Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Did you know that wind can be super awesome? All night long, we could hear the wind coming towards us -barreling through the canyon- sounding like a freight train. Exactly like a train coming WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRR at you, and it felt a bit unsafe to be in our tent. But then, like a miracle, the wind would pass over us, or perhaps a bit off to the side in the main channel of the stream bed. It was so exciting!

Brinkley Bluff loomed over us in the morning. My ankles (and feet and knees) felt pretty good upon waking up, which was already a huge relief from the previous few days. Plus, I was optimistic about the day's walk: it was a steep ascent, but hopefully a relative gentle descent (and I found going down much harder than going up). But to be on the safe side, D carried...... almost everything.
Perhaps the word "hulking" is more appropriate to Brinkley...

I should point out that he had been doing ridiculously well on the entire hike thus far. The phrase "annoying perky" may have come up a few times. One morning, I think at Ellery Creek, I woke us up shouting "WHY ARE YOU SINGING." Because he'd been singing. In his sleep. Cheerfully. At 6am.

Anyways, this was the day we fixed that. I think I had one sleeping bag and pad, 1 litre of water, my clothes, and the miscellaneous small gear that doesn't weigh much, whilst he carried the tent, all the food, all the cooking gear, the other (heavier) sleeping bag and pad, and the rest of the water. Have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate this boy?

View back west, from the saddle beneath the bluff.
 About halfway up the ascent, we came upon a dry waterfall in a surprisingly lush crevice, like a hidden oasis.

Cycad City!

And a half-eaten snake skeleton, including it's last meal!

The trail in this area was amazing. SUCH a well-built trail; it was pretty scary at times, when rock climbing/scrambling was required, and it came veeeeery close to an edge that was veeeeeeery sheer and veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery high, but it was entirely doable and pleasant. With all the weight he was carrying, D got a proper workout for the first time on the hike, and even though we went at our own pace, we reached the top not long behind GrownUpFriend and Englishman.

And oh gosh was it worth it.

The cairn, where everyone who summits can add a rock. Also houses the log book.
Getting to the top!
Heading east once more.
GrownUpFriend had informed us previously that this section of the hike was going to be "five star walking", a phrase that D, as is his wont, took to extremes. I believe he said it about 300 times. But, alas, it was entirely true.

We walked mostly on the ridgetops, with the slopes falling away sharply and majestically to either side, the views panoramic, stunning, and vivid. The ups and downs were gentle, and the trail itself was mostly flat, and easy on the feet. It was AWESOME.

Pointy rocks.

So many colours.

The trail winding up the hill.
Probably the first time M was more chipper than D. That pack may look full, but it's a clever illusion.
Part of our glee today was due to the excitement of what awaited us at the end of the trail: A HOT SHOWER omigosh. Standley Chasm, a privately owned spot on the trail, was accessible by vehicle, had a restaurant/kiosk, held our third and final drop box of food, and had free showers, which were -get this- heated by woodstove. And the super nice young man even carted the wood over and built the fire for us. A dribbly, hot shower was magnificent. As was hot Indian food with toasted naan. Oh man so awesome. But the best bit?

A WOOD FIRE. This puppy burned all day and night long in the open air kiosk/restaurant, and you can bet that's pretty much were I was the whole time. ..... Because that's how long it took for my wet hair to dry out. Stupid hair.

More to come....

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