Jerusalem 2022

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.

Sunset view to Clumner Bluff

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.

Sunset to Mt Ossa, Pelion West and lots more.

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.

Sunset view to Mt Ossa, Pelion West and more

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.

Sunrise. How can life be this good? Epacris serpyllifolia

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.

Margie on Mt Jerusalem
One of many tarns to the south of Mt Jerusalem

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.

Lazy bones photographing from her tent.

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.

A view worth climbing outside for

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.

Walls of Jerusalem, just how I like them

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.

Margie underway

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.

Underway in the Walls of Jerusalem; summer please note.

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.

Trestle Mountain

I am getting good at third climbs. Thurs-Fri, I slept on Mt Rufus with a friend for my third climb of it (see blog below this one), and next day, Kirsten, Gussy and I set out to climb and sleep on Trestle Mountain. For me it was the third time; for Gussy the second; and for Kirsten, whose choice it was, it was the first, which is why she chose it.

First creek crossing on the way to Trestle Mountain

I am delighted to report that it never occurred to Gus for a single second to be reluctant to go on the grounds that he’d already done it. He reads books many, many times over and has no problem with repeat mountain climbs. I actually find this a very important character trait. People who always need something new, who dislike something on the grounds that they’ve already “done” it are the ones who bother me. (HATE that world “done”.)

The pack isn’t just big: it’s heavy too! You have to be prepared for that taking young children bushwalking.

In actual fact, the three of us were supposed to be rogaining this weekend, but it had turned into an event requiring goggles, flippers, a wet suit and possibly even snorkels, and the organisers had decided to cancel. So, we had a weekend that had been kind of dedicated to a threesome bush adventure, so decided to combine my love of sleeping as near to the top of mountains as possible with Kirsten’s desire to add another Abel to her collection. Off we set.
Gus is only in fifth class, and it is hard work climbing Trestle right from the base at Mountain Creek with a pack on, but that is the route we decided on, it being the most beautiful – and, as all of us enjoy a good workout and lovely scenery, that is the route we chose.

Richea dracophylla Trestle Mountain. I was surprised to see them this late.

After 35 minutes, we gave Gussy’s shoulders a break, and after 46 we crossed the first creek. I decided that, even though we’d just had a break, we should have a drink, so we took the packs off again and had some fresh running water. If my memory serves me correctly we didn’t have another shoulder break until the 2 hour mark, when we found a spot incredibly suitable for camping. It was definitely time for food and a drink, as well as a shoulder rest, but while the other two rested properly, I went off to search this spot for camping possibilities. It was ideal in one sense – it was flat, with running water and smooth ground for both tents – but we weren’t on the mountain and we didn’t have a view. I was not completely happy.

On the high part

I suggested they stay there while I go up further. I was sure we were about to top out any minute, so I’d see if I could find a spot up higher that suited. Off I set. It was further than I thought (12 minutes more), and then I had to explore all around the place. No spot yelled out that it was perfect, and all spots lacked the essence of beauty, but I could feel the fresh air of being on a mountain, and although it was all closed in weather-wise so there was no view, it still had that feeling of space around it that height generates. It looked like the tripod would stay in the pack yet again. Sigh.

Happy boy in a tent

I started back down to report on what I’d seen, and there they were. They are like me, and would much prefer to walk and explore than sit and wait. Seeing’s we are talking about my daughter and her son, that is hardly something to be marvelled at. Genetics will out. I showed them my spots. Kirsten used her power of veto, so we explored some more. She examined a patch of pineapple grass, but Gussy and I saw a kind of clearing, headed for it, and discovered what we felt was the perfect camping spot.

Nearly on the summit

There had been snow up ahead on Collins Bonnet, but there was no snow here, which was a bit disappointing, but everything else was perfect. We pitched our tents, collected water, cooked and ate dinner, and then played Hannabi, a favourite card game, before it was time for bed.

Happy family beside Trestle summit

The next morning was very misty and raining a bit, so we didn’t hurry at all, but were on the summit well before 9 o’clock, so Gussy was happy that some of his friends might still be in bed, but he’d already climbed a mountain. It was foggy and cold as we did the last bit from the tent to the top, but it cleared while we were playing around on the rocks, so we did get a view.
The sun was now shining, but we were still cold back at the tents, so decided to have hot soup before descending. Kirsten’s pack was very heavy indeed, and mine was not light, so divesting ourselves of that tiny bit of extra weight was also welcome. Meanwhile, we had managed to eat a whole box of chocolates that I had brought up, so that helped my cause.

