Within minutes of starting to walk, GrownUpFriend and Englishman had disappeared into the distance, so D and I spent the rest of the day walking by ourselves. The Englishman had thoughtfully brought walky-talkies, which proved extremely useful for this part of the trip. We began the day by ascending to a saddle in the mountain range, where we could pass over to the north side of the Heavitree Range we'd been meandering over since Mt Sonder.
|Top of the saddle, the Chewings Range in the distance.|
The trail left the Heavitree Range and led us north towards the Chewings Range, across what we called The Big Flat between the two ranges. Coming down from this saddle felt like the bit in Lord of the Rings where Sam and Frodo look down into the plains of Mordor and can see the armies camped there for miles, with the volcano far in the distance.
|Weird flowers before descending into Mordor.|
The Big Flat was possibly one of our favorite parts of the trip, even though we'd heard others complain it was boring. There were so many things to see! There were about 78 million grasshoppers, so D taught me the German and Swiss words for grasshopper, so then we practiced German for a while. There were EVEN MORE butterflies, oh gosh, das smetterlings at every turn, in every colour you can imagine!
There were heaps of strange flowers, and interesting pointy plants. The trail was relatively gentle, we crossed many dry creek beds and went over lots of little tiny hills, and the sky was huge and super blue above us. Best of all, there were wild budgies/parakeets! So much birdsong in the air, and superfast dashes of colour across the sky.
|One of the numerous creeks. There were tadpoles in the water in the corner of the photo!|
|Welcome to New Mex- guh, I mean Australia.|
|An especially satisfying and comfy lunch.|
|Other hikers leaving messages. What's a "hello" without a little penis?|
Late in the afternoon, we finally caught up to GrownUpFriend and Englishman at a campsite with water. They'd been there for over an hour, and were actually itching to continue onward. My feet and joints were aching something fierce, but they offered to carry our tent and set it up, so that D and I could stumble into camp behind them. GrownUpFriend had gotten pretty excited about the idea of powering through this leg of the trip, in order to make it to our third drop box a day early. See, we'd not only be picking up food at our third drop box, but also GrownUpFriend's wife, and if we made it ahead of schedule, we'd suprise her (not an easy feat) and give ourselves more options on that leg of the trip.
So. The pace had been set.
GrownUpFriend and Englishman powered off carrying our tent, whilst D and I took a little time to refill our waterbottles and finish rubbing Tiger Balm into my ankles.
Hiking lesson: Tiger Balm is amazing. Carry plenty.
Restarting the hike at about 4pm with ankle pain wasn't easy, but D kept my spirits up with a lively farting competition (which I won by a landslide). But lo and behold, we'd only walked for another hour (or about 3km more) when we found GrownUpFriend and Englishman setting up camp by the side of the trail. On rocks. Rocks covered in goatheads.
The additional weight of water and our tent had worn out GrownUpFriend, and they'd discovered the track was a bit tricky to walk in the fading light, so it was an unplanned campsite for us that night.
|Ooops, I forgot to mention the spinifex. Thank god for the Colonelmajig to sit on.|
In the evening, I learned it's just not worth it actually having a conversation when someone wants to start bitching about America's tipping system or gun laws -they just want to bitch.
More to come....