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.
June 2018
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Walls of Jerusalem – Day 3C – To Lake Adelaide

With mountain climbing now crossed off the list, it was time to have lunch and move camp … once the grasshopper had been encouraged to hop off the tent.

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There is no formal track down Jaffa Vale; it’s just a case of going downhill until you hit the open sedgeland around Lake Ball, and then making your way west until you hit the track at the lake’s edge. bIMG_3044

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The vegetation changes, too, becoming more forested and with myrtles, waratahs, and the famous deciduous fagus featuring along the rough track.

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Bird-life had been abundant on our trip, and a pair of yellow-tailed black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus funereus) flew overhead as we had a break at the Lake Ball Hut.

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The Lake Ball Hut is another rustic vernacular hut, built by a trapper and fisherman who spent much of his time in the wilds of the high country to escape his terrible experiences in the second world war.

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At the western end of Lake Ball there is a huge boulder/small island in the middle of the lake which is quite distinctive, and then the shoreline becomes more open. There is a shallow boggy valley coming down to the lake at this end, which has a creek that brings in water making a nice little peninsular of the pineapple grass.

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The path up this valley and over a saddle were easy enough, but the final drop down the other side to Lake Adelaide was steep and passed through the dry hot sclerophyll forest and we were very glad we were going down and not up. Lake Adelaide itself was a welcome sight, and the fact that the top 50cm or so of water was quite warm meant that I headed in for a swim, followed eventually by the others. It felt good.

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Lake Adelaide is quite pretty, though without quite the grand or refined beauty of some of the higher lakes.

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The Gleichenia ferns are quite compact and compressed, and create an extensive carpet on top of the boggy sphagnum moss.

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There are also some stands of pencil pine set back from the shore, which had an atmospheric, spooky kind of Mirkwood-ish feel to them, and the view out through the trunks was pretty.

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When we first arrived we weren’t quite sure where the intended camping spot was, but we eventually found a nice firm bit of ground not far from the lake’s edge, and I had my best dehydrated meal of the trip (Moroccan lamb). David and Ethan suffered their second meal of pathetic packaged fried rice, although made up for that by having pancakes afterwards.

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After dinner, as the sun went down, we were treated to a flock of swifts (like swallows, but without forked tails), wheeling about overhead in search of the rather abundant insect life. There must have been 20 or so birds, and I snapped a rather large number of mostly unsuccessful photographs trying to capture the essence of the phenomenon, but they were amazing to watch, and truly beautiful as the sunlight set their wings aglow.

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The lowering sun also cast a warm glow over the stands of pencil pines.

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Unfortunately the swifts had little effect on the insect population. At dusk — as we played what had become our regular evening game of Yahtzee using my map as a table — the mosquitoes came out in force. Despite our own best efforts to cause some untimely demises, evident in the carcasses scattered at various coordinates on the map, I still ended up with quite a few bites.

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(Photos containing Helen were taken by David.)

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