Text Mick Liddell, photos CB and ML
On Sunday we divided into three groups and nine long walkers decided to explore out beyond the Baw Baw Village ski grounds. Before the snowfall we had planned to go to Mount Saint Gwinear, a 16 K return trip, but the prospect of doing it in the snow with a risk of a storm breaking was daunting. In high spirits we reset off up the northern trails through Fiveways with Mick leading and Harvey whipping the the group along.
Following on McMillan’s perimeter track, we found the alternative takeoff points for the bush trails that led to our second objective, the Phillack Saddle on the Australian Alpine trail. The first trail was obliterated from the winter landscape.
With no prospect of making a 2 km snow field bash over a spur and across Tanjil Creek we looked for the Ski Pole Track option. This trailhead presented us with a beautiful scene of a broad snow-bowl to a far ridge but there were no ski poles. Hoping to find the evidence of a buried trail, we pushed out on what might have been a path between frozen ponds and stepped over, or in some cases in, a brook crossing. Testing each step, the leader was ‘encouraged’ to stomp onwards for several hundred metres. Eventually we could recognise the arch of the ski trail through the trees and yet there was no sign of a walking track through snow-buried scrub. Progress after nearly an hour became hopeless so the expedition retreated back over Lionel’s branch-bridge to the Baw Baw perimeter trail.
A snack and cleanup of wet boots and we were off to log some of the routes back to Fiveways and down Mueller’s Trail to the lodges for a late lunch. Still not finished we doubled up on the Beech trail to complete enough distance to call ourselves the Long Walker group.