After a little bit of turmoil in the lead up to Christmas, our plan to revisit our trek on the AAWT of last year was shelved.
Instead, Nan & I drove up to Mt. Baw Baw and headed out for a couple of nights on the AAWT.
The run up to Mt. Baw Baw is a relatively easy one; following the Princess Hwy to the old Robin Hood Turn off & heading north to Noojee via Neerim South etc. Out of Noojee and past the Moe road turnoff, the still bitumen road becomes narrow and twisty (very pretty but watch out for oncoming vehicles – in particular logging trucks. Pass through the small hamlet of Tanjil Bren then at the South Face Road junction, head up the steep road into the Mt. Baw Baw Village.
Parking in the mostly unoccupied Number 1 car park, we walked into the village and had lunch on the terrace of the Village Restaurant. Sandwiches and coffee a little on the expensive side and service (due to the restricted staff numbers) a bit slow. Glad we ordered early before the crowds. Nice view!
Loaded up the packs after lunch, noticing that my water bladder was leaking (unable to do much about it – damp trousers but fortunately they dried out!). Headed to the bottom of the Maltese Cross T Bar then, crossing a bridge, a steady climb up Mueller’s Track to the 5 Ways Junction (take note of the top end of Mueller’s track for reference on the return journey). Link to best map
At Five ways (30 minutes / 1 km) we joined the Village trail (keep left, ignoring the Summit Trail and later McMillans Trail) and past the Bloomfield Picnic area where we stopped for lunch on the return. Still on the Village Trail, where it changes direction and heads due south, is a walking track ( + 30 minutes / 1.4 km – with a sign about 10 metres or so out from the junction) that heads north east across the headwaters of the West Tanjil Creek (drinking water here) then steadily up hill and east joining the AAWT. (+50 minutes / 2 km – nice camping in the saddle below Mt. Saint Phillack)
Along this last section and then further to the Summit of Mt. Saint Phillack (+ 10 minutes / 500 metres), Nan was struggling with her pack weight so I did a ferry service for her.
I Set up alongside the walking track and just past the summit cairn. Not much other than some dead scrub to attach the squid pole to. As I was using the short light weight one, this was not an issue – the ends of the doublet well supported in the trees.
First thing that I noticed were the March Flies – plague proportions and hungry!
A short activation due to available time and difficulties in phone coverage for spotting. I relied on the RBN for band changes.
|04:03z||VK7CW||7MHz||CW||Steve 579, 557|
|04:05z||VK5IS||7MHz||CW||Ian 559, 559|
|04:10z||VK2WP/P||7MHz||CW||Wal 559, 559|
|04:12z||VK3AFW||7MHz||CW||Ron 579, 559|
|04:15z||VK2IO/M||7MHz||CW||Gerard 559, 429|
|04:26z||VK6NU||14MHz||CW||John 559, 559|
|04:27z||VK4RF||14MHz||CW||Rick 579, 519|
|04:28z||VK4HA||14MHz||CW||Rick 579, 519|
Post activation, continuing south along the AAWT, we passed the congested campsite located at the Mt. Saint Gwinear track. Further on the AAWT in a saddle located between the second and third peaks was a very pretty yet deserted campsite (+ 700 metres from Mt. Saint Gwinear Tk).
We continued further, looking for a water source identified by David VK3IL. We found this 700 metres down from the aforementioned camp site in an area that was quite boggy. Continuing down the hill I found an adequate 1 tent campsite just 250 metres past the water source. Nan & I set up here for New Years Eve, a party of two & not a reveler within ear shot. Filled up the water bottles after dinner, early to bed.
Our camp is close enough to 8 kilometres walk from the Mt. Baw Baw Village.
New Years day, 01/01/2018.
UTC New years day starts at 11:00 am local time!
