Larapinta Trail Day 10 – Standley Chasm to Mulga Camp (Sections 3 and 2)

Headed into the home stretch on the Larapinta Trail, back in Alice Springs in a few days. Today was the last of the big days and big hills, hard work but rewarding with views like this.

Standley Chasm was uncharacteristically warm when I went to bed, but soon cooled down overnight. Almost missed the early hot days of the walk as quite cold at points today, mainly due to wind chill. Heading up endless steps to Angkale Junction helped get the circulation going first thing, with the morning sun helping the views.

Which didn’t last long as it was up and over a hill, and back down to a gorge. I’d heard stories of this, including a 5m drop to be navigated. Turned out to be much easier than feared, not a patch on the difficulty of Spencer Gorge in section 5.

From Millers Flat to Tangentyere Junction there are two options. Either a flat fast slog along a dry river bed, or up and down a rather sizeable hill / ridge line. Obviously I went for the later, which I did question part way given the steepness of the little maintained track up the hill, but was very glad I did when these views appeared, the equal of anything I’ve seen on the track.

I tried but disappointingly couldn’t see Alice Springs, despite it being only 50km away.

Two ascents and descents in one morning made me hungry but before I could reach Jay Creek to rest there was another smaller hill and a slog along a sandy river bed to contend with. The last few km before reaching rest is increasingly an exercise in enduring pain with pack sores on my hips and shoulders, and blisters. Makes the rest stops more rewarding though…

To give me more time in Alice Springs on the final day I pushed on another near 11km after Jay Creek to the basic campsite at Mulga Camp. No doubt a taster of what is left to come on the home stretch back to town it was relatively fast, with very little to see other than this puddle turned mirror, and the last sunlight of the day bathing the landscape with a yellow glow.

I finished the day eating dinner while watching the stars appear one by one out of the increasing darkness. These photos don’t really capture it but might give an idea.

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