Day 25: Peakbagging Jerusalem

Wednesday December 14, 17.7km/11.0mi

Trappers Hut (2.3/1060m) to Dixons Kingdom Campsite (20.0/1260m) (TAS)

It must’ve rained a little overnight, as the outside of my tent was wet. After I packed up, I wandered over to the ancient little hut to have a look inside…but there were two people sleeping in there! Gross. It was also full of spiders, dirt, and at least one mouse. Trapper’s hut:

There was a big sign welcoming hikers to the national park, which I had missed last night in the waning daylight.

As I hiked uphill, I warmed up rapidly, and the sun came out and helped too. It was probably only 6C outside.

The trail had climbed 500m/1600ft from the trailhead, and I had finally reached the top of the climb to the plateau. There were little lakes everywhere, I think these lakes were called Solomon’s Jewels.

I could see King David’s Peak getting closer as the morning went on. It’s one if the sidetrip options for this hike.

The peak was getting closer still…and the trail was a pleasure to hike with all the boardwalks.

There wasn’t much vegetation up high at 1200m, so the scenery was visible in every direction.

Looking behind me, to where I was this morning.

This little pass was called Herod’s Gate, which was the entry point to the main valley in Walls of Jerusalem.

There were clouds all day, but it was trying to be nice weather.

There were a ton of these big green hemispheres of green moss, or some type of moisture-loving plant. Apparently they are easily damaged and take forever to regrow, so the boardwalks help keep people from trampling them.

Looking ahead to The Temple (L) and Solomon’s Throne (R), with Damascus Gate in the middle.

Getting closer …

These trees are a special type of pine that seems to like to grow at high elevations, where no other trees will grow.

There was a very short side hike to Solomons Pools, it was a nice little spot with lots of noisy frogs.

It did have a nice reflection of the mountains behind it too.

I hiked the 100m back to the main trail and passed thru even more of these little groves of pines.

From the top of the Damascus Gate pass, I could see the whole valley behind me. I had just hiked thru all of that. King David’s Peak is on the left.

At the pass, there is a 4-way junction to Solomon’s Throne, and The Temple. Normally I would’ve hiked these both as I hiked by, but I wanted to hike Mt Jerusalem first, while the weather was still good. Instead, I descended the other side of the pass, towards Dixon’s Kingdom Hut and Mt Jerusalem.

At one point, the trail took an abrupt right turn, onto what was clearly brand-new trail.

I was able to get an up-close look at those pine trees. Interesting needles!

I passed by a brand-new Dixons Kingdom campsite, complete with tent platforms and toilets. But I kept going to the old Dixons Kingdom Hut, since I wanted shelter from the incessant wind.

The hut was nice insit, and I ate my lunch while relaxing on the big bench seat. As I was finishing lunch, I heard a loud tapping noise on the roof. Sleet! I waited an hour in the dry hut for that wave of storm clouds to pass thru, good timing!

By 2pm, the mixed precipitation had stopped falling, so I ventured out.

The clouds looked like they might keep making hourly appearances, so I hiked quickly towards Mt Jerusalem.

Mt Jerusalem was 2km from the hut, and I covered ground quickly.

About 500m from the summit, the next wave of clouds moved thru, and I had zero visibility for 10 minutes. I hid behind a large boulder, while waiting for the wind and SNOW to stop.

I had gotten pretty cold sitting still for 10 minutes behind that boulder, so it felt good to move again. Sometimes the only way to get warm is to move, or move faster…it worked! The summit had some great views:

Looking to the east:

The very windy and cold summit selfie:

Mt Jerusalem really had a cool perspective on the surrounding area.

Looking back towards King David’s Peak:

I only stayed 5 minutes on the summit, it was windy, and I could see another wave of clouds moving toward me. About halfway back to the hut, I again hid behind a boulder from the passing wave of snow flurries. Crazy! I returned to the hut and had a snack, and put on another warm layer. Continuing on, I headed back to that 4-way junction at Damascus Gate to hike Solomon’s Throne & The Temple. Solomon’s Throne looked forbidding:

I turned onto The Temple first, since it seemed easier. The peak was quite rocky, but the trail builders did a masterful job installing lots of rock stairs.

It was only a 500m hike to the top, and I loved this view to the north, of King David’s Peak.

Much to my surpy, there was a woman from Belgium taking a nap up there! She awoke from my noisy hiking, and took a nice photo of me.

The clouds had started to move in again, so I figured it was time to get one more peak finished while I still could. I sauntered back down to the junction, and kept going up the other side towards Solomon’s Throne.

The cliff seemed impossibly steep, but the trail kept zigzagging towards it.

At one spot, it wrapped around the edge of a talus field.

And the coolest surprise came at the end, when the trail went straight up a rocky gap in the cliff!

From the top, I was enthralled by the view to the west. I could see all the peaks along the Overland Track, where I had been two weeks before. Cradle Mountain, Barn Bluff, Mt Ossa, and more.

Some hikers continue another 2km along the ridge to King David’s Peak, which would add another 2 hours to my day.

It was tempting, but I noticed it was already 6pm and another wave of clouds was approaching in the distance (they seemed to be about an hour apart). I happily hiked back the way I came, and then turned off at the junction to the campsite.

These little guys were all over the campsite. I’m not sure if they’re Wallabies or Pademelons.

I setup my tent on one of the nice new platforms, and because it was so windy, I boiled my dinner behind the bathrooms, haha! As I crawled into my sleeping bag, I noticed on my little thermometer that it had already dropped to 5C…it will surely get to 0C tonight. So I pulled my water filter off its bottle, and put it inside the sleeping bag with me so it doesn’t freeze. It’s supposed to be summer here!

3 Comments

  1. Recon! These are some of your very best photos. Thanks. About the ‘pines’ . . . was going to ask if 3 needle, like our white pines that only grow up high. Your close up looks more like this is a type of fir? Keep on a trudgin’!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The cones looked suspicious, too! Pencil Pines Thanks for your follow up, Recon. I’m 86 now and can still see! Love you sharing your many hikes. Your taste in food is similar to mine so get a kick out of your food photos. I did the same while traveling skiing in Suisse, Aut, an Italia! Hope you stay away from any illness. Flu like symptoms you had concerned me. Adios Margaret

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