Once we set off from the Finke River, we really start to feel our progression towards Mt Sonder, with each kilometre walked revealing closer views of this elegant desert peak. The wild flowers on this section are particularly beautiful and the giant River Red Gums stand tall and strong. Our second to last climb on the official trail is the well named Hill Top Lookout. From here we can fully appreciate our final challenge and look back towards where our journey began.
Day 14 12km/4hr walk
A bit of a tumultuous day!!! With a few Victorians on the trip and having Melbourne go into Covid lockdown, there has been some angst. Fortunately most of them had left Melbourne a few days before our hike started. Sadly Jen, probably the strongest in the group – physically & mentally – won’t be able to complete the final section up Mt Sonder tomorrow as she has to go back to Alice to be tested. She’s particularly sad as she’s raising money for charity. The rest of us plan to be her proxy!!
On the physical side, today we had a lovely easy day. After getting ready in the dark – as usual – we set off in the troopy for Rock Bar Gap. Very little rock on the path – extremely rare in our experience of the Larapinta – and no hills!!
At the end of the undulating stroll through the valley at the foothills of Mt Sonder, most of the group did some boulder hopping to reach Redbank Gorge. Adam had set up lunch along the river bank by the time we got back. I was starving!!
When we got back to camp, we had “Trail Talk”. Typically this was done after dinner, but with a 2:30am breakfast on the cards tomorrow, we need to get sorted for an early start. It’s also likely to be cold at the top so we need to add some warm stuff to our packs.
I really can’t believe we’ve made it this far. Filthy and with giant blisters! But my body is feeling great! Such a good experience albeit challenging and very long. Looking forward to seeing the sun come up from the summit of Mt Sonder tomorrow morning.
The boulder hopping to get us to Redbank Gorge was a large contributor to the additional distance for the day making it a 15km day.
You can watch a summary of our day 14 adventures here.