This was another special walk, but for different reasons. Well, some of the same reasons, but some others two. It was 3 weeks since I’d been on a walk, unusual yes, seeing I’d been out every weekend and some week days after work prior to that. And the reason for it was the most important person in my life, whom I wouldn’t be here without: my mother. It was two and a bit weeks since she’d had a very large subarachnoid haematoma, on the one night of the week I’d happened to be visiting her. It’s been 4.5 months now, and I’ve always wondered if I did the right thing calling for help, but the truth of the matter was I didn’t really have time to think about or know what was happening. Now, as mum’s nearly ready to come home, despite everything she’s been through since, I think it might have been ok..
Anyway, this trip was special, and necessary. It was long enough after the initial shock for me to know nothing was going to change fast, and it was ok not to be by her side every day. But at the same time I was at the stage I needed to escape, to be alone with my thoughts… I needed somewhere to go where I could stand in the wind (and maybe some sun) and look out across the world, pondering whatever I needed to… our miniscule existence in something much bigger maybe? But I also needed somewhere that wouldn’t require too much planning or thinking about where to go or how to get there. It wasn’t really a choice actually, and I didn’t have to think long or hard.
The Walls had been on my list of places to go ever since an attempt to go snow-shoeing in mid-2012 saw us walk in with no snow, snow-shoes left in cars, only to be snowed on overnight and not have good enough weather to explore the summits of any of the mountains. I also knew it was one of the places in Tasmania that mum wanted to go to most. So I went for her, camera in hand to bring back some memories to share. And I went with her, there wasn’t room for much else in my head or my heart.
I drove up after work on the Sunday, as per usual, and started walking at 2.20. I didn’t take too many stops, except to put on a rain jacket and the occasional comfort stop, mostly because the rain was supposed to start and I would have preferred to set up tent in as little of that as possible. 2.20 hrs and 8.5 km later I arrived at a beautiful little spot just before the Pools of Bethesda, nestled in some pines just off the left of the track, under the watch of King David, and knew that it was where I’d spend my two nights. I didn’t want the company of the school children camped at Wild Dog Creek, and I could see some tents already set up near the Pools of Bethesda so I wanted to keep some distance from them too.
I set up, and 25 minutes later I was out again. I wasn’t quite ready for bed, and realising that the rain was mostly holding off, and worried that that might mean it’d settle in tomorrow, I wanted to sit on the top of something with at least a hint of view. So I headed out to Mount Jerusalem. As I walked it progressively got misty, and the light slowly faded, but it matched my mood and it was nice to walk amongst the walls of rock, standing tall and strong. There were misty views from Jerusalem, and I sat there a little bit, then thought I better head back down. I was back in my tent, now ready for some sleep, another hour later.
The next morning, I awoke, stuck my head out the tent, took one look at the mist, and for perhaps the first time ever, pulled it back in, deciding that I wasn’t going anywhere because I had all day and wanted some views. So it was as late as 8.40 by the time I actually got out, and decided I should pay my respects to the Temple first. My campsite meant I was at the ‘alter’ within half an hour, and seeing that there was no summit cairn I decided that wasn’t going to do. But a cross wasn’t appropriate, so I got a little creative.. I wonder if it’s still there?
15 minutes back to the main track, and another surprisingly short 15 up to Solomon’s Throne! It looks like it’d be a bit of a climb from the track, but it’s not at all! I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was to be the 100th mountain I’d climbed. The summit rock is rather pointy for a seat, and none too comfortable!
So it wasn’t too long before I decided to continue along the rim, taking my choice of a number of pads to get to King David’s peak. After just over half an hour of easy walking, with hints that the sun might actually peak through the clouds, I was on King David’s peak! It’s funny, their mighty names belie the ease with which they can be reached. I sat there, looking at the world, happy in the moment.
Before leaving I took a bit of a look at Howell’s Bluff, which had also been on the list of things to visit, and decided the trip was one for relaxing, not for undeserving, unimpressive and slightly scrubby peaks. Content, I started to wander back.. no rush at all.. just wandering. I detoured via the Pool of Bethesda, took even more photos, and was back at my tent by 12.30.
It was the middle of the day, but I felt like a little lie down… little turned into big, as I woke at 3, looked at the maps of Clumner bluff for a bit, dozed again till 5, and decided I’d better go for a wander, sort out some water and dinner… Then after some more lying down just ‘being’, the tent started to glow orange, so I popped my head outside to find that not only had the cloud disappeared from the west, and there was a nice glow of colour in the sky, but the moon and even a star or two were out!! So some more fun taking photos until my fingers were rather a little cold and it was time for even more sleep!
After a full night’s sleep, don’t ask me how, I woke, packed and walked out. Back at the car by 10.30, with plenty of time to visit mum in the afternoon!
Oh, there was one more stop on the way out.. shortly after leaving the car park I caught a glimpse of this through the trees, and being my mother’s daughter just had to stop the car, run down the embankment, and take a few photos :p.
This place will always be special 🙂
All up: 33.3km, 1863m ascent.