Crossed the half way mark of the Larapinta Trail with the longest day distance wise, nearly 32km, and second longest time wise, about seven and a half hours walking. It was hard work, with the track far more up and down than the gentle profile gradient suggested, and the pack sores on my shoulders and hips took me close to breaking point.
It started well enough with a lie in till 7am to wait for a little warmth before getting up. The temperatures are now fine for walking in the day, but literally close to freezing overnight. My tent was wet inside with condensation from my breath and I finally wore all my layers, including ski socks and woolly hat while tucked up in my 700 tog sleeping bag that should be comfortable to -4C, but didn’t feel it.
Once the sun hit me it was fine though, and I made the saddle in an hour. The views ahead were of what I’d spend the rest of the day crossing to reach the range in the distance.
Both sets of ranges were in view for much of the day, making for a pleasant if not spectacular (compared to previous days) walk up and down seemingly endless small hills.
I had lunch at Rocky Gully, which like Rocky Bar Gap, was fine for sheltering from the sun in the shade of the water tank while eating, but not somewhere particularly appealing to spend the night. Many people do though, to understandably break up what is a recommended two day section. The moderate to difficult, rather than difficult, rating encouraged me to tackle it in one.
The afternoon sun provided some welcome contrast to the ranges, while it was comforting to come across the signs for Ghost Gum Flat and Hugh View, visible progress toward finishing at Hugh Gorge.
Which I did before dusk to my great relief. Walking the track by torch light is doable given the signage, but not advised given the general rockiness of the track.
Hugh Gorge has one of the standard track shelters which I’m a bit of a fan of. It was too cold to sleep out on it in just my sleeping bag though so I adopted the best of both worlds and erected my tent on the shelter platform. There was only one other person at the campsite who had already pitched her tent away from the shelter so I had it to myself for the evening.