Day Two : O’Shea’s Mill Site to Camp Saddle (and finish to Mt. Baw Baw) – “Water Under the Bridge”

I sleep like a log, then rise to the sound of running water, but no water-saver shower heads and no half-flush buttons stuck down accidentally wasting more than they save. There are just the wonderful sounds of Nature doing its own water recycling. It runs down, it evaporates up, and I note that Newton got it the other way around. Anyway I get to drink a bit while it is running down again, then I head off up the hill away from O’Shea’s Mill Site. Two kilometres up the hill actually with a rise of about 400 metres, until the track meets perpendicular to Mt Erica Rd. Here the track and the road are one, and there is water at frequent intervals buried only by lush fernery beside the road. The road heads to the north-west and then swings to the north-east and finally it comes to a Tee. Heading east for one kilometre is the Mt Erica car park which initiates a Nature walk and is the starting point for daytrippers to Mushroom Rocks and Mt Erica. About 400m rise to Mushroom rocks, and about another 400m up to Mt Erica. Mushroom RocksAt the rounded top of Mt Erica the track flattens out and declines slightly towards Talbot Hut remains. There is water at the track junction to Talbot Hut beneath a short footbridge. After circling the Hut site, I choose a track which is strewn with more tree branches and gumtree bark than usual, and only later do I realize that this is no longer the AAWT. What I thought was recent storm debris not yet cleared from the track, is more likely a disused track. I finally decide this is the case after about one kilometre, so I have to do some fancy compass work to find the main track again. Was I just lost in the bush, or geographically embarrassed? I think that one of the secrets to life is embarrassing yourself and enjoying it, so should I tell everyone to “get lost”, and frequently? (The more correct route is back at the first branch to Talbot Hut remains, where I noted there was water under the bridge. It springs to mind that it would have been right to walk left, but now that is just water under the bridge so I’m not troubled by it.)

After rounding the Talbot creek towards the north, I walk for the next five kilometers steadily to the north-west, occasionally treading the boards upon water beneath, and finally coming across Mt St Gwinear’s track junction, the Rock Shelter and Camp Saddle. Feeling a bit saddle-sore, it is time to make tracks towards Mt BawBaw. Another one kilometre further on the track already-made is Mt St Phillack then the BawBaw junction to the left, diverging from the AAWT for an end to this instalment of the AH-HA Walk. The BawBaw track includes a number of footbridges over mushy ground. In each case there is no shortage of water under the bridges, but not the nicest choices for re-filling water reserves. The BawBaw village looms closer, but the ski-run tracks which are surely amazing in the winter season become equally a-mazing during the walking season and they turn out to be quite a labyrinth. I get dizzy with labyrinthitis, but finally I approach the village and car park. There are remnants of snow only days prior. Mid-summer, and Nature has kept us guessing….

Author: Andrew Watkins, The Adventure Capitalist

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