Nan & I headed south on the AAWT from our campsite towards Talbot Peak (+1 hr 45 minutes / 7.5 km. We passed a number of good prospective campsites along the way but none with obvious water available. Set up at the Talbot Peak Trig amongst a squadron of March Flies. The trig is just off the track and it helps to know where it is! Previous activation via Mushroom Rocks in 2013
VK3/VT-010, Talbot Peak – 1525m, 10 Points
|23:15z||VK7CW||7MHz||CW||Steve 599, 599|
|23:17z||VK2WP/P||7MHz||CW||Wal 559, 449|
|23:20z||VK3BYD||7MHz||CW||Warren 599, 599|
|23:24z||VK5CZ/P||7MHz||CW||Ian 539, 529|
|23:24z||VK2IO/P||7MHz||CW||Gerard 559, 549|
|23:26z||VK2YW/P||7MHz||CW||John 529, 519|
|23:29z||VK3HN||7MHz||CW||Paul 559, 599 OFF FREQ|
|23:32z||VK3ARR/P||7MHz||SSB||Andrew 5×9, 59|
|23:32z||VK3ANL/P||7MHz||SSB||Nick 5×9, 59|
|23:32z||VK3AFW/P||7MHz||SSB||Ron 5×9, 59|
|23:35z||VK1AD/2||7MHz||SSB||Andrew 5×8, 58|
|23:35z||VK3GRA/P||7MHz||SSB||Graeme 5×7, 59|
|23:42z||VK5PAS/P||14MHz||SSB||Paul 5×5, 57|
|23:45z||VK2HRX/3||14MHz||SSB||Compton 5×7, 57|
|23:48z||ZL2AJ||14MHz||SSB||Warren 4×3, 43|
|23:51z||VK7CW||14MHz||CW||Steve 599, 599|
|23:52z||VK5IS||14MHz||CW||Ian 579, 559|
|23:54z||VK6NU/P||14MHz||CW||John 529, 559|
|23:57z||VK3BHR/P||7MHz||SSB||Phil 5×7, 57|
|23:58z||VK3HN||7MHz||SSB||Paul 5×7, 57|
|00:03z||VK3ARH/P||7MHz||CW||Allen 599, 599|
|00:06z||VK2WP/P||7MHz||CW||Wal 559, 559|
|00:10z||VK3HN||7MHz||CW||Paul 599, 599|
|00:13z||VK7CW||7MHz||CW||Steve 599, 599|
|00:14z||VK3ARR/P||7MHz||SSB||Andrew 5×7, 57|
It was getting hot and the March Flies were terrible so, not wanting to hang around, I packed up quickly and we headed off first to the Talbot Hut site and then to Mt. Erica where we had lunch. On return we refilled our water at the creek near Talbot Hut and made our way back to our campsite. Spent the afternoon swatting March Flies and finishing off a very small bottle of Tullamore Dew; searching for bits of shade & enjoying the comfort of our new S2S Air Chairs.2/01/2018
Woke up to cloud and mist. Very drippy under the trees and fortunate our tent was in the clear. Packed up and returned to Mt. Saint Phillack for a very short activation. Due to the weather, phone coverage was much worse than earlier & I used a pre=programmed message on my Spot Messenger to get a spot out. In the end the phone via SMS, Spot and the RBN all found me. Qualified on 40 metres CW and 2 contacts on 40 metre phone.
|23:24z||VK3JDR||7MHz||CW||David 579, 449|
|23:29z||VK2IO||7MHz||CW||Gerard 559, 339|
|23:34z||VK4RF||7MHz||CW||Rick 519, 519|
|23:35z||VK4HA||7MHz||CW||Rick 519, 519|
|23:36z||VK2YW||7MHz||CW||John 579, 559|
|23:44z||ZL1BYZ||14MHz||CW||John 559, 419|
|23:45z||VK1MA||7MHz||SSB||Matt 5×7, 55|
|23:46z||VK3PF/M||7MHz||SSB||Peter 5×5, 55|
A lot less people on the track today. We made good time & had lunch with the last of our tuna & wraps at the Bloomfield Picnic Area. Very foggy at the Baw Baw Village. Drove home via Rawson and the South Face Road. Going down, possibly a quicker option than via Noojee.
Next up, Mount Hotham 2018!
1. Leaking Camelbak water bladder. I am pretty sure this was due to the 3 litre bladder being very full and also being compressed by the gear inside the pack plus internal and external compression straps. Solved by not using the internal bladder sleeve but instead using the outre pocket on the rear of my Osprey pack.
2. Water source near our campsite. This was a slow flow running across the track. Very shallow and care needed not to disturb the algae growth. I used the Steripen for treatment just in case. Tasted fine, no ill affects.