New Year’s Eve was upon me, but what should I do? Mope at home, mourning the gaping hole left in my life by Bruce’s death, or go into the wilderness, where although I may well be alone, I am never lonely? The latter, of course. The wilderness revives and refreshes me, filling me with joy and taking me right out of myself with its infinite beauty. I can be miserably lonely in my home city with its people who aren’t there for me, but I am never lonely in the putatively empty wilderness, with beauty, freedom and space as my companions.
I decided the Walls of Jerusalem would be the right place to be, so phoned the kennel to see if they had any room. Luckily, a cancellation meant the answer was “Yes”, so, despite the fact that Tessie thought this was a shocking idea, and that the two of us should have a mother and doggy night at home, I deposited her mid-afternoon and drove on to the Walls, arriving later than I wanted, but, hey, this is summer and nights are pretty endless, so what did it matter?
The weather forecast, checked to be certain just before I left home, was for mild weather and no rain, so I chose my light three-season tent, and left my bivvy bag, heavy night coat and more at home. Seeing’s I carry my tripod, filters and heavy camera on such a trip, I appreciate the offer of a lightened pack in other respects. Ha ha. The weather had the last laugh.
As I rounded the corner into Herods Gate, I was knocked over by a blast of icy wind that roared all around and turned my hands to frozen blocks. I couldn’t wait to set up camp and shelter from its pummelling. Pity about the three-season tent that lets in way too much air for those conditions. Pity also about the fact that it was raining and that I didn’t have my bivvy bag or warmest coat to pamper myself with.
At sunset, I was too cold to concentrate on good photography. I took all my gear to my chosen position, but just wasn’t in the mood to use it, so just took a few hand-held shots. Luckily, after yet another sleepless night in the wilderness doing bed exercises all night to stay warm, I was up at 4.50 and in the mood for photographing pre-dawn and sunrise, dancing on the spot to raise my metabolism. Later, cappuccino at Deloraine was sure appreciated. … And, because the scoparia was not quite in flower yet, the good or bad news is that I will need to return for another night in the not too distant future.