Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
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Walls of Jerusalem – Day 2A – Herod’s Gate to Dixon’s Kingdom

It was a relief to make it through the night without an attack of cramp, and a joy to wake to sunlight and morning mist clearing from the peaks.

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We had breakfast, dried the tent (a lot of internal condensation, unfortunately), packed up, shouldered packs, and headed up to Herod’s Gate. I took quite a few photos of scoparia flowers on this trip, which ranged in colour from white, through pinks, orange, brown, and almost red … but I’ll try to remember not to include any more apart from this one.

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Once up in the Vale of Bethesda the easterly sun lit up the vast west wall, with Solomon’s Throne at the far end by Damascus Gate (the saddle on the left of the photo below). The boards made walking easy and the climb was gentle as we made our way up the valley.bIMG_2699

Just before reaching Damascus Gate there is a little detour into the delightful Pool of Bethesda, a small tarn skirted by pineapple grass and pencil pines, and overlooked by The Temple to its south-east (or left in the photos below) and the dramatic Solomon’s Throne to the south-west (or right).

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The pencil pines (Athrotaxis cupressoides) are endemic to Tasmania, and are a feature of the slightly sheltered open alpine areas of the central plateau, where they grow slowly in the challenging environment (except it doesn’t look very challenging right at this moment!).  With little wind there were some lovely reflections in the shallow waters of the pool.

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On the edges of the tarn there were many little sundew plants (Drosera arcturi), catching the sunlight on the sticky dew drops that are used to catch insects.

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On reaching the saddle at Damascus Gate we could look back at the Vale of Bethesda, with King David’s Peak at the northern end, while very aware of the looming Solomon’s Throne rising up from the saddle.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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It was then a relatively short stroll down to Jaffa Vale and the camping area around Dixon’s Kingdom Hut (I’ll show some photos of this in another entry). Here we offloaded our gear, had lunch and set up our tents, and were treated to the very amusing sight of a swallow at play. He/she had a soft downy feather that it carried in its beak as it flew, and then it would drop it on purpose, and swoop to catch it again. It was great fun to watch … but just a little hard to photograph.

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Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Dixon wasn’t Biblical or Middle Eastern … at least, as far as I know! He was a high country cattleman in the days before the area became a national park.

1 comment to Walls of Jerusalem – Day 2A – Herod’s Gate to Dixon’s Kingdom

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