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by Sandra Kelley
LEADER: Geoff Vercoe
GROUP: Brett Davis, Julie Davison, Sandra Kelley, Ray Spratt
The Walls of Jerusalem
Day 1 (15 kms) - We had a two hour drive from Devonport to the start of the Walls of Jerusalem walk. The journey started with a 450 metre ascent with 4 days of food and gear on our backs and a morning tea stop at Trappers Hut. We passed such features as Solomon's Jewels (a series of tarns), Herod's Gate, Lake Salome, King David's Peak, the West Wall, The Pool of Bethesda and Damascus Gate. We tried to climb Solomon's Throne (previously known as Halls Buttress) but a large snow drift stopped our progress just short of the top. We continued on to Dixon's Kingdom Hut passing through the largest stand of pencil pines in Tasmania. In the afternoon we climbed Mt. Jerusalem with 360 degrees of stunning views.
Day 2 (18 kms) - We awoke to a very cool morning and a light dusting of snow on our tents, which continued for an hour. The Walls of Jerusalem and Central Plateau is known as the Lake Country and contains over 4000 lakes, so today found us walking beside 4 of them - Lakes Ball (perhaps one of Lauri's relations?), Adelaide, Meston, and Junction, before staying the night at Junction Hut.
Day 3 (12 kms) - The boys had ice on their tents in the morning while Julie and I were snug in the hut. Today we passed through "The Never-Never" following the meandering Mersey River. This area is damp and boggy (it would have been a nightmare if we had had heavy rain) and requires good navigational skills. Also visited three waterfalls - McCoy, Clarke and Hartnett, before joining the Overland Track and onto Windy Ridge. We encountered people today!
Day 4 (10kms) - Continued south on the Overland Track to Narcissus Hut passing through scrubby country and previous grazing land called "The Bowling Green". We had impressive views of snow covered mountains such as the Acropolis and Mt Geryon. Brett stayed at Narcissus while the rest of us took a bumpy boat trip down Lake St. Clair. It is the deepest lake in the Southern Hemisphere at 750 metres and was formed by glacial action. At Cynthia Bay we enjoyed a warm shower, clean clothes, fresh food supplies, a meal and drinks at a restaurant and clean dry bunk style accommodation.
The Overland Track
I will give just a brief description of this walk as the club's library has several books with more detailed descriptions. Features of this 92 kilometre, seven day hike were - Pine Valley with moss covered trees and rocks (I call it the Enchanted Forest), the Labyrinth with its colourful lichen covered rocks, pretty coloured snow gums and maze of water ways; the spectacular Acropolis with large snow drifts (Brett, Geoff, Julie and Ray climbed this); stunning water falls such as Cephissus, Cathedral, D'alton and Fergusson; Mt. Ossa, the highest mountain in Tasmania (Brett, Julie and Ray climbed this); Mt Pelion East (Geoff and I climbed this); New Pelion Hut which can hold up to 60 people; the Pine Valley Moors with its famous Button grass; Barn Bluff, on the second attempt we climbed it in a shroud of clouds and finally Cradle Mt. which we climbed in mist but were rewarded when we reached the top when it cleared to reveal grand views of the surrounding areas and Dove Lake.
Highlights: crystal clear streams and waterfalls, rugged snow capped dolomite peaks, enchanted forests, Pandani plants, well managed and maintained facilities and camping platforms.
Lowlights: little black flying bugs, blisters, smelly toilets and socks.
Wildlife: 4 Bennetts Wallabys, 3 Pademelon Wallabys, 2 leeches, 1 Eastern spotted Quoll and Brett naked on East Pelion.
Travellers Tales: Brett's erotic dreams of topless tennis players (said he was only interested in who was winning - sure!). Julie's flame-throwing cooker that sent everyone scurrying for cover. Ray as travel advisor to a Swedish hiker, while dressed only in a hat and his undies. Do first impressions count??? Sandra was very pleased with a hot shower than never stopped - lucky she didn't read the 'Out of Order' sign on the door beforehand. Geoff receives the Snorers Award as well as the Climate Controllers award (we hardly had any rain).
A big THANKS to Des and Carol Bakes, our generous hosts at the beginning and end of our hike and to Geoff for his meticulous and efficient organization of the trip.
(Ettremist - February 2004)