As always, holidays and mini breaks are always over much quicker than one hopes. The trick is to be able to switch into holiday mode as quickly as possible – stay ‘in the moment’ I believe is the phrase.
The Larapinta Trail follows the West McDonald Ranges from Alice Springs to Redbank Gorge, some 240km to the West. It’s a well marked track, but due to the arid conditions, rough terrain, and scarce water, it’s only for the intrepid – or those in a tour group.
We were the latter and joined Trek Larapinta for a supported 6 days hike. It was mostly fun, and any bits that were not fun were my own fault for not being fit enough. The guides, fellow trekkers, campsite, food and transport were all excellent. The bonus was that Kerry joined me, a first for an overnight hike.
This is a collection of photos from the next six days. We hiked for most of the days. Okay, we had two rest days out of six. Both of us enjoyed our rest time and don’t feel bad we missed on something. In reality, our fitness and desire to punish ourselves was lacking. The ground was rocky which means you take many short steps and somehow I became quite slow and not enjoying it one little bit. Once on the flat, I stretched out with long strides and regained some of my own perception of dignity.
We both enjoyed our week. I’m pleased to have done it. Pleased Kerry joined me. No regrets for not climbing Mt Sondor to see the sun rise. This involved getting up at 2am, hiking 800m vertical over 8kms, then waiting in the desert chill to watch the sun rise.
We stayed at Chifley in Alice, a decent hotel that served our needs.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos!! Your enjoyment is why I take them.
Hiking along the Larapinta trail in the West McDonald ranges, Central Australia, has been something to do for a while.
The distance, lack of nice campsites, and water had put me off, as had the need for food drops. All too hard, like the harsh inland environment.
My lovely wife Kerry however has given me the impetus to get on an do this walk, but she had provisos. She would walk with me if we did a supported walk, one where we only carried a small Day pack during the day and our other needs were met by people we paid money to.
For a little moment I felt like I was moving to a next stage of life, from a tent to a caravan, from a house to ‘downsize’. I quickly stepped over that threshold when I heard the bit about her walking with me. This was going to be nice. And truthfully the idea of not carrying 20kg each was very appealing.
So after a bit of googling, we booked with Trek Larapinta. I’d also looked at Inspiration Outdoors who I came across when looking to become a tour guide a little while ago. But their tour was longer and included places we didn’t need to pay to be taken to again.
Today we fly to Alice Springs, and we’ll be home again in a week. Not sure how regularly the updates will come, it is the outback after all!!
What a special couple of days – the first tour through a South African national park with scenery very reminiscent of the Pilbara or more-so the Kimberley in Western Australia, and kangaroos or emus being replaced by zebra, gibbon, eland and other creatures.
Long day of tarmac driving and we arrived after dark at Mt Zebra National Park. The guy on the gate, an African man, headed to me as the Westerner to seek directions on our group. I told him who our leader was and directed him away. This happened several times during the trip
I talked to my fellow adventurers about this – about the inherent assumptions that the sole westerner on the group was the leader. It didn’t bother them that this happened to me, they know I wasn’t chasing attention, but in broader terms they say they just deal with it. It’s racism they live with every day. We talked long into the evening about these things, possibly aided by someone producing some nice Black Label, and something else that should have been used an injector cleaner.
A few crests were covered, but generally we were heading down. At one stage just after leaving the ski lodge, we dropped some 500m in only a few kilometres. It would have been awful climbing up, but of course, it’s difficult going down too. Someone has made two concrete tracks to aid traction and avoid losing valuable tourists into the precipice.
Tents were set up again, this time in a proper campground with toilets and a campers kitchen. We set up the lights – four LEDs each on tripods that are excellent to light a large area. With two of those going, setting up in the dark is easy. Lee and I got the tent and our stretcher beds up in no time, leaving me to my other duty of lighting the fire. This gained admiration from the Malaysians who generally have to resort to pouring petrol onto some poorly assembled sticks and mostly something happens.
The gate guy had given us a sheet listing a whole lot of animals that we might see – tomorrow was going to be exciting.