He may do great things, but he is still a little boy

When I asked Gus during lunch (had at his choice of cafe back in Hobart) what were his three favourite aspects of the walk, he said, in order: camping, being on the summit, and singing all the way down.
For some reason I had asked Kirsten what was the carol that the Christmas Eve service always started with, and instead of telling me, she sang. Gus and I stopped in our tracks to listen to her pure angelic voice giving us the boy soprano rendition of Once in Royal. Tears came to my eyes, and I could see Gussy was also affected by the beauty of what he was hearing. Kirsten prefers alto, but she sure did the soprano part justice here. We then sang canons and rounds the rest of the way down, in a pretty high key for Gussy, as he has a gorgeous little soprano voice too.

Gathering around my tent for soup to warm up.

I think his favourite two were (1) “Black socks. They never get dirty / The more that you wear them the better they get.
Sometimes I think I should wash them / But something inside me/ Says No No not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet”.
(2) One bobble bop etc for those who know it. Both have primary school humour.
Before we’d blinked we were back at the car and nobody had asked for a break. Singing while you walk does that. Bruce and I always used to sing on bushwalks, and it took me back to many, many happy bushwalks of yesteryear.

Last creek crossing

Back when I was pretty fresh out of uni, I started a bushwalking club for inner-city, concrete-jungled girls (Sydney). We used to sing around the campfire, and we would make up songs about the hike to tunes that we knew ,and sing as we went along. “It’s a long long way to Blue Gum forest” remains my favourite.

Rufus revisited

My bush buddy Andrew wanted to summit Mt Rufus to add to his Abel collection, and I wanted to sleep up there to test out a new snow tent I’d bought that is free standing. It was a deal.

Popping in to inspect the Gingerbread Hut

Andrew would also give his own snow tent a bit of a workout. It’s good to make sure you’ve got the routine in order at least once a year. The fact that it was actually snowing a bit on that day made it all a bit more realistic as we climbed. There was a slight problem in that the whole mountain was several inches under water. Who feels like camping in the middle of a lake? Hm.

Exciting, expansive vistas … but it was very atmospheric (albeit cold).

I had camped up on Rufus in 2014 ( ) for possibly the equal coldest night of my life, but wanted to do it again to update my photos … hopefully improve on them. Unfortunately, the weather was gloomy, grey, and full of moisture, and the wind howled menacingly.

Andrew nears the summit

It was neither an evening nor a morning to tempt me to any photography, so I need to try again. I am beginning to think that if I lug my tripod up a mountain to photograph the dawn, then that almost guarantees mist and a grey start and end to the time up there.

Summit touch.

So, I can’t offer you glorious or even half-interesting evening or dawn scenes. However, the journey was still fun, and above are a few hints at the whole.
The first time I climbed I used the longer track which goes past Shadow Lake. The last two times, I have used the Gingerbread route.

Navarre River

Back down the bottom the next day, the Navarre River was pumping. Last time I was up there, I visited several waterfalls high up
and we had toyed with seeing them on the way down, but the weather convinced us that we’d rather just make straight for the exit. We were looking forward to coffee and pies from the Hungry Wombat.

Angel Falls Mt Sarah Jane

Angel Falls, near Mt Sarah Jane, are best seen after good rain. I decided last Wednesday was my day. The weather map predicted that Tuesday would be cloudy with maybe a little rain, Wednesday perfect, and Thursday and Friday back to rain.

Getting near the top the clouds started getting quite dark

Living in the north, there is no way I can drive down on the day I want to see the waterfall. And, if I am driving down the day before, then, it makes sense to lug my tent up the mountain and sleep there, all ready in position for the morning’s splendour, and enjoy sunset and sunrise from on high. Maybe I can even get in some astro photography too. That would be great.
Tuesday was, as predicted, cloudy, but it wasn’t raining. I drove my dog to Hobart, gave her a walk, had lunch and then continued on to the South West. I was carrying a tripod and three days’ worth of food and gear, just in case it was so lovely that I wanted two sunsets up there. This made my pack rather heavy, so I was thrilled to only take 3 hrs 15 to be breasting the top of the climb.

