Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Overnite to Mt Mcleod, Mt Buffalo National Park.

Sunset on Mt McLeod

The wet and stormy weather for the days preceding the walk had us loading our packs with all of our wet gear and preparing for a stormy night in camp.

The wet weather in early September had also effect the Reservoir Rd, the damage caused by the rapid water flow required it to be closed to vehicle traffic, and this meant we had an extra 6km to walk.

So with our starting point moved to the Eastern end of the Reservoir Rd we donned our packs and headed off. The Reservoir Rd is quite flat so the walking was easy going and gave us a gentle warm up. Parts of the road still showed the damage from the huge rain fall in early September.

Stopping at the beginning of the Mt McLeod jeep track gave us time to enjoy our morning tea before heading off again. We only needed to walk a short distance up the jeep track before reaching the Eastern end of the Alternate Track this track takes a different route to the jeep track saving a climb and descent of 140 metres.
The Alternate track also provided us with a pleasant change to walking on the jeep track as the narrow foot pad contoured around. This section of track had two creek crossing one of which with the recent rain fall was little challenging. The Alternate track rejoins the Mt McLeod jeep track around 5km from the camp area and at an altitude of around 1200m.

The jeep track has a few steep sections, but as always these provided an opportunity to stop and enjoy the view and thus made these sections easy going. The views from this part of the National Park are no less spectacular than elsewhere in the park. Rocky outcrops of peaks such as Mt Dunn can be seen to the east. Plus as normal on Mt Buffalo we walk thru and around plenty of marvellous rock formations. Much to our surprise a bike rider court up with us and stopped for a brief chat before peddling his way to Mt McLeod.

About 5 hours from the cars we arrived at the designated minimal impact camping area. The camping area is situated at the southern end of Del’s Plain at and altitude of 1400m. The original plan had us heading up to Mt McLeod after setting up camp but after discussion we decided to relax and enjoy the beauty of the snow grass plain over a cuppa.

After a pleasant meal and lively conversation we headed off to bed with alarms set for an early start. It seems I had only just nodded off to sleep when the alarm went off at 4.45. With breakfast in our pack and head torches on we head off to see the sun rise from the summit of Mt McLeod. The climb up to the summit finishes with a rock scramble but the walk was well worth it we arrived in time to see the lights of Myrtleford, the sky turning pink above Mt Bogong, and mist in the valleys (if only I had brought the camera). We spent some time soaking in the beauty before consuming a light breakfast on the summit and returning to camp for the pack up and the walk back to the cars.

The return trip was via the same path as the day before, but as usual walking the opposite direct provides a whole new view to look at. The return trip was walk at an easy pace and had us back at the cars around 5 hours from leaving the camp site.

After all our concerns about the chance of thunderstorms, it never rained….

A not well pitched Integral Designs Sil Shelter