April 13, 2006

Day walk into The Walls of Jerusalem and to Mt Jerusalem

Marian Harradine 
We had camped up in the Walls of Jerusalem for a memorable couple of days a few years ago, but had not climbed Mt Jerusalem for some reason. It was a good excuse to come back to try and do so now as a day walk.
We left the car park, past Lake Rowallan where we had camped overnight, at 9.30 and after signing the log book, soon started climbing, getting steeper as we got closer to Trappers Hut, which is about 2km from the start. We reached the Hut at 10.20 and continued on climbing but not so steeply for another 500 meters to the track junction where the right fork goes to Lake Adelaide and the left fork goes into the Walls. It was 10.30.
We continued on and enjoyed the views to the west of us with snatches of mountains appearing and disappearing in the low cloud. After another 20 minutes the track levelled out. We passed some nice tarns with good reflections.
Every now and then the temperature would drop suddenly and then it would drizzle a bit. This would not last for long so we continued on.
We reached the long boardwalk across to Wild Dog Creek campsites at 11.35 and to the campsites at 11.40. There were two lots of four timber platforms for camping and further up the track, another 3 more as well as a very clean toilet. There was a tap with fresh water at each lot of platforms. These have all been recently constructed and more timber was there for maybe some more platforms. Camping within the Walls is not encouraged and these sites are only 15 minutes from Herod's Gate, with King David's Peak towering just above.
We continued up a short climb into Herod's Gate, getting there at midday, 3 hours and 6k from the start . From here there are a lot of board walks interspersed with short rocky sections of track, easy walking and lovely, even in the cloudy weather, with King David's Peak and Solomon's Throne making the Western Wall and Mt Ophel, Zion Hill and The Temple to the east of us. Mt Jerusalem was also showing between Zion Hill and The Temple at one stage. We were hoping to climb Mt Jerusalem if we had time. Otherwise we were just going to climb up Solomon's Throne.
We reached the first lot of pencil pines close to the track not far from the track fork to the Pool of Bethsaida at 12.17 and decided to have lunch there in a sheltered spot.
We resumed the walk at 12.40, having decided, while having lunch, to try for Mt Jerusalem. We were not sure if there was a track to that. We climbed up to Damascus Gate, near The Temple and continued on to Dixons' Kingdom, very picturesque there too, with a large stand of pencil pines and the track very well laid in stone paving some of the way. We arrived at Dixons' Hut at 1.07.
Then we were happily surprised to see that the track was going to continue to be of good standard up to Mt Jerusalem. It was a lovely walk, through Jaffa Gate with more tarns on the way and then it was climbing steadily to the top of the ridge in a northeasterly direction and then continuing the climb to the cairn at the top.
We reached the top at 1.50, about 40 minutes from Dixon's Hut. The views were quite good to the south considering the day; we could see Mt Anne and the Wellington Range, so it would be really good on a clear day. The western mountains were not so clearly visible.
We only stayed there for 8 minutes and descended back down to Jaffa Gate. Dixon's Hut was reached at 2.32, and Damascus Gate 18 minutes later. A very good track goes up to the Temple from there, and also up to Solomon's Throne, following a very well designed and constructed track made with rocks, cutting up a narrow gap in the cliffs to the top. The views there are excellent too on a clear day.
We continued on out of the Walls and started descending at 4.30, reaching the Trappers Hut at 4.45 and the car park at 5.30. A very satisfying and enjoyable day.

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