Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day 15: Other Hikers (12kms)

After 12 entire hours of sleep, the world looks a lot nicer, even though my feet were still pretty painful.

Arrenge Bluff in the morning.

Car doughnut marks where there aren't any roads, or crop circles where there aren't any crops?

Truly dedicated trail building. I'm deeply impressed.

Owie ow, oh look pretty view, ow.

Whooooosh I'm like the Larapinta trail sign bird, wheeeeeeeeeee! (I may have begun to experience delirium at that point).

Along the way, we met a young solo hiker named Lon from China who had just finished walking the Overland (a snowy trail in Tassie) and then immediately came and walked the Larapinta. This dude was walking over 20km a day, mostly because he reckoned he'd get bored if he stopped too long. He was happy to chat with us about what hiking was like in China (either too crowded or nonexistent), equipment (there are some good up-and-coming brands in China, but he'd gotten his stuff from the US), and the Larapinta (boring compared to the Overland).

After our chat and treat break (cigs for Lon, fruit for us), Lon shot past us and indeed meet up with our crew at Simpsons Gap and chatted to them for a bit, before going even farther along the trail. When we finally staggered up to Simpsons Gap, our crew was lazing about in the sun and tending to their gear and feet. Rugby finally decided to pop the blisters she'd been nursing for a while; she'd read that blisters shouldn't be popped, so she'd been using giant padded bandaids, but the blisters had only gotten huger (think the size of her entire heel). So serious surgery was in store:

Bush surgery.
 The best bit was that after GUF finished poking her blister with a pin, she said "Wait, that's it???" So anticlimactic.

We shared the shed that night with the most hikers we'd seen all trip: an older couple from Adelaide and a group of 3 uni-aged boys. They'd all packed too much food, and it was funny to watch them try to repack their bags.

Best of all though, we met an artist from England who had come to the Gap by bicycle. She'd traveled around Australia a few years ago, and discovered she really loved Alice Springs, so she spent a year or two saving up and came back to spend all her time in and around Alice Springs painting, and then 1 week in Sydney to have an art show for her paintings. A kind person in Alice had loaned her a bike and camping gear, and she hauled herself over a dirt track to get out here to paint the gorge. So. Cool.

Such a rickety set up!
Simpsons Gap, which has wallabies!

Simpsons Gap in early morning. The photographer said she'd been taking pictures at the gap for years, and this was the first time she'd ever seen water in it.

To be continued....

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