I am not quite sure why I called this blog ‘Jerusalem’ (referring to Mt Jerusalem, which we did indeed climb): A Wander in the Walls would have been more appropriate. Perhaps the vagueness of that latter title, which might have matched the imprecision of our meanderings, might have been a little too lacking in substance for readers to find anything to grasp.
I hate pinning myself down and performing like a puppet to a timetable or overly defined schedule: I like to respond to weather, my mood and whatever the circumstances are that meet me in the wilderness. Luckily my friend Margie is totally comfortable with my slippery programmes. The two of us would go to the Walls, probably but not definitely sticking to the NE area, and climbing maybe this and that, observing lakes and pools both named and unnamed. We would be off track for a goodly part of the exercise. There were a few things I hoped to climb and see, but my heart was set on none of them, and with snow forecast for our second day, we weren’t really sure at all how things would play out. The only thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to sleep on top of mountains every night. We hadn’t even pinned ourselves down to a specific route for the way in. We would park and decide in the carpark.
Somehow or other, with that seeming indecision, we nonetheless wasted no time vacillating and with almost no discussion, came to agreement on our plan, whilst at the same time always leaving it open. Up we went.
I guess if we’d met some growly ranger early on who wanted to herd us like cattle into her enclosure, we might have changed tack, but we didn’t, so that left us open to plan A. Whilst in the early stages we met a few interstate walkers who asked us our destination, when we said we were heading to the NE of the park and were going to sleep on a mountain or two, they seemed to think that was cool.
And thus we wandered, over this named and that unnamed lump, exploring tarns lined with pencil pines, and seeing the views from quite a few high points. Eventually we chose our real estate for the night, which was as near to the summit of our lump as we could get within reason – reason dictating that we should shelter a bit from the wind that was getting quite strong by now, and promising to be more fearsome as night advanced. We found a beautiful hollow which was not quite out of the wind, but didn’t bear the full brunt.
Meanwhile, it had lovely views and a tarn big enough to use its water for drinking. I wasn’t sure if I could light my stove for dinner, the wind was now so strong, but I managed.
All through the late afternoon, we kept a close watch on the advancing heavy clouds, willing them not to block the horizon at sunset. They were dark and menacing, but were still allowing room for the sun to peep through underneath. Trouble was, there were still a few hours to go until sunset, so a lot of mental coercion of the elements was required.
It was by now very cold indeed, so we each retired into our respective tent to wait for the possibility of sunset, and hopefully to warm up whilst we did so. They were close enough for us to chat across the tent space.
Sunset was as the pictures portray: totally magnificent. I always forget I am cold when excited by beauty, so happily shot for the duration of the golden light. Snow was forecast for the next day. Would we wake up to a white world, or would that come later? My tent flapped wildly all night, but no snow fell, and the morning brought calmer conditions and unexpected sunshine. Oh well. Snow would come later then. Let’s climb Mt Jerusalem. So we did.
The last time I climbed Mt Jerusalem, I had giardia, and am not even sure how I managed to climb. I wasn’t actually vomiting on that day, but was gestating the illness, and had no energy or spark. I took no photos. This time I floated on the wave of beauty, and was able to enjoy all the sights. On the southern side of the broad higher area not far from the summit, there are countless tarns, so we used our afternoon well, exploring a few of them and spying on the scoparia. By mid afternoon the sunny day had ceded to wind, dark clouds and snow. We scurried to our mountain to retreat into tents and try to warm up. The tent flaps banged all night, no matter how tightly I adjusted the guys.
By “sunrise” we woke to a pure white world full of wonder. We both took photos from our tents, but then, deciding we were being just a bit lazy, got out and did the job properly.
I seemed particularly slow at packing up, but there were no pressing appointments. We both agreed to retreat back to the car at this stage rather than climb another mountain, but there was no rush, and the snow was gorgeous, so we unhurriedly got our gear together and snow-bashed our way down the mountain, along the valley, over a stream and then down through the forest of twigs and branches supporting loads of white powder, to the cars below. It was a fabulous trip, and now Mt Jerusalem joins the list of mountains that I have climbed more than once.