|3 July 2007
|The Banks (Max and Bert's) Hut
|Map: Michelago 8726-4S and Colinton 8726-3N 1:25000
This walk was organised and led by me as a CBC Tuesday walk:
(Tuesday 3 July: The Banks Hut - L/E-M,X Leave from Caloola Farm. Around 25km and 500m climb. Maps: Michelago, Colinton 1:25000. Limit of 8. Leader: John Evans – email@example.com, (h) 6288 7235; contact me by 6pm the previous Sunday. Transport: ~$10. Further details at www.pcug.org.au/~jevans.).
Four good friends and keen walkers gathered from across Canberra and we drove to Caloola Farm and parked.
In a recent it, the Walks Secretary requested: 'Please keep walks descriptions in the Activities Program to an economical minimum. It is surprising how quickly space is taken up in it when descriptors become increasingly eloquent.' I was incensed and emailed him: 'Some 'oldies' have a reputation built on well-practised bushcraft and superb navigation, along with wit and charm, to attract participants on their walks. Whereas 'newbies' like myself have to rely on eloquence.' Then I decided to schedule this walk and a short, non-eloquent description has a decided advantage! This walk has few redeeming features and it will be a real test of friendship to see who turns up.
But if one wants to bag The Banks Hut, one has to go. I threw in some nearby Naas River rocks as an added incentive. Leaving from and returning to Caloola Farm, all but 3.7km of this wander is on fire trail so, although long-ish, it should fit comfortably in a shorter Winter's day.
See the KHA entry for this hut here. But I reckon their GR is out a fraction.
The Manager of Caloola Farm has given us permission to enter and park on the property. He advises that the Naas River is flowing and appropriate footwear may be required for the 16 crossings as we follow the Naas River fire trail.
This little wander turned out to have some surprises. Sure, the Naas River rocks weren't too spectacular, but we saw 6 deer, 3 rabbits, 2 eagles, 1 fox and a spiteful group of large biting ants when I sat on their home. And, of course, the ubiquitous kangas and wobbalies. The Banks Hut is not too salubrious (although it does have a cast iron bed hammock), but its location and outlook is quite stunning.
Walking by 8am, down to the ford, for the first de-booting,putting on of runners, wading and re-booting. This was to occur, in various forms for various walkers (except for Bob in his Crocodile gaiters), a total of 16 times - the Naas River was flowing strongly. We knocked of 3.8km and 2 crossings in the first hour. The day was lovely, blue sky with, at first, the sun touching the tops of the ranges to the right and left. The vegetation crowded down to the fire trail and made it a pleasant experience instead of a usual trudge. Six deer ran off at one stage, a fox left in a hurry and a rabbit scurried away.
The second hour saw us complete 3.1km and 5 crossings. The next 40 mins took us 2.9km, with only 1 more crossing, to morning tea at the point where we left the fire trail. 2 eagles soared over the Booth Range.
Fortified, we wandered up the S side of a significant gully with a nice rock face at the top. Around 260m up and 1km in saw us at the hut (GR87354193 MGA94 Michelago) (see pic 1). This is a little different to the KHA GR. A corrugated iron structure in an idyllic setting - the cleared area beside it would make an excellent croquet lawn or par 3 golf hole. We poked through the hut with its remnants and iron bed frame hammock suspended by wires. We then walked 30m down to where the creek plunged several tens of metres down towards the valley below. We then headed SE across a spur above the hut, which afforded very nice views across the Clear Range to the Tinderrys (see pic 2). Then E-ish down and across the fire trail and down to the river, looking for some rocks marked on the first edition map. Jim wanted more prickly bushes, so I found a belt of them through which we forced our way to the river bank. A stop for lunch.
Away at 12.50pm to the NW near SH823. Nicer views down to the Naas River with rocks and churning water. Hit the fire trail just S of our morning tea spot and trudged on to the N. Bob pointed out another possible approach spur to the hut, just by the R775 marker.
I had with me a waypoint for an unnamed hut just by the fire trail which I'd forgotten about on the way in. We found it on the way out, at GR88264569 MGA94 Michelago, just a few metres off the fire trail (see pic 3). All that remained were sheets of corrugated asbestos sheeting, some neatly stacked and others broken. Archeological dating was assessed by steel beer cans with ring pulls in a fire hole.
We crossed back at every crossing we'd crossed over and, with the sun westering, arrived back at the car at 4pm. Had a chat with Graham, the Caloola Farm Manager, who had been very helpful with arrangements.
Thanks Bob, Jenny, Jim and Max for proving your friendship (and interest) - I think we were all well rewarded! We may see a weekend camp back at this great site in the future.
Distance: 23.5km Climb: 600m. Time: 8am - 4pm (8 hrs), with 55mins of stops.
KMZ file for Google Earth/Maps: The Banks (Max and Bert's) Hut
|Click on a thumbnail below to see the full sized picture
|1 The Banks (Max and Bert's) Hut
|2 The Tinderrys from above The Banks (Max and Bert's) Hut
|3 Unnamed hut beside Naas Valley Fire Trail