Tabletop Mountain from the Four Mile Trail
(Friday late arvo) Saturday–Sunday 14–15 January: 9 Mile Diggings – Tabletop Mtn – M/M. Day 1: Kiandra – 9 Mile Diggings – Broken Dam Hut. Day 2: Tabletop Mtn and 4 Mile Hut as side trip – return. About 40 km and 600 m climb. Maps: Cabramurra, Denison. Leaders: Jen and Rob H. Transport: TBA.
Distance: 32.5km (+ 11.3km for me) | Climb: 950m (+ 270m for me) | Time: 2 days | Grading: M/M; M(10)
Photographs are available, where you can start a large sized slideshow.
Waypoint and Track Files
Download the .gpx file. (Right click, Save Link As…, Save – if you want to use it.)
To use in Google Earth, do File, Open… and select Gps or All files as the File Type.
A wild front threatened SE NSW on Friday afternoon and I wondered if I should contact our trusty leaders and ask for a delay of 12 hours. But not wanting to be known as a wimp, I remained silent and replaced my 1-2 season tent with a heavier and more robust 3-4 season one.
14.2kgm of gear, including 3 litres of water and 930gm of new Canon PowerShot G3X camera (it takes a good photo, covering a multitude of my sins).
Meticulous logistics resulted in 11 others and 4 cars arriving at my place at 6.15pm on Friday and we left for Kiandra in 40ºC heat, driving towards Cooma into threatening clouds. As last bites of tea in the park were taken, the rain began. Driving the Snowy Mountains Highway there was continuous and heavy rain.
But Rob had a plan B! We had to double back to The Rest House Sawyers Hill as we couldn’t see it for the dark and pelting rain as we drove past the first time. But it was a real emergency, so we took up the offer to use the wonderfully roomy hut under those conditions. We only got wet dashing the 10m from cars to door.
Eight hours later Saturday dawned clear and cool. The front was gone. Breakfast, then we drove on to the Pollocks Gully car park at Kiandra.
Gear sorted, a briefing from Rob and we were off up the Tabletop Trail. Left at 7.30am.
Easy walking as the clouds rolled further back. The fire trail was soft and the landscape washed. Plenty of wild flowers – fields of trigger plants (Stylidium sp), chocolate lilies (Arthropodium milleflorum), bulbine lilies and various daisies and bluebells. A mob of brumbies/feral horses (depending on your point of view) east of Mt Selwyn.
I had the waypoints of the Elaine mine features with me, visited on previous trips, so after covering around 8.6km on the Tabletop Trail, we struck off to the east for morning tea. Then on to the fabulous rock wall of the holding dam above the mine, across to the shaft, then down to the steam engine and mine, tailing dump and other bits and pieces lying around above Bloomfield Creek. All worth a poke around. (We did miss the sluicing site referred to in the Broken Dam Hut doco).
We left the area to parallel Bloomfield Creek upstream, climbing a little through some heath and timber to lunch. Rang home. The calendar was all wrong – it was only January but the March flies were out and I was in August company. Around 400m after lunch we were at the reconstructed Broken Dam Hut, our destination for the day. Arrived 1.05pm.
A generous amount of time to settle in. Tents up, water collected, log book perused, Elaine Mine paper photographed (see photos) and read and a cuppa drunk.
Just after 3pm we gathered to wander down to Broken Dam. I checked out the nearby well. Then a pleasant stroll down and across the dam wall and back up to the Four Mile Trail. Back by 3.45pm.
With plenty of time left in the day and not enough km to deserve my dinner and bed, I went for a walk north along Four Mile Trail to Four Mile Hill. Some nice views, especially on the way back. 7km in 1hr 30mins. After tea I took another stroll south along Four Mile Trail and a little south along Tabletop Trail towards tomorrow’s objective. Some nice light for photography. 4.3km in 1 hr.
A comfortable night with my door open. Lovely final evening sky colours. Must have been a bit cool as there was a very thin layer of ice/frost on the tent at 5.30am. As the previous night, I won the (personal) battle of the bladder.
Breakfast and breakcamp. Away at 7.10am. 2.7km in 45mins to where we left the Tabletop Trail. We’d dumped most of our gear at the junction of Tabletop Track and Four Mile Trail.
A lovely direct ascent. Open woodland at the bottom and a little rock scramble up the direct route. On top, we went via the pipe to the trig. Huge views on an almost cloudless day, a little warmer than yesterday so the march flies started earlier. You can see Mt Gudgenby and the Brindabellas. Time for social media connection.
We skirted round the rock scramble on the descent and were back with our gear by 9.30am.
A short ∼600m leg to the holding dam and top of the sluiced gully of Nine Mile Diggings. Whilst the others had morning tea, Stephen and I made our way down the gully and explored the heaps of rocks at the bottom. What manpower must have been expended.
Away at 10.20am on a 3.6km leg in 1 hour (picking up water from Nine Mile Creek) to the top of Four Mile Creek,where we left the trail and descended through the bush to the open creek flats lined with heap after heap of rocks from the diggings. We followed the creek to Four Mile Hut where we lunched with the march flies. (There’s a toilet up the hill just off the exit pad.)
We left Four Mile Hut at 12.40pm and walked the 7.5km leg back to the cars in just over 2 hours. In places we used the shadier old Tabletop Mountain fire trail rather than the rocky line of ski trail poles. Saw the brumby mob again.
A snack in Cooma and we were back in town. Delanys Hut would have been another option for the wet Friday night.
A relaxed weekend with plenty of time to poke about the various sites. Thanks Jen and Rob and all.
Red – day 1; pink – my extra; blue – day 2.
12 walkers – Leanne A, Evelyn C, Greg F, Jen and Rob H(leaders), Brendan K, Stephen M, Fiona S, Janevieve S, Lorraine T, Tim W, me.
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