Trip Report Ramshead does the AAWT

Bogong

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I reckon I also found that water spot, 20 years ago, it looks very familiar.
There's a similar road cutting with a spring :emoji_sweat_drops: in it in the "Dry Barry Mountains". It's at the southern end of The Twins Road near a campsite, but a couple of hundred metres off the official track and not in the guidebook. People who don't know about it often have to ration their water if they're doing that section in summer.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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There's a similar road cutting with a spring :emoji_sweat_drops: in it in the "Dry Barry Mountains". It's at the southern end of The Twins Road near a campsite, but a couple of hundred metres off the official track and not in the guidebook. People who don't know about it often have to ration their water if they're doing that section in summer.
That spring along the Twins 4 WD track is some of the best and most reliable drinking water in the area. It is as @Bogong says not strictly on the AAWT route but well worth the detour. The actual route goes over the summits of the Twins and then the AAWT pops out further up the road and misses the spring water location. It flows across the Jeep track. Many of the users on this forum have walked different sections of the AAWT(myself included ) and can offer some advice about water points if required.
 
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Mister Tee on XC Skis

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This is awesome. I didn’t even know it was a thing.
The AAWT is a major thing. Anyone who has walked even 2 weeks worth of it is a solid bushwalker. Some people like me chip away at segments of it over the years in the green season. Others such as @Ramshead just take on the whole thing which is a huge undertaking. Then again some people such as the Oates Brothers have completed it in full, in the white season which is HARDCORE.
 

Bogong

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@Bogong has written on his webpage that the section of the AAWT that leaves the Baw Baw plateau and heads for Mt.Sunday is horrid. Please keep up your spirits. Once you reach the Mt. McDonald to Mt. Speculation section you will be amidst far more inspiring terrain.
Gosh, I wrote that Alpine Walking Track commentary about 10 years ago and just pasted it in when I was creating my web site to give it a bit more content in its early days. I haven't read it for quite a while, so I hope it isn't too rough?

Only the super hard core do the whole thing in one go. I used to be a total wreck after 12 day trips in south west TasMania, so I doubt I could do more than 3 or 4 weeks on the slightly easier Alpine Walking Track, even if I wanted to. But like many other people here, I've knocked off the majority of the Alpine Walking Track in small and medium sized bites over many years.
 

Mister Tee on XC Skis

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After a few days walking most thoughts tend to be food related.
In summer if it is hot when bushwalking over a number of days I start to have visions of refrigerated cold drinks. Kiewa valley Dairy Iced coffee and Gator Aid , both cold and dripping with rivulets of refrigerated condensation.
 
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Bogong

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Finding a clean puddle (or a yabby hole in western Tas) when you're parched is such a joy! You can drink many mouthfuls of water above and beyond your allocated water ration. Not only is that physically good for you, it boosts morale and gives you extra mental energy to press on.

But finding two whole cans of coke filled with magic sugary liquid that tastes delicious and rehydrates you and boosts your energy reserves... oh wow, such utter decadence!

(When you're a few days walk from civilisation, the weirdest things become unspeakable luxuries!)
 

Ramshead

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Hey guys, just found this thread! Thanks for starting it and for all your good wishes.

There’s good news and bad news tonight, depending how you view such things.

The good news is I’m finally enjoying this hike, eight days in. Why do we come to the outdoors? To test ourselves? OK sure. But I do not wish to fight or conquer nature. I wish to enjoy it.

The first seven days were an absolute shitfight. Baw Baw in snow made for slippery slow travelling meaning I lost time. Treefall on overgrown paths thereafter made navigation a necessity, which is no problem, but which again makes for slow slightly stressful progress; especially when you lose the path.

Then came the steeps. Three huge dips of between 700 and 1000m, down then up, into the valleys of the Thompson, Jordan and Black Rivers. Crazy paths that didn’t do what normal paths do and hug the contours. Oh no. These insane scars blazed straight up the fall line. They were exhausting.

