A group of excited trekkers supporting Australian Conservation Foundation, Guide Dogs Australia, RizeUp, Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation, and The Shepherd Centre are off to trek the Larapinta Trail!
Check back here for daily updates as the team challenges themselves through the red landscapes of Central Australia.
Alice Springs Telegraph Station to Wallaby Gap. 16km
Today we set out early and watched the sunrise over the Alice Springs Telegraph Station. From the station, we followed the Todd River Valley north for a few kms before stopping for morning tea. From here, we turned west and headed up onto the Ridgeline. The weather was favourable with a cool breeze keeping things comfortable for us.
As we ambled along we were able to get to know each other better. With a mixed team raising funds for a number of different charities it was interesting to hear each other's stories and motivations. Before we knew it, we had reached Wallaby Gap and it was time to head to our campsite.
Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet Dam via Coutts Point. 16km
Today's section was promised to be the hardest of the first 3 days and a good warm-up for Sonder later in the week. Fortunately, we were treated to mild overcast weather today ensuring we didn't overheat as we climbed up onto the ridgeline. With views across the West Macdonnell Ranges to Haast's Bluff, Mount Zeil and Mount Sonder we were able to get a good impression of the enormity of the Outback. We headed to Coutt's Point at the end of the Ridge for team photos before heading back down to the valley floor where we were greeted with freshly cut oranges bringing back memories of childhood sporting days.
Finke River to Ormiston Gorge 13km
Today we were promised an easier day. Setting out along the Finke River flats we crossed through the threshold of rocks (see photo). We continued to meander through the River flats before turning east and heading towards Ormiston Gorge. Today's hike was much gentler as we enjoyed a more relaxed pace. Stopping in the river flats, the Head local Guide explained the origins of what we could see around us. Arriving at Orpington Gorge, we took advantage of the permanent waterhole and enjoyed a refreshing swim...
Mount Sonder Ascent. 16km return. 800m ascent.
We were awoken by the sounds if dingoes chatting with each other across the valley just after midnight before finally rising at 0100 to start our preparation for our Sonder Ascent. Following a quick breakfast, we were off. Fortunately, with a full moon, we could discard our head torches and use the power of the moon to guide us as we gradually worked our way up the 800m of ascent to the summit of Mount Sonder.
We gradually snaked our way up the mountain under moonlight before making it to the summit just before sunrise. This was my fourth ascent of Mount Sonder, but my first in time for sunrise. Having worked with Nicole and Manaia to make the summit it was a very rewarding moment when the rest of the team cheered and congratulated Nicole as she conquered her challenge together with the rest of our H4H team. It was a truly Inspiring moment...
Ormiston Pound Walk 7km
Again we arose early though so that we could watch the sun rise over Ormiston Pound. It was a great time for some inner reflection as we sat in silence contemplating our week and how far we have come. Descending into the pound for some morning tea some of the lads decided to make the most of our surrounds and have a rock skipping competition on the nearby river.
Next, we headed to the gorge and the dreaded swim out through chilly waters. Entering the water we were glad that the sun had decided to shine today!
Before long we were celebrating with cream cheese and salmon bagels and on our way back to Alice for our farewell dinner. What an amazing week!