Heavy snow fell to low levels on the Baw Baw Range in West Gippsland, Victoria, on Friday, August 31, the last day of winter for 2012.
I had earmarked a snow visit that day during my week’s leave, travelling with my eight-year-old daughter Maggie. I originally planned to go up Mt St Gwinear, where earlier in the week there was softening, deteriorating snow at the carpark.
However, Thursday night was cold and wet. Snow fell to just outside the Erica township around 500 metres and stayed there all day.
We called in at Erica Ski Hire to pick up chains and boots. The helpful lady there told us the St Gwinear road was closed and there was snow on the Thomson Dam road just out of town.
I informed her we’d head up the Mt Erica road to where the snow had fallen and that’s what we did. As there was snow at the base and I didn’t want to fit chains, we turned the car around while we could and started walking up the mountain.
We walked for about 45 minutes with plenty of stops until the snow was deep enough for Maggie to build a snow castle and play with the toboggan. I estimate the altitude was about 800 metres.
I like Mount Erica. It’s a modest peak, rising to just 1509 metres at the summit, but it’s a quiet and beautiful place.
Mushroom Rocks, a short distance from the carpark, are worth visiting. I’ve been there several times before and that’s where the snowline usually is during winter.
I have never encountered a lower fall on Mount Erica than what we saw on Friday.
We virtually had the mountain to ourselves. A couple in a four-wheel drive fitted chains where we stopped to play and a ranger went through shortly afterwards.
It was a real treat, and a lucky one considering the warm spring weather which followed over the next couple of days.