Monday, May 17, 2010


16 May 2010


Overnight we had a steady light rain for a couple of hours. Consequently, this morning we wandered what impact it would have on the track. We would soon find out. We made use of the facilities here and had a cooked breakfast as did many others here.

Afer breakfast I exchanged information re using the mac computer with a woman camped besides us. We both learned something from this information exchange. Soon we were on our way. After the rain in the sandy sections the wheels were spinning more making the going harder.

In one place it was a 5km track along the actual creek bed. We remembered how when we were here 29 years ago we got bogged here and another vehicle pulled us out. The Oka, though much heavier, just rocked through the sand sections easily.

We then went on to do the loop back to Alice via Namatjira Drive.

At Tyler’s Pass there was a fantastic 360 degreew lookout. Gosse Bluff looked spectacular. We didn’t go there this time as we feel there is some time restraint for this detour and we are already way behind our proposed itinery.

The views in all directions was just so picturesque.

Mt Sondor could be seen from far away as it was over 1300 metres high.

We continued on to Redbank Gorge through spectacular scenery.

The clouds were just awesome.

At Redbank Gorge a 2km return walk took us to the gorge. The track was narrow and rocky to start with, then narrow and overgrown.

Finally the track petered out and one had to make one’s way along the creek bed

and through boulders.

The rocks were rich in colour, from purples, pinks, oranges, blues to washed out grey.

There were also some unusual rocks

and trees.

The gorge was narrow and entry into it was blocked by deep pools of icy water.

There were some people there who had been in for a swim. They said after swimming 5 metres out it was too cold to keep going to swim through the gorge. So we chose to enjoy the view.

It is always amazing to see trees growing out of the rock. There is no soil there so how they survive is a miracle.

It was soon time to retrace our steps out of the gorge.

The views always look different going the other way.

As we drove out the sun’s rays hit some of the hills nearby and they just glowed in the sun’s rays.

There was a big contrast between the scenery to our south and north. On the southside an interesting range with rolling contours.

On the northside the tall dramatic ranges.

At Mt Sonder’s lookout again a beautiful panorama

Just after the turnoff to Glen Helen one is confronted with an imposing rock face.

Glen Helen Gorge has really changed as it is now a ‚resort‘. You need to go through the resort to go on the walking track to the gorge which is not even 5 minutes away. The resort does not look great and is a bit off putting when one comes in.

The Gorge’s sandstone walls were cut by the Finke River as it flowed south to the Simpson Desert. We have seen a lot of the Finke River. It is considered to be one of the oldest rivers in the world as it has kept the same course for a million years. At Glen Helen we could not get to the Organ Pipes as they were further on and the water cut off access to them. So on we went to Ormiston Gorge that was not too far away.

The scenery varied quite a bit along the way.

On our way to the gorge we were planning what we would do here. We planned to spend the night and do the 7km Pound Walk in the morning. When we got there we found out that only agile and very fit should undertake the walk as, because of the amount of water, one has to swim parts of the track in icy cold water and then negotiate the track through small and large boulders. Not for us that's for sure. We walked down to have a look at the gorge. Memories come back of camping here before but much closer to the gorge and someone taking off their socks and finding to everyone’s amusement that they could stand up by themselves. Near the water a black footed rock wallaby was feeding.

As it was close to sunset the colours were a bit flat at the gorge as the sun was setting on the other side. The reflections in the water made up for it.

We soon set up camp.

 The tree next to us provided us with quite a question. Can nature itself graft different species onto a bush. This tree had three different types of leaves and yellow and red flowers. You could see where the graft had taken root but it was more like a blue tack blob than a man made graft.

Then we found two other bushes where the same thing had occurred.

So we were left pondering was this man made or nature’s hand.

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