Mount Baw Baw to Mushroom Rocks (22-23/12/2012)

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Mount Baw Baw to Mushroom Rocks (22-23/12/2012)

Postby tcatchy » Sun 30 Dec, 2012 1:24 pm

My first trip report!! After having hiked with scout groups and friends several times I finally coerced my mum into going for an overnight hike with me from Mount Baw Baw Village to Mushroom Rocks.

Leaving Melbourne early on Saturday, we made our way to Yarra Junction and then up the steep windy road to Baw Baw. Beware of the deep and hidden potholes and the cars driving down the hills at ridiculous speeds, had a few close calls. When we arrived in the resort, it was full of BMX riders, which we luckily did not see when we were hiking. The resort had waived the usual $5 summer parking fee (per day) in the lead up to Christmas to try and encourage people to come there which was a bonus.

We set off at 11 am and as my mum had never been hiking before, she wore runners and only had a medium-sized backpack and I had to carry the majority of our supplies. The walk from the resort to the National Park Boundary is steep and windy but is softened by a heap of tan bark which I assume is laid down for the winter season (If anyone could elaborate that would be great). Upon entering the National Park the track narrows and you enter completely different vegetation - low-lying, prickly shrubs and then occasionally open plateaus.

After our ascent we had lunch at the Phillack Saddle, which has great view down the mountain both ways. After lunch we got on with the job and started heading south toward Mount Erica. Along the way we encountered a few lizards and birds. Some areas are overgrown and we suffered small cuts from shrubs. My map indicated three areas as swampy and overgrown and that it was. Many areas had thick, deep mud underfoot and required a stick or two for balance. There are no ways around it so you just got to try and stay as clean as possible. It didn't work too well as we both got quite wet and muddy.

About 500 metres shy of Mount Erica, the trail splits into two - straight ahead for about 200 metres to the hut ruins, or right and across the stream to Mount Erica. This was the only water source which I considered during the whole day and I still had to purify it because there were heaps of little flies in the water. After filling up, we continued along and hit Mount Erica, from which it is about a 300 metre descent in 2-3 kilometres. We arrived at around 5:30 pm and slowly set up camp. Mushroom Rocks is a great campsite just there are no toilets or anyone obvious flowing water. I later remembered that in the AAWT guide my Chapman that he mentions a possible stream down the hill, but we had plenty of water so it didn't bother us too much. There was enough reception standing on a few rock to call dad and tell him that we arrived safely. We settled down quickly and it was bright until 9 pm so we played cards to fill the time.

At 6:45am we were woken by a man who in a puffed out voice yelled out "Good morning!". We saw him much further along the trail at 10 am running back, man was he fit running that terrain AND on a Sunday morning! We packed up quickly and left and had to tackle the uphill stretch to Mount Erica, not before filling up our water at the same spot. My mum was stiff and sore from the days walk before but she quietly battled through it. Upon ascending Mount Erica, heavily panting, we could feel that it was significantly warmer than the day before and my dad did mention it was meant to be 40 degrees in Melbourne on that day. Tracing back our steps required us to go through the muddy and scrubby sections again and this time I was prepared and got minimally muddy, as opposed to my mum who was tired and managed to sink both her feet into the mud several times! The heat was progressively getting worse as we finally arrived at the National Park Boundary and attempted to take a short cut which ended up as walking down the ski slope.

Driving home the thermometer in the car registered 26 in Baw Baw, 40 in Croydon and 39 at the end of the Eastern Freeway near the city. All in all it was a good trip, I just need to buy myself a pair of gaiters if I go anywhere with similar shrubbery. I was surprised that we didn't see anyone at all apart from the runner and the staff at Baw Baw were really friendly and helpful.

Photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rtseyq8n4jnz1bd/lyTqzeMYjU
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Re: Mount Baw Baw to Mushroom Rocks (22-23/12/2012)

Postby ryantmalone » Sun 30 Dec, 2012 1:54 pm

I've been considering getting up there soon myself, its a lovely area. Agreed with the scrub though, I have horrible memories of when I was little, getting scratched up on the way to Mustering Flat. Beautiful area though, but gaiters are definitely a good idea!!
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Re: Mount Baw Baw to Mushroom Rocks (22-23/12/2012)

Postby Isis » Mon 31 Dec, 2012 9:47 am

You have a cool mum.
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Re: Mount Baw Baw to Mushroom Rocks (22-23/12/2012)

Postby andrewbish » Tue 01 Jan, 2013 8:04 am

Thanks for the report, tcatchy. I have done the walk a couple of times, in cooler conditions - love it! I prefer to start at the Mt Erica end - I don't enjoy the long windy drive up to Mt Baw Baw.
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Re: Mount Baw Baw to Mushroom Rocks (22-23/12/2012)

Postby tcatchy » Tue 01 Jan, 2013 10:17 am

Yeah, had I known that the drive was going to be so bad I would have started at Mount Erica or on the other side at the Mount Saint Gwinear Carpark
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