AAWT Stage 6 – Barry Saddle to Mount Selwyn
This journey began September 26th, 2014 at the lovely apartment on Leicester St. Mark, Jacob, Jarrod and myself had gathered together to eat a quick dinner before heading out to conquer yet another section of the AAWT. Being the VIP that she is, Lorelei arrived fashionably late. She was quite lucky that the men were able to restrain themselves and leave her some food. After filling our bellies with pies, delicious homemade soup and bread (Jacob really put the rest of us to shame with his devouring skills), Mark, Lorelei, Jacob, Jarrod, and myself jumped in Carolyn’s trusty green Camry and we headed to the hills.
We arrived at Myrtleford Holiday Park late at night to find that we had our very own private bunkhouse. Mark, Lorelei, and Jacob decided that before we started our hike it was absolutely necessary that we learn how to play 500. I can’t quite recollect exactly what happened, but I’m pretty sure that Jarrod and I won the gold medals, scored the most touchdowns, aced everyone and went to bed with smiles on our faces.
The next morning we awoke to a beautiful spring morning. There were kind, old men in the communal kitchen who gave us free toast (the best kind of toast) to accompany our delicious “Lorelei’s Homemade Granola.” It was going to be a good day. We packed the car up and headed towards East Buffalo Road. Mark sporadically provided the music, singing the road signs to the tune of Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier.” After three hours of driving past hound rehabilitation centers, downed trees, and swagged-up hunters we arrived at the AAWT.
The group decided that because of the late start we should hike the “easier” trail Saturday heading towards Barry’s Saddle. As the guidebook described, the trails were “mildly overgrown with moderate inclines following the ridge of the mountain.” I wouldn’t have used the word mildly to describe the trail, but I’m sure there are worse trails so I won’t complain. Although the distance between Jarrod and I and the other three was at times quite large, they always made sure to wait for us and not make us feel like the newbie hikers that we were.
We made it to the Barry’s Saddle sign where Vanessa and Mark had left a special gift for Jacob. We looked for the gift, but only found an empty, torn ziplock bag, a half chewed love note, and an empty Werther’s Original hard candy wrapper. Somewhere in those woods was a wallaby/wombat with a sweet tooth. We also made sure to check that Mark and Vanessa’s “friends” were still in the water tank (read more about these friends here). They were. Thank God we didn’t need water. After a quick lunch we headed back to the car to set up camp, cook dinner, and of course play 500 (as I recall, we won again).
The next morning Jarrod and I decided that our large blisters warranted a late and shortened hike. Mark, Lorelei and Jacob took off towards Mt. Selwyn about an hour before Jarrod and I got enough motivation to put our shoes back on and follow our buddies. Contrary to the guidebook’s description, the trail that we encountered was an open access road with plenty of room to walk side by side. After about an hour of hiking, I decided to let Jarrod go on ahead and while I put my new skill of identifying wild sorrel to use. After foraging for about an hour Jarrod returned and we headed back to the campsite. Mark, Lorelei, and Jacob were hot on our heels and we were all back in the car by mid afternoon. To finish off Jarrod and my weekend of firsts (first game of 500, first hike on the AAWT) we stopped at the Beechworth Brewery to feast on great food, enjoy some tasty beverages, and, of course, play 500.
Total Ascending (TA): 1620m
Total Descending (TD): 1450m
Total Distance of AAWT completed (TKM): 22.6km
AAWT Points: ((TA+TD)/1000)*(TKM/10) = 6.94 points