Dark clouds brought out the colours

Bam. The wind punched me in the face. Hey; this wasn’t predicted! The clouds got darker. The wind was gale force up there so I dumped my pack and spent an hour searching for the perfect spot, which had shelter from the blast and a view. It didn’t exist. In fact, I couldn’t find anything particularly tolerable, so chose a spot that had access to water and a tiny bit of shelter by being in a bit of a hollow. Anyway, as there was no view to be had, that didn’t matter any more. So much for the sunset and astro photography.

Mt Sarah Jane from “behind”

I tried to pitch the tent, but the wind kept ripping out the parts I had attempted to secure. I finally got it up, tightened the guys and crawled in to get out of the battering. It was such a relief. I wondered if I was going to get a match lit to cook with, but in between gusts I grabbed my chance. Whew. I was hungry.

A pretty tarn along the way

That night I did not get much sleep. The gusts were loud and destructive. They ripped a peg out so my tent started flapping badly. I went out to re-place it, and added my snow pegs that I’d also brought up for extra stability and anchorage. I started making plans for what I would do should the tent blow down. I know I am not capable of repairing a tent in a gale without help. Plan B was to abandon the collapsed, bucking tent and begin back down the mountain by torchlight, leaving everything else behind. I also know from experience that you can’t find anything if the wind collapses your tent, as each gust just throws everything around. So, I donned what I would need to wear if escaping down the mountain. I even wore my torch to bed so I could find it with no searching.

I love her pointy backside

The gusts became less damaging at about 2 a.m., and I was able to get in a few hours sleep before waking at first light, which had very little light to offer. I could not even see my mountain, the mist was so thick and the clouds so grey. Where was this perfect sunshine I had been offered? The wind was still uninvitingly strong. Time to doze some more. At 7 a.m., I decided I might as well eat breakfast, but I was not going out in that. It started raining. I ate. By 8 a.m, I decided I might as well get out and do what I had come to do. The day was not in any hurry to be nice to me.

More love

So, off I set into the wind and clouds. Some photo this would be. It was hard to even hold the camera steady. Lucky I had my tripod. The light did make the colours very beautiful, and I got used to the wind. Although this is my third time up there, this is the first time I have had the liberty to properly gaze at Sarah Jane. She is actually very beautiful. When I climbed her in 2015, I neither saw her nor the view. When I passed by in 2016, my focus was on our goal of Lots Wife. This time I gave her the attention she deserves.

Angel Falls where I popped out, nice and close, but I was too scared to look over the edge in case the wind gusted. I sat down to take this photo, keeping myself very low.

I had all day and was in no hurry. I just ambled along, enjoying myself now I was getting used to the wind and the gusts were not so bad. Navigation to my goal was not challenging. I popped out of the scrub just above the spout. The spot does not give a brilliant view of the whole waterfall, however, and I could see where I needed to be to get the angle I wanted. It was maybe 80 metres away.
I took over half an hour to reach this spot, as the slope is severe and the penalty for slipping over the edge, infinite. The bush was excessively thick. I couldn’t even see where the edge was and was not in a mood for experimenting. I have seen people fall many metres by taking an extra step that they thought was onto ground but it was just greenery that looked like ground and gave way beneath them. I would fall a great deal more than “many metres”.

The whole falls seen by climbing a tree.

So, what did I do? How did I get a view, especially considering my big height disadvantage? I climbed a tree, of course. The photos you see are taken by me up a tree, hanging on by one hand and attempting to hold the camera still in the continuing gale with the other.  I was many metres above the ground, so my tripod was to no avail.
Back at the tent, I had an early lunch, still waiting for the day to improve. I packed up, still waiting. There was no point in staying an extra night, and, besides, the wind meant the next night might be just as sleepless as the previous, so down I went, back to the car, real food, my dog and my Hobart family. Gussy and I had a lovely night reading together and doing wordle and square word. It was so soothing to have warmth, shelter and loving company. I seemed to eat rather a lot of ice cream.
Please note: The bucking tent I have experienced is not my Hilleberg. It was an Exped Extrem. I ordered my Hilleberg the next day, but the memory of that bucking tent will never leave me.

