New Year on the Baw Baw Plateau

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.

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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.

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AAWT Junction. St. Phillack Saddle

VK3/VT-006, Mt Saint Phillack – 1565m, 10 Points

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.

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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.

Time Call Band Mode Notes
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).

Nice campsite 55 H 439053 5811677

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

Time Call Band Mode Notes
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
23:22z VK3PF/P 7MHz CW Peter599, 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
Time Call Band Mode Notes
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.

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Creek crossing near Talbot Hut. Good water

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
23:31z VK1EM 7MHz CW 579, 599
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!

Post Script:

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.

 

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Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “New Year on the Baw Baw Plateau

  1. Good story, remember the Marchies from the time I visited in November a few years ago, but nowhere near as bad as you describe. Note my CW as OFF FREQ 8^) 73 VK3HN.

    • March flies bit through clothing. My back and arms were a mess.
      CW was just within my bandpass, otherwise would have missed you.

      • Nasty, I recall there was a discussion about attraction to colours and white seems to be advisable.

        Damn those narrow filters!

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