I then literally got lost in the valley of the Black River where the AAWT was confusingly marked, lost a pole (as I tweeted) in a frightening river wading attempt – lucky I didn’t lose everything – and then popped out on the JamIeson Licola rd about 14km south of my food drop instead of 6k due to taking a wrong trail. Again, markings woulda helped but those little yellow AAWT signs are a hoax. They’re present when it’s like duh, obviously u gotta turn here and absent when you need them at confusing junctions. After this trip I’m going to look into fixing this where possible next summer in some sort of working party.

long story short, when I got to my food drop, it was small comfort as I was absolutely knackered mentally and physically and I knew the most physically taxing section lay ahead from Mt skene to Mt Hotham via Crosscut saw and such.

Now I know I know, this is the good bit. But after one day on the high ridges heading north to Mt McDonald, and only having enough water to make it thru the day thanks to a chance encounter with those two 4WD dudes I tweeted about, I thought nope, this is too hard, I need a break.

The deal now is this. I am due to pick up my next food drop at Hotham on Saturday. Today I hiked back to Mt skene, where I am currently camped among the alpine mint bushes with excellent phone reception. Tomorrow I will try to hitch to west Gippsland where I have a mate in Traralgon I haven’t seen in ages who will house me for a night or two, then drive me to Omeo, from where I will hitch to Hotham and continue what I hope will be the full remainder of the AAWT from there.

I say again, I know I am missing a signature part of the walk. But I do not view this as an Everest summit-style whole walk or fail type deal. I will do as much as I can do and enjoy doing it. Otherwise why do it? And after the ordeals of the first week, I just KNEW last night that I needed a few easier days. And whoa, the climbing up and down that was coming my way with minimal water woulda just worn me the hell down mentally which is no good.

So I’m writing this feeling chirpy and full of palak paneer (spinach and cheese curry) and thanks again guys for your support. To use a ski analogy, I really am an intermediate skier trying a long double black run here, but I’m told the NSW and ACT sections are mostly blue runs, to continue the analogy. Having done walks like Jagungal and Bimberi, I can verify this. So the plan is to get there ASAP.

Over and out!
 

Fozzie Bear

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@Ramshead I used to subscribe to the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" view. I got over it. Sure it is nice to be challenged, but type II fun is the max I want on my dial. To quote Sir Rodney (from Wizard of Id) " He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day".

1958246-wizardsunday.jpg
 

Ramshead

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@Ramshead I used to subscribe to the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" view. I got over it. Sure it is nice to be challenged, but type II fun is the max I want on my dial. To quote Sir Rodney (from Wizard of Id) " He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day".

1958246-wizardsunday.jpg
I honestly think it mighta killed me. Nah seriously I gave my all making my first food drop on time. And I’ll give it again in challenging sections ahead such as Mt Wills. But I needed a few days of cruisiness. Even today was tough backtracking. You get 500m of lovely tail walking through the snowgums then some insane steep rocky climb. This section of the trail is nuts
 

nfip

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I honestly think it mighta killed me. Nah seriously I gave my all making my first food drop on time. And I’ll give it again in challenging sections ahead such as Mt Wills. But I needed a few days of cruisiness. Even today was tough backtracking. You get 500m of lovely tail walking through the snowgums then some insane steep rocky climb. This section of the trail is nuts
smart .
look forward to following more of your treck.
 

Chaeron

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For the arcane and the traditionalists: Hillaire Belloc’s “The Path to Rome” ; or Patrick Leigh Fermor: Between the Woods and the Water (from Holland to Constantinople) - absolutely awesome reads.
 
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Ramshead

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Cut off your own arm with a Swiss Army knife and you’ll get a movie.
I hiked Kossie with that guy. Got the Canberra Times Sunday splash (front page) out of it. Aron Ralston is his name. Top fella. This was in November 04. On the day before we hiked it rained and we sat inside and Shane Warne was bowling in the Gabba Test and I explained Shane Warne to him. Good fun, he was genuinely interested.

I got a pic of him and his dad Larry on the summit. Can’t upload now but will tomorrow when I have wifi
 

Ramshead

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Are you thinking of a book? You will need disasters. It's probably too late for the traditional feckless companion.
Yeah nah, see what happens. I’ll write something. For someone somewhere. As long as I do at least 3/4 of the thing in total which I’m super confident will happen as my gear appears to be holding up well
 

Bogong

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Good stuff, two cans of Coke and the lure of luxury is too strong eh? LOL

pity your missing the King Billy-Crosscut Saw to the Viking section, must be right up there as the best part of the Vic section. However the Viking to Hotham is a dry old 4WD track slog and you won't be missing anything.
In that old AAWT summary on my website that someone mentioned, I rated the worst bits as Baw Baw to Mt McDonald and Mt Wills to The Cobberas, but the 3 or 4 days crossing the Barry Mountains aren't that great either. The Barries are not especially hard, but often dry and always a bit dull.

To me the three main highlights of the AAWT are:
  • Mt McDonald to Mt Speculation (especially the Mt Magdala - Mt Howitt - Crosscut Saw bit).
  • Mt Hotham to Mt Wills (especially the BHPs and Mt Bogong).
  • Thredbo to Kiandra (especially the Main Range).
I reckon every hiker experienced with multi day routes should make a walk incorporating those three areas a priority.
 

Chaeron

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In that old AAWT summary on my website that someone mentioned, I rated the worst bits as Baw Baw to Mt McDonald and Mt Wills to The Cobberas, but the 3 or 4 days crossing the Barry Mountains aren't that great either. The Barries are not especially hard, but often dry and always a bit dull.

To me the three main highlights of the AAWT are:
  • Mt McDonald to Mt Speculation
  • Mt Hotham to Mt Wills
  • Thredbo to Kiandra
I reckon every hiker experienced with multi day routes should make a walk incorporating those three areas a priority.
You guys have inspired me - besides visiting Opera House hut this summer I’m definitely doing Thredbo to Kiandra.

I was up on the Bluff looking towards the Viking/ Cobbler on the weekend and considering doing the Dry Barrys in the next few weeks, but best not to eh!
 

Ramshead

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You guys have inspired me - besides visiting Opera House hut this summer I’m definitely doing Thredbo to Kiandra.

I was up on the Bluff looking towards the Viking/ Cobbler on the weekend and considering doing the Dry Barrys in the next few weeks, but best not to eh!
I leave Thredbo on morning of 28th all going to plan if u wanna join me. Massive first challenge will be to ascend on foot with fresh heavy pack the slopes I have ascended in chairs so many times. Promises to be a nightmare!
 

Skichic2

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I hiked Kossie with that guy. Got the Canberra Times Sunday splash (front page) out of it. Aron Ralston is his name. Top fella. This was in November 04. On the day before we hiked it rained and we sat inside and Shane Warne was bowling in the Gabba Test and I explained Shane Warne to him. Good fun, he was genuinely interested.

I got a pic of him and his dad Larry on the summit. Can’t upload now but will tomorrow when I have wifi
Wow that must have been amazing. Saw the movie. Hard core.
 

Chaeron

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I leave Thredbo on morning of 28th all going to plan if u wanna join me. Massive first challenge will be to ascend on foot with fresh heavy pack the slopes I have ascended in chairs so many times. Promises to be a nightmare!
It’s a live option... if it looks like it’s feasible I’ll PM you soonish.
 
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Legs Akimbo

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For the arcane and the traditionalists: Hillaire Belloc’s “The Path to Rome” ; or Patrick Leigh Fermor: Between the Woods and the Water (from Holland to Constantinople) - absolutely awesome reads.
I'm not sure that Ramshead will have the chance to shack up with random east European aristocrats. Someone has put Leigh-Fermor's notes for the last leg together. Released posthumously in the last few years as The Broken Road.
 
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