plan for 2020 KNP Walk


One group to walk as outlined below, the other group to do the reverse. Camping spots in italics.


Day 1: Thredbo (top of chairlift) via Rawson Pass, Kosciuszko summit, Main Range Track, Charlotte Pass to Spencers Creek. Approximately 22.4km.

Day 2: Spencers Creek via Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega Power Station to Horse Camp Hut. Approximately 20.0km.

Day 3: Horse Camp Hut via Whites River Hut, Valentine Hut to Grey Mare Hut. Approximately 19.9km (plus ‘side walk’ to Gungartan summit).

Day 4: Grey Mare Hut via O’Keefes Hut, to Mackeys Hut. Approximately 22.9km (plus ‘side walk’ to Jagungal summit).

Day 5: Mackeys Hut to Happys Hut. Approximately 17.4km.

Day 6: Happys Hut via Four Mile Hut to Kiandra (where track meets Snowy Mountains Highway). Approximately 25.5km* (plus short ‘side walks’ to Tabletop Mountain and Four Mile Hut). *Approximately 5km less if ‘off-track short cut’ taken north of Happys Hut.





Route Plan for 2020 KNP Walk2019-08-28T11:45:51+00:00

Train hard, train smart … again


Several months out from the last hike I blogged on this topic (you may want to look back on that one). This year I’m introducing it much earlier in the campaign as training is something which is a high priority in our hike preparation. Everyone is talking about it anyway, so let’s get specific!

Last time around, we introduced the concept of training hard but training smart. Generally I find, particularly at the start of the process, most of us don’t need too much encouragement to do the first part. If you’re part of a competitive, encouraging group like this one, the motivation to train is usually quite prevalent. Therefore, I want to focus on the “train smart” part of the equation.

To quickly recap information given previously, there are five main variables involved in your training. These are;

  • The frequency of training
  • The intensity or effort put in
  • The distance of the hike
  • The terrain you are covering (eg hills, steps, sand)
  • The weight of your pack

There is an understandable tendency to focus heavily on the weight being carried. I want to put to you, however, that this is far from the most important variable.

At this early stage of training, frequency is the most important thing. We are targeting twice a week and looking to establish a routine in this regard. In this way, we gradually build a hike fitness base. You can’t do that by having an exhausting training session then taking two weeks to recover until you can train again. Train at your capacity. Don’t bash yourself up if you have a week where the training goes out the window. That will happen to all of us occasionally. Just get back on the horse.

Since frequency is the focus, it is important to think about where you will train. People often make the assumption that it’s all about Mt Lofty. Don’t get me wrong. Mt Lofty is a great training ground. But training exclusively there in the early stages makes it difficult to allow sufficient recovery between sessions to keep your momentum. It’s also extremely crowded, particularly on Saturday mornings. Consider other options.

I regularly use a variety of training venues including Brown Hill, Aldinga Scrub, Willunga Hill and Hallett Cove boardwalk. I do little to no training on Mt Lofty until much later in the campaign.

 Is Paul training hard or smart?

As you get further in to your training regime, variables such as intensity, distance and especially terrain become more important. For that reason, from December onward, I will be encouraging everyone to climb hills whenever possible. Think about the time you are investing in each training walk and consider how you can maximise the climbing involved. For example, in the second half of the campaign, doing multiples on the steep section of Brownhill may be more beneficial than doing it once with flatter terrain either side.

Throughout all this, there must obviously be a gradual increase in the weight being carried. This is where we must be careful. If a given amount of weight is beneficial for resistance training (such as carrying a pack), then more must be better, right? Not necessarily.

The key word when we are talking about increasing the pack weight is gradual. Training at a given weight for an extended period then making a small increase is much more beneficial (and safer) than loading up quickly and trying to stay at a heavy weight over a long period of time. Here are some suggested targets for the weight of your pack as we go through the training process.

Now                              8kg minimum

Start of November         12kg minimum

Start of January             15kg minimum

Mid February                 20kg minimum

Start of March               25kg

1-2 weeks prior to hike- nothing!

The complication here of course is that many of us have done this before! The temptation for those people is to load up and get to the heavier weights much more quickly. This results in carrying heavy weight for an extended period of time, increasing the risk of burn out, extreme fatigue or injury. Train smart! For those who haven’t trained before, or those who may have struggled with training in the past, it is highly recommended that you stick to the minimum weights along the way. Do not succumb to pressure to keep up with someone else. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

In conclusion, here are some reality checks to consider.

  • All of us who are involved in the hike are past our physical prime. Sorry if that shatters anyone! We need to be realistic about training.
  • Those who have done this before are now a year older than last time.
  • The hike is still a long way off.
  • Most, if not all of us, have probably started training earlier than in the past so the time frame involved is longer.
  • The aim is to be at our peak at the end of March, not at Christmas.

Enjoy the training. Train hard, train smart!



Train hard, train smart … again2019-07-19T05:51:28+00:00

The Official Video Record – 2019


These videos were compiled using media captured by various people during the trek. Together, the videos provide a reasonable insight into what happened during the 2019 Seeds Trek.

Craig’s Team

Jonathan’s Team

Google Earth Flyover from Bogong Village to Harrietville

The Official Video Record – 20192019-06-29T12:26:10+00:00

Sneak Peek at Peak Freaks’ Week


Thirteen hikers formed a team

headed off to live the dream

undeterred, though it would seem

this would test our self-esteem


All our hopes had built for weeks

waiting on the God who speaks

through the things a hiker seeks

… ice-cold streams and mountain peaks


Full of hope, we hit the trail

searched the start to no avail

once on track, we would not fail

looking for our Holy Grail


Fallen trees along the tracks

water scarce at Bogong Jack’s

dodgy knees from heavy packs

resting eased our aching backs


Pressing on to higher ground

past the tree-line, summit-bound

cairns and trig points soon were found

prompting us to look around


Fainter’s views inspired the soul

Feathertop a distant goal

pushing hard was now our role

this was sure no pleasure stroll


Big name peaks were soon far-flung

cruising through the wombat dung

jokes were told and songs were sung

focus turned to Jaithmathang (Yate-ma-tung)


Made it to Tawonga Huts

stunning place – no ifs, no buts

snacked on chocolate, cake and nuts

three-peak days require some guts


Spending time around the fire

speaking of our hearts’ desire

we laughed and prayed to now inspire

joy of which we’d never tire


Up again, we met first light

left behind a rainy night

Pretty Valley came in sight

after that, we took a right


Half way through a third day loop

took us to the other group

climbed Mt Cope and earned a scoop

all together – what a troop!


Moving on, we had to scout

Weston Hut was crowded out

pretty soon we turned about

Blair’s was better … not a doubt


Now no option to defer

Knew the challenge must occur

slogged up Diamantina Spur

looking back on where we were


Challenged by the other mob

(lest they try to title rob!)

even summited ‘Big Knob’

keen to now complete the job


Big days’ work had left us wacked

Federation Hut was packed

thinking of the summits racked

there was now but one we lacked


This was not the time to stop

up at dawn to reach the top

marvelled at the massive drop

views that weren’t too hard to cop


Summiting was such a thrill

backed it up with Mollie’s Hill

running out of time to kill

next stop would be Harrietville


Brenton, Hugo, Paul, JD

Peters two and Michaels three

Marcus, Nathan, Ian and me

all convinced there’s more to see




Sneak Peek at Peak Freaks’ Week2019-04-11T00:43:51+00:00