Mount Buffalo – The Back Wall & Dicksons Falls : March 18

On Sunday March 18, eighteen hardy walkers braved the bleak overcast skies, the threat of rain and a fierce wind which could have powered Porepunkah for a month, to make the journey to Mount Buffalo for the 15km walk to The Back Wall and Dicksons Falls.

From the Cresta Valley car park it was a short walk along the clearly defined track to the junction for Dicksons Falls, and The Back Wall.

We hiked towards the Back Wall, signposted some 5km away. Despite little rainfall over summer, the few streams along this hike still had some water present. This part of the walk passes by the Chinaman’s Wall (which was pointed out by Justin on our return) and the Giant’s Playground, but the inclement weather kept all giants indoors today.

Morning tea was taken in a slightly sheltered area, out of the wind, before crossing through one of the valleys that is a part of this track.

Raincoats were zipped up as a brief shower came through, and some walking through thick bush was encountered.

Also spotted was the longest and fattest worm I have ever seen, manoeuvring down this section of the path. Fortunately for this juicy worm, all walkers had consumed a satisfying morning tea.

As we got closer to the edge of the national park, a little more of our hike was over large granite rocks, which is a feature of Mount Buffalo. It was here that the wind was most noticeable, with sure footing being paramount.

The mountain’s amazing rock formations are a result of wind, water and ice eroding them over time. The plant life too changes once again during this final section of the walk, and over 550 native species occur in the park, which is great news if you are a vegetarian.

After about two hours we reached our destination – the Back Wall. This point overlooks the southern edge of the national park, and features a sheer drop which would test anyone with acrophobia. A few members clambered up the large rocks at this site for more spectacular views. The Horn and its lookout is clearly visible from this point as everyone had lunch.

Apparently Aboriginal people used to feast on protein-rich Bogong Moths here at Mount Buffalo. After roasting them in strips of bark, they ate the bodies or ground them into a paste. I was quite content with my ham sandwich and piece of fruit.

After lunch we simply retraced our steps back towards the junction at the start of our walk. That is, except for June. She took a little tumble but bounced back up right as rain. Personally I think June is made of rubber. Walking back a little lower than the peaks above us was an advantage, as the wind was blowing some light rain across them. It wasn’t long before we were back at the Dickson’s Falls turnoff.

From this point a handful of members chose to return to the cars, while thirteen of us continued to the falls.

This section of the walk is described as a nature walk, and some signage of plant and wildlife made for informative reading. The ever alert Justin spotted a tiny brown snake crossing the path of walkers at the front of the group.

The lookout for the falls was reached soon after, and a small stream was still flowing over the rocks.

The weather had improved considerably during the afternoon and the Buckland Valley below, like us, was now bathing in patches of welcomed sunshine.

Our return to the cars for Pat’s accustomed, and appreciated, afternoon tea was next, before returning to Wangaratta.

An enjoyable days hike, despite the weather, was appreciated by all who attended.

Michael Braendler

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