Mountains! (Travis)

Though we left the tropics according to the climate a thousand kilometers ago, we’ve finally officially left them – we passed the Tropic of Capricorn just north of Alice Springs yesterday. Even though the weather hasn’t been tropical for days, it made me a bit sad to leave the tropics. It just sounds nice. But, Alice Springs has quite a bit to offer.

Like Kmart. We got new front brake pads back in Cairns, and they forgot to top off the brake pad fluid, so we had that done (for free, yay!) in Alice. Ok, not too exciting.

But west of Alice is the West MacDonnell Range, which we’ve spent the last two nights in. We spent the first night at the Ellery Creek Big Hole – so named because the Ellery Creek flows into a big swimming hole. After a day of driving in the intense heat, a dip in the cold pool was so refreshing. Funny though, there are signs around the hole (and in the guidebooks) warning visitors that the water is EXTREMELY COLD. Either they lie, or Australians don’t know how cold water can get – my best guess is that the surface of the pool was a nice 75 degrees, with cooler 65 degree water a few feet under.

Today we moved deeper into the West MacDonnell Range to Ormiston Gorge, and went for a ‘difficult’ (according to our guidebook) 2.5 km hike through the gorge. At the start of the hike, we saw another bunch of warnings – something to the extent of ‘Be aware, you’ll have to SWIM though VERY COLD water and climb over VERY BIG rocks.’ We thought it couldn’t be so bad, and went for it anyway – and found that the ‘cold water’ was again a nice 75 degrees, and the ‘swim’ at the end was a knee-deep wade through still water. Australians apparently have no sense of adventure! Ok, maybe most do – but not