Tucked away in Tasmania’s Central Highlands is a jewel. Compact, photogenically outstanding and an easy place to travel, it is The the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. I have visited The Walls many times over the years, and in all seasons.
I saw my coldest Tasmanian temperature here one chilly Winter’s night, -13ºC. But the next day was sensational; Deep, firm snow, a crystal clear atmosphere and scenery that filled the soul with joy.
I decided it was time to pay another visit. Packing all of the necessary items into my Mont Backcountry pack (plus a few luxuries) I left home early one morning for the 4 hour drive to the Walls carpark.
The carpark is deep within the Mersey Valley, at the end of a rough, dusty road. Isolated, you would say. I turned into the carpark, and was greeted with 24, yes 24 cars! This island and its superb bushwalking is becoming more popular.
Anyway, hoist the pack on and up the hill. The ground alongside the track was dry, bone dry. Creeks that never fail, dry. Tassie is in the midst of a desperately dry period, clear testament to the awful effects of climate change.
A couple of hours later, I was in the Walls, a superb amphitheatre of mountains with a scattering of alpine tarns within. Bright green cushion plants sat in between the Scoparia. Alpine grasses made walking easy and I made good time across to the far side. Finding a quiet spot for my tent, I set up camp. I had brought my Mont Epoch tent with me, a mountain tent as tough as they come, and a genuine pleasure to use. I value it very highly.
Time for a wander through this alpine wonderland. Up over Damascus Gate, a quick scamper up onto The Temple for a superb view, then a slow walk down through the ancient Pencil Pine forest in the general direction of Dixon’s Kingdom Hut. Some of the pines here are over 1,000 years old, craggy and ancient, beautiful and haunting and they watched silently as I walked amongst them. Like walking through a living cathedral.
A quick yarn to some walkers camped at the Hut then it was time to return to my tent for a meal and a deep sleep.
Up at 4am the next morning to allow time to walk across to the Pool of Siloam for sunrise. The silence was absolute, the stillness complete as I arrived at the Pool. I waited for the light to grow, the sun’s rays slowly fingering down the mountainsides as the day was born.
Images appeared before me, to be captured through the lens. A good start to the day. The rest of the day was spent almost aimlessly wandering around, searching for images that please.
Late afternoon and back at the tent, a meal, then sleep. A simple existence in the wild.
The third day was the last. Time to go back to civilisation but recharged and refreshed.
I packed up, and tramped off in the direction of the carpark. Another good trip.
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Choosing a new tent is one of those moments that calls for serious research. It's a big decision, and a potentially risky one, if you get it wrong you may have to live with the consequences for a long time. I live in Tasmania and love exploring wilderness Alpine regions, especially winter camping.
So, my non-negotiables in a tent are it being waterproof, that's #1, then weight and space. Ok, looks play a part, but they are a bonus :)