Sunday, July 6, 2014

Day 2: 16km, flowers, billabongs, and stars

I woke up with a little soreness from our long distance the day before, but beginning the day by walking through fields of purple flowers more than made up for my aches. 

Purple flowers!
White flowers, with mt Sonder in the distance.
 This was the day I got to see my first proper billabong, which surprisingly crossed the trail. Luckily, it was a nice warm afternoon....

The SuperAussie leaps right in whilst I deliberate.
I'm fairly sure there aren't any crocs, but it's nice to have a trek pole just in case.
The boys, of course, were keen for a swim, and lucky for me, a wash.
It wasn't long before we came to Finke River, which is apparently one of the oldest rivers in the world. The trail became a bit difficult to follow in this super-green floodplain, perhaps partly because I was paranoid about looking out for snakes.

Don't worry mom, it was actually probably too cold for snakes.
That evening we made it to our first shed-type campsite at Finke River. Whilst the toilet and picnic table were highly appreciated, the gas stove was a bit useless because it sat out in the wind (so it took 4 times as long for water to heat), and it ended up being pretty cold sleeping sans tent under the shelter. From then on, D and I set up our tent every night, sometimes even inside the shed, just for the warmth.

This was the first night D and I brought out our secret group-hike treat: a tiny book game of Trivial Pursuit. We'd found it at the op shop in Alice Springs, and you have to scratch off the answers like a lottery ticket to see the correct answer, so all we needed to play was the book, and maybe a pen and paper to keep score. The six of us divided into three teams of two, and with the ample amount of whiskey and frangelico the Englishman and the GrownUpFriend had wisely and generously supplied, the game was a great success until the cold drove us all to bed. 

Hiking tip: a nip of something strong before bed was magnificent to warm, distract from aches, and tip us toward sleep at the early hours of 7pm or 8pm. 

Lucky for us, the Englishman captured the glorious long-shutter-time photos below. Most of the light in those pictures came from the SUPERBRIGHT moon that lit up the start of our hike. Seriously, it was better than a street lamp both before and after the actual full moon.
Yes, those are stars visible in the sky AND a shadow on the ground.

Headlamps behaving like sparklers.
More to come...

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