Larapinta Trail Day 2 – Redbank Gorge to Finke River (Section 11)

Another hot day, 32C, though in the summer 45C is common, and somehow people still walk the trail then! Mainly at night I think. Today was a more typical day as I had to carry my full pack, weighing about 21kg plus 3 litres of water (a further 3kg). For the first time hiking I started to develop blisters, probably due to the heat swelling my feet. Felt like it could be a long fortnight on the track…

Getting going by 8am gave an hour walking before the sun came over the hills and the temperature started to rise rapidly. The first 12km took less than two and a half hours, being basically flat with few scenic sights to photograph.

Sheltering from the sun behind the water tank at Rocky Bar Gap made a good spot for lunch, joined by a few birds. I noticed that this water tank for some reason is under surveillance 24/7 by this solar powered camera.

The next 14km took nearly twice as long thanks to a rather large hill to go up and over, midday temperatures, exhaustion and increasing pack pains. Leaving Rocky Bar Gap the track runs along a dry river bed, only there are no signs. I just followed the trail of footprints coming the other way, though they weren’t all made by man. The paw and tail marks below are clearly a kangaroo or wallaby, unsure on the others.

Reaching the end of the river bed the track started to ascend with wonderful views (unfortunately behind me) of Mt Sonder, which I’d walked up the day before.

With the pack and heat walking up this hill was much harder than walking up Mt Sonder. It was a good excuse for a rest though, and came across this rather unusual rock.

On the way down the other side there were more panoramic views, this place is far greener than you’d expect the centre of Australia to be. Nature has had a long time to evolve and adapt to this harsh climate.

Continuing on this oasis of water and green reeds was most unexpected and pleasant.

Past which time for a shadow selfie, and this unusual split tree.

Finally reached Finke River camp, home for the night. I was expecting a campsite but it had this rather nifty shelter, which saved on having to set up my tent. It had a table and benches to sit on, far more comfortable than the usual rocks.

Best of all it offered a good place to watch this quite spectacular sunset unfold over the course of half an hour.

After which I ate and as it got dark wondered if anyone (or anything) might join me for the night. I’ve stayed in huts and tents in New Zealand alone before but never in an open shelter in a country with dingoes and other decent sized animals around. It was pretty spooky at first but then pretty cool, and I was treated with the most spectacular (if impossible to photograph with my camera) star filled sky night sky.

Author: jontycrane

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