|The view down towards Glen Helen Gorge from Mt Sonder.|
After saying goodbye to my lift I was alone in the desert, as the 4wd drive rumbled of into the distance the silence was complete. The plan for today was a day walk up Mt Sonder and then a walk out to Redbank Gorge for a swim. So after setting up my tent in the dusty camping spot on the banks of the bone dry Redbank Creek I set of for Mt Sonder with my day pack. The climb to the top of Mt Sonder was fairly easy although it did involve over 700 metres of climbing. Once on the main ridge that runs to the top there is only an intermittent track but there are plenty of track markers and all you have to do is basically follow the ridge. By the time I reached the top (the true high point is actually a few hundred metres to the north east across a very deep saddle) the temperature was heating up, I wasn't expecting temperatures in the mid 30's at this time of the year and was already a bit concerned about the prospect of finishing the trail.
|The author, on Mt Sonder.|
|Redbank Gorge, the water is freezing!|
Packing up camp in the morning nice and early I was on the track before the day heated up too much. The track ran alongside the ridge that I'd climbed yesterday but generally was pretty easy, undulating slightly as it crossed the beds of dry creeks. Arriving at the water tanks at Rocky Bar Gap I decided on an extended break in the gap under the shade of a ghost gum. There was no water in the creek but the sand made a comfortable place to wait out the hottest part of the day.
|On the track over to Rocky Bar Gap, the ridge in the distance is the route up Mt Sonder.|
|Mt Sonder from the track up to Rocky Bar Lookout.|
Waking up a bit stiff I was soon packed up and on my way, the walking started off easy again. The track crossing the ancient Finke River and its tributary Ormiston Creek. From Ormiston Creek the track climbed into some low hills before topping out at Ormiston Lookout. I took a bit of a break here, using the signpost to hang up my sweat soaked shirt, all to soon however it was time to leave my shady spot make my way over to Ormiston Gorge. The good news was that the kiosk was open at Ormiston so I was able to get a cold drink and a hamburger for lunch, the bad news was that from here I would have to carry water for two days.
|Morning at my camp on Davenport Creek.|
The Larapinta Trail is awesome, one of the best walks in Australia in my opinion. It is not an easy walk however, the ground is rough and there is a lot more climbing than you may be anticipating. On this trip I made the mistake of walking too early in the year and the mid 30 C temps meant that I was lugging too much weight in water, I also didn't do food drops which meant that as well as the water I was carrying twelve days food, all in all it was to much effort and it would have turned into a bit of a death march. Without going into too much detail I rectified these things and had an awesome walk there a couple of years later which I'll get around to writing up one day.