Our eleventh day sets off along section 9, the longest section on the trail. Although hard, it is a beautiful section of the Larapinta which meanders through long valleys and up onto the high ridgelines opposite Mt Giles, offering us magnificent views west towards Mt Sonder. Following some rock hopping through Inarlanga pass the trail winds along a creek bed lined with inland Tea Tree and swings west into open country, before crossing three saddles on the way to Waterfall Gorge. In the quiet of the gorge we take some time to reflect and appreciate this special place for the Western Arrernte people. Following a steep zig-zagging path out of the gorge we summit The Lookout at an altitude of 1,088 metres, a magnificent panoramic vista opens out in front of us – stunning views with all the highest peaks in the West MacDonnell Ranges on show. Descending through the foothills, the trail cuts through rolling limestone hills dotted with Red Mallees and Desert Bloodwood Trees. We camp tonight in the Ormiston Gorge or Finke River region.
I’m writing this a day late. Yesterday was a big, long day with little time for anything else. Only 5 of us plus Jill decided to take on the 30km day. Ann did get up to support us at our 5am breakfast. Possibly an added incentive was the fact that it was drizzling and she had opted for the swag option with no tent.
Soon after 5:30am we set off with our head torches. It was so peaceful – no wind and at times the slightest hint of rain.
By the time we reached Inchalanga Pass (meaning Echnida Pass in the local Aboriginal language), it was light enough to get rid of our torches. Good thing as the path was a little technical and the morning light on the rocks was lovely. We even spotted the slightest hint of a rainbow.
The undulations following the pass were pleasant, with a little technical challenge on the approach to Waterfall Gorge.
The climb to the lookout was steep and looooooooong!! So glad to get to the top and enjoy the view (and a snack). I’m getting used to trail mix and muesli bars – will want to snack when we get home.
After a hop along the ridge, we came to a perfect lunch stop.
There were even a couple of plastic crates to use for seats – who would have carried them up there?? The slow down hill led us to a winding 7k through the purple mula mula.
It seemed to go on forever and we were relieved to come across the river and see our troopy waiting for us on the other side. Tripping over a vine and face planting into the river sand hurt my pride but nothing else. Adam had left the troopy for us to drive down to the spectacular Ormiston Gorge for a swim / paddle. Too cold for me to swim, but appreciated the gorge. Probable ended up being my favourite of the trip.
We’d done great time, so arrived at our new camp alongside the Finke River with plenty of time to set up tents (our beachfront condo) and get dressed for dinner. Great team effort made for a successful day. Blisters continue to flourish.
A short video walking on one of the many ridges – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w950WBqcYuc
Only a couple of extra km today – not a large % of the total, but making it almost 31km. We didn’t do the final little part of section 9, but Walter & I completed it during our “bonus hike” on day 16.
You can watch a summary of our day 11 adventures here.