THURSDAY 31 MAY ALICE SPRINGS
Back to the shops…..the Skins were in! Bloody expensive for what was, basically, a set of stretchy long johns!
Decided to – finally – do something “touristy”. It was not easy to find something we had not previously done. Not to be misunderstood – places like Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm are excellent, and should be visited by travellers to the Centre. But once seen, they become the places where the crowds are, and we wanted different.
John donned his new Skins, to see if they lessened the pain in his hip.
Drove out Larapinta Drive and then Namatjira Drive and, within the Owen Springs Reserve, turned north along a track that took us to a parking area, from whence we could walk to Birthday Creek Waterhole.
This Reserve, formerly Owen Springs cattle station, had only been open to the public since 2003, so was not yet widely known about. It straddled Namatjira Drive, with the larger portion stretching from that to Larapinta Drive. Basically it encloses a section of the Hugh River – at this time of year really a series of waterholes.
We thought about trying to tackle the 4WD section between the Drives, but decided on a walk instead – some exercise!
We parked up then walked along the Birthday Creek Waterhole Track, following the Hugh River.
This was “quietly” typical Central Australia – meaning it wasn’t the dramatic country of much of the Western Mc Donnell Ranges. Great clumps of grasses grew at the sides of waterholes along the river, where pools remained from the last decent flows, which could have been years rather than months ago.
The local river red gums, so often featured in art works of the Centre, with their white trunks, were ever-present.
It was really pleasant walking on mostly flat terrain, a bit sandy underfoot, at times.
About ninety minutes walking brought us to Birthday Waterhole – the best part of 10kms from the vehicles.
Birthday Waterhole was worth the walk, in a low key sort of way. The outcropping rocks in the water were decorated with long white streaks – indicative of the birds that had rested there, possibly fish-hunting cormorants.
We ate our packed lunch there, overlooking the water.
John and I then retraced our way back to Truck. That was far enough for us, probably about an 18km walk. But M opted to walk on further, for another hour, to reach Hugh Gorge, which she reported, later, was a lovely small gorge, but similar to the others along the range.
We returned to town to do a final stock up of supplies, for what could be another extgended period between supermarkets. Refuelled again at Woolworths – the price had gone up to $1.42 cpl.
M arrived back at the caravan park about the time we got back from the shopping.
We all felt as though our spirits had been lifted by the walk today.
John thought the discomfort in his hip was somewhat eased by the Skins.
It was 1 degree again, through the night. Brrr some more!