The howl in the distance wakes me from my sleep. Was that a dingo I think to myself. I hear the howl again. And this time I smile, it’s not a dingo but one of the guides giving us a very impressive morning wake up call. I peer outside the tent and see the the ridge in front of me glowing in the early morning light. What a glorious view to wake up to. I get up and make my way over to the communal area where freshly brewed tea and coffee are steaming away in jugs and a delicious assortment of muesli, porridge, yogurt, fruit and toast are waiting to be devoured. After breakfast we are given a short amount of time to get organised before meeting at the van to drive to the start of the of the section of the Larapinta trail we are walking today.
A short drive from our campsite and we arrive at section 8 of the Larapinta trail. After a quick debriefing from our guides we begin our ascent up onto the Heavitree Range. The track like most of the Larapinta is rocky underfoot and as we walk upwards I keep stopping to take in the jaw dropping views around me.
We make it up onto the ridge and the wind picks up straight away. I stop to add an extra layer and marvel at the landscape spread out before me. Deep gashes lacerate the edges of the valley below us. Twisted and inverted quartzite rocks that seem to defy reality, provide a glimpse into the violent forces that have shaped this land. The recent rains have infused the landscape with varying shades of green which make the red and orange rocks look even more striking.
As we continue walking up towards Counts Point we see the rain coming in the distance. Our guide Kate exclaims “Here it comes! We are about to get smashed!”. We race up the final few hundred meters to the Point just before the cloud, mist and rain descend upon us. Rather than be disappointed with this sudden deluge, I am actually enthralled. Seeing the desert in the rain like this is amazing. The smell of the rocks and vegetation as the rain hits, the feel of the rain drops upon my face and the sheer beauty of this landscape create a breathtaking experience.
As we walk back down from the point, the rain blows over and we are left with the magical contrast of misty, moody clouds dancing on the mountain tops around us. We catch up to our to our guides, where they have spread out another healthy and delicious lunch for us to enjoy. Lunch with a view indeed!
The walk back down the range is as impressive as the walk up. I keep expecting to see Daenerys from Game of Thrones on one of her dragons, soaring up the valleys and over the mountain tops, such is the grandeur and splendor of this place. Photos really cannot do it justice.
We wind our way down from the ridge top and the rain clouds roll in heavy again once again. The smell is intoxicating. I really was not expecting to see rain in such a harsh and often unforgiving environment so I feel very lucky to be present for this. The vegetation becomes thicker as we leave the sparse spinifex dominated ridge and enter the mulga moon forest. If feels somewhat magical, with the the rain and canopy closing in above us.
The low cloud and rain set in as we arrive back at our camp at Ormiston Creek, making for a very serene and relaxing afternoon enjoying the pitter patter of rain on the tent. The rain clears in time for dinner and we drag our chairs around the fire to indulge in a dinner of baramundi laksa and for Running Man and I, a glass or two of red wine. Sitting and chatting fire side with our fellow trekkers is a nice way to finish the day. Day two with its wind and rain has been completely different to sun and warmth of Day One, but I have really enjoyed the contrast of seeing the dry and then the wet. I can’t wait to see what day three has in store for us as I am totally besotted with this place already.
At a Glance
Trek Larapinta offer a number of different walking tours to explore the Larapinta Trail I did the 6 day tourhttp://www.treklarapinta.com.au/LarapintaTrailTours/index.html
Section 8 – Counts Point 13.4 km