Beau’s lost a SPOT Trace GPS tracker in the Victorian High Country and we’ve got the coordinates.
Update: At least one Explorer has been out to the coordinates and couldn’t find the device, it’s missing, presumed off, but the trail has gone cold. That being said, it’s a beautiful spot, so if you planned to head out on the search it might still be worth the slightly unorthodox pilgrimage.
Back in late March, Beau Miles, also known as the Backyard Adventurer, was running the 220km McMillans track in Gippsland as part of a new film project. At some point near the Dargo River, on the side of a wild High Country Valley, the SPOT Trace fell out of his backpack, or was left on a stump, he doesn’t know.
By the time Beau realised the GPS tracker was gone it was too late. The McMillans track isn’t your standard hiking track, it’s a historic route forged by Angus McMillan in 1864 to link Gippsland goldfields and it runs through remote alpine country.
Beau is famously anti-GPS, and at first I wondered whether this was a Tommy Caldwell ‘dropping’ his phone on the Dawn Wall situation. But Beau also famously hates litter, and the device was more to help out his cinematographer mate Mitch Drummond than anything else.
Regardless, they didn’t know where it was.
Signs of Life
On 9:34 AM on Monday the 12th April, an automated email hit the crew’s inbox. The SPOT Trace had moved! Just a tiny amount, but enough to confirm that it was still there. Maybe a stick fell on it, maybe it’s become structurally integral to a wombat burrow, no one knows.
The point is, it’s there. Where exactly?
The area looks kinda like this, but right now it’s very white and covered in snow:
And here’s what Beau remembers from the day:
‘This was my second attempt at running McMillans Walking Track, having once failed during a heat-wave in December. (My body thought I was an idiot, well, my organs did, packing it in after the first big day.)
Other than my body needing a cooler sky for my gingerness to make it across the hills, the film crew needed to know a bit more about where I was. It turns out that finding a runner in the Aussie Alps is hard, especially when I wear green. So, we bought a SPOT, which beams up a Long and Lat to those with phones on them (and in range of reception).
Being a luddite, looking at a watch, compass, and map, I didn’t actually turn on the SPOT until I was reminded of it, which was just before descending the bonkers Mayford Spur into the Dargo River Valley. So, for the record, I was SPOTing my location for about 6km before lo and behold, it no longer pinged.
I think I know exactly where it is: after fording the Dargo River several heading NW on the 4WD King Spur Track, I crossed Mayford Plains at the bottom of Treasure Spur. A new sign, only a few weeks old, tells you that you’re on the right path. The McMillan Walking track (with an occasional red triangle) ascends masochistically up 1000m of vertical terrain of Treasure Spur on a track that’s only half there.
I started to get warm by chewing up half a dozen contour lines, stopping 300-400m from the plain to take off my jacket, which meant taking off my backpack and more than likely liberating the SPOT beacon from the elasticied outside pocket.It’s here that the SPOT decided to put an end to the crew’s cunning plan to keep tabs on me.
I’d be mighty grateful if you’re up for a mission to find it. Goodonya’s. Be safe, swift (safe) or slow (also safe). Beer awaits.’
Wanna go get it?
I was on the phone to Beau the other week when he told me about this saga. Overhearing our chat, an idea sparked in Mitch’s mind.
‘You should throw the coordinates up on We Are Explorers mate! Inspire someone to go and find it.’
‘I’ll give them a case of Organic Beer from Free Brewing if I get it back,’ Beau added.
A plan was forming, but I had concerns. It’d been months since any notifications. Was it really worth the trouble?
Then, on the 8th of June another alert came through. The SPOT Trace was still there!
So there you have it, as far as we know it’s still here. And there’s a case of beer and an epic adventure in it for you if you can find it.
But Just to Clarify, It’s in The Middle of Nowhere
I need to put my legal wig on now and make it abundantly clear that Beau’s SPOT Trace is in what’s technically referred to as ‘buttfuck nowhere’. It’s remote, hard to get to and at the moment, covered in snow.
With the right gear and skills this is a doable mission, probably involving cross country skis, snow camping, and heaps of swearing. But neither We Are Explorers (or Beau) are responsible for anything that happens if you go and get yourself into trouble. Make sure you’re well-equipped, with experienced company and someone knows where you’re headed.
If you do find the device, shoot me an email with some proof and I’ll beg you to send me photos and words for a story (I’ll probably put you in touch with Beau too).
Good luck! May the odds be ever in your favour.
Beau’s debut book ‘The Backyard Adventurer’ is out now and I personally recommend it. Beau didn’t even give me a case of beer to say that. Grab yourself a copy now.