The finale to a near 260km twelve day adventure walking the West MacDonnell Range on the Larapinta Trail. Finally arrived back into Alice Springs after what seemed a much longer trip, ready for a shower, fresh clothes, and not walking between four and nine hours a day with a pack a third of my body weight.
Everyday on the Larapinta was hard, and despite the terrain being easier (if not exactly flat) on sections 1 and 2, it was still a challenge thanks to pack sores on my hips and shoulders, and blisters on my feet. Thankfully these sections were more scenically interesting than I was expecting, despite recent fires, the new growth had started to come through.
Though no high sections there were still some impressive views of the ranges in the distance.
Lunch on day eleven was at Simpsons Gap, home to another reflective waterhole.
Soon after starting section 1 I finally got my first view of Alice Springs in the distance.
Fairy Springs and Scorpion Pool sounded like exciting side trips but really required more water.
My final night was spent at Wallaby Gap, with again subzero temperatures testing my layers and sleeping bag. I went from getting up early at the start of the trip to avoid the sun while walking, to staying in my sleeping bag until it appeared!
Even after a dozen days on the trail it was still able to make me say wow out loud when I first caught sight of the red ridge in the distance. Unfortunately my Sony Cybershot decided to die last night, so I was left with my iPhone and lack of an optical zoom for the final 13.5km to the end.
The views from Euro Ridge were even better, but in the five minutes it’d taken me to get up to the start of it the colour had already changed. It was still something special to see Alice Springs in the hazy distance surrounded by bush.
I also had my first and only kangaroo spotting on the walk, with a pair of Euros crossing the track ahead of me.
It was a little surreal to be watching for trains, crossing the tracks of the epic The Ghan railway that runs from Adelaide to Darwin, and soon after under the Geoff Moss Bridge.
Three hours after leaving Wallaby Gap I arrived at the end of the Larapinta Trail at Alice Springs Telegraph Station, where I treated myself to a vanilla slice and a chocolate brownie, plus fascinating history exploring the station.
I still had another 4km along the Riverside Walk before reaching my hostel where I had an amazingly refreshingly shower, and found that I’d lost nearly 5kg in twelve days despite taking and eating plenty of food. Was a big walk!