Walking up the Spring Saddle Track on a beautiful day I have a surprising thought, where is the point at which you can’t hear the water? The sound of the rivers is omnipresent! Water is constantly running somewhere in the environment here. I stop at a point up the mountain, The track has made a turn and I may have the mountain in between the river and me. I think this is the point at which I can no longer hear the water, but maybe it is there softly mixed in with the wind in the trees.
The people I have met here all talk about the river, they love it! It is so important in so many ways. It has been an ever-present supply of food, jobs, power and of course water, it is at once a source of calm recuperation yet constant movement and change. I am interested in their favourite spots… their fond recollections. I hear the fish have gone, they say it’s the ‘greenies takin’ out the Willows’. The Willows are non-native, an invasive species that choke up the rivers. But over time they have also provided habitat for the Trout and more importantly they hold together the river bank. Their removal (however well intentioned) has changed the course of the river and shelter for fish. When the rain subsides a little I will collect some river recordings.
Back on my walk up the Spring Saddle Track, I began to notice some rusty red oil drums discarded off track. What were they for? Water… Fuel… Oil… Food… They are now slowly oxidising back into the earth. I pick up a stick and hit one, it calls out over the valley below. I come around another sharp twist in the track to the chatter of unseen birds. Both sides of the track have beautiful Acacias, the uphill side has a dense coverage. Tiny birds are having intense conversations, they dart in and around the wattle branches. I take my first recording here.
The next interesting stop was on a hairpin bend. A little stream was trickling down the mountain then went in to a pipe and under the track then out the other side and down the valley. I got the DPA’s out and took a recording with them in my hands, moving them about to capture different depths and width of the stereo image. They also got dangled inside the pipe as much as I could.
Finally I reached the top of the track, it joined the Fainter Track and went on to Bogong Jack Hut. That walk was for another time! I was here to find the ruins of the Spring Saddle Hut… I was disappointed. Probably due to many fires over the years the hut that was had now completely vanished. I was standing out on a plateau, a grassed and sandy paddock. I checked the map to be sure I was in the right area to find the Hut. It was marked as on the border of the National Park and State Forrest. Yes this was the place, great for roo, wallaby and deer, but no Hut ruins. I’m sure many hikers have camped here, there was a fire circle and a bucket full of rain water. I put down my pack and set up to record the atmos while I had a snack.
I set up my gear in the middle of the paddock, switched to record and heard the lovely sound of a helicopter flying over the distant mountain! Not really the atmos I wanted but that’s live recording. After about 5-10min I moved the setup closer to a pile of dead blackberry. It was a lovely little haven for the busy twittery birds hurrying about preparing for the afternoon bug feast.
Whilst eating my tin of tuna on a log I found a skeleton behind me. Possibly the jawbone and other bits of a deer. I think about the High Plains cattle men and women who stopped her for shelter, resting their horses as they moved a heard across to lush pastures high on the Mountain. What about the adventurers of years past. People just like me hiking up and across the mountain plains to enjoy her beauty and discover her secrets. I have a meeting in town this week with an old cattle man. Excited to have a yarn and hear his stories.
The clouds began to gather and descend down the mountain, time I did too.