Larapinta Trail Day 6 – Serpentine Gorge to Ellery Creek (Section 7)

The shortest day of walking so far, had been tempted to combine with yesterday’s section 8 but was keen on spending some time at Ellery Creek. With views like this I’m glad I did…

Was the coldest night so far, returning to more seasonal temperatures just above freezing. Sleeping on an open shelter at Serpentine Gorge I couldn’t face putting on more layers as it got progressively colder over the course of the night. Instead I tightened my sleeping bag until strangulation was a risk, and resorted to putting my jacket over my face, which helped. Waking cold and knowing you will get colder before warming up again is always the worst part of the walking day. I forget about it during the enjoyment of the day, but have second thoughts why I’m doing this most mornings.

At least this meant daytime temperatures in the low twenties, which was far more agreeable for walking with a pack, almost a little chilly with the wind. This wasn’t the most scenic section of the track, but had some reasonable views of the ranges from along a rocky ridge.

The sun brightening these flowers caught my eye, as did these unusual rock formations.

Couple of wildlife spots along the way. This flock of galah were startled by me and flew onto the next tree, then the next tree, and the next tree. This continued at least half a dozen times before a guy walking the other way managed to convince them to go elsewhere.

This spider caught my eye as the largest I’d seen on the track so far.

I reached Ellery Creek by late morning and headed down to the scenic waterhole. I’d heard the water was cold but after three days without washing the accumulated dirt and sweat was getting a little much. Encouraged by a tour party there I took the plunge, twice. It was certainly fresh! But felt so good! It’d be another three days before the next washing opportunity.

I suffered at the hands of the crows again, leaving my things unattended for a few minutes, and came back to find that this had happened to my dinner… luckily as I was a day ahead of schedule I had spare food.

Clearly nearly 14km wasn’t enough walking for the day as mid afternoon I did the 3km Dolomite Walk, more rock outcroppings.

Mid afternoon was also the best time of the day to visit the waterhole, as demonstrated by the number of tour groups that turned up. Thankfully I could stay after they left to enjoy these quite stunning reflections and colour contrasts.

The day ended well as I was invited to share a refreshingly warm campfire by an unusual and interesting group. A mixture of British and Australian, they all live or work in a small village in Wales, and coincidence brought them to Australia at the same time. The two guys were walking the Larapinta, mostly with day packs, and the others provided support along the way and joined for some sections.

Author: jontycrane

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