De Cane Range 2022

I love the Du Cane Range, and seek any excuse at all to go there. I have been planning a night’s sleep at its high point for a very long time, so when I saw its name on an HWC list, I was excited. It wasn’t the trip I have been mentally planning for myself, but it can wait until summer, and meanwhile, it would be fun to just be there again and climb a few mountains. As it turned out, I ended up going there with only two others, and the snow was so deep we didn’t complete our original plan of three mountains, but we sure did get to see some beauty.

Valley scenes by a sodden track

I broke two ribs a couple of weeks ago, and this was my first pack carry since then, so I decided to catch the ferry to Narcissus, and meet the others, who were walking in, at Pine Valley Hut. That would give me plenty of time to see how the ribs were coping with the heavy pack, and the afternoon to do some packless exploring after I’d arrived. The ribs were fine, and in the afternoon I took some shots of the flooded valley and then went up onto the Acropolis plateau where the wind howled and light rain fell. Valley and heights were ankle to calf deep with water from the recent rain. It was going to be an “interesting” trip.

Du Cane Range near Lake Elysia, climbing
Du Cane Range Lower Falls

Three of us set out next morning for the heights, and I was excited to see the first snow before we’d topped out at the Parthenon saddle. Flippers would have been better than boots for getting around Lakes Cyane and Ophion, and, despite the forecast for just cloud today, light rain continued to fall, as it had done the day before. Lake Elysia looked magical in the watery mist, alternatively (and tantalisingly) hiding and revealing Geryon and The Acropolis. We stopped there for a snack and some photos before moving on.

Du Cane Range .. getting higher
Du Cane Range snowy scenes. Gould peeps out behind.

At some point in there, the force of the wind coming in from the west hit us, and I started to wonder about the sense of camping up high in the snow in this wind (our plan). Luckily Paul was thinking the same thing, and Phil agreed. Our new plan would be to camp at the Pool of Memories down lower and in a sheltered spot, and then try for our goal of Hyperion with only daypacks, returning to the gentle harbour before nightfall. We were already thinking that Eros would probably be omitted.

Geryon looking ravishing today. Paul and Phil
Hyperion from the shelf. Ossa behind.

Thus, when we reached the Pool, we dumped the heavy packs, pitched our tents in readiness for our later return, had an early lunch and then began climbing through the snow. This part of the day was absolutely magic. I took heaps of photos: the tale is one of beauty and vistas.

Paul climbing towards Hyoerion, Du Cane Ra
Climbing Walled Mountain

For me as photographer, plenty of action was required, as I had to run to catch up after each shot – kind of interval training – which is fun, but I did note the truth of the words that a photographer of this type needs to be a fit person. I enjoy the challenge: I mostly shot from behind and caught up; every now and then I went up ahead to get a front-on shot.

Walled Mountain near the summit

The third day was Walled Mountain day. This would be my ninth summitting of Walled, done this time in boring daylight hours, so I was tempted to skip it and just move on. However, I decided the exercise would be good for my fitness, so stayed with the other two. I am so glad I did!! It was absolutely wonderful up there, and nothing like the boring dull-light summiting I was anticipating. Descending, glissading through the snow, was a blast.

Walled summit to Du Cane HP, Geryon, Acropolis
Walled to Ossa, Hyperion et al

On we went and then down to Pine Valley for a late lunch, and finally on to Narcissus for dinner and to sleep the night. I pitched my tent by the river, and listened to its soft flow as I fell asleep. Already by this stage, my feet, having been pretty soaked for all of every day, were starting to blister up. Day four would be agony.

Leeawuleena dawn; last morning

It was. I slowly trudged the distance, taking nearly as long as the advertised time I was so slow, but that pace gave me plenty of time to appreciate the extreme beauty of the forest, clothed in thick layers of moss, with a sparkling blue leeawuleena (Lake St Clair) beside me. I am writing this two days later, and my feet are still red, raw and swollen, although the blisters are starting to form a crust. I hope I can try running today. Putting shoes on my newly huge feet is a bit of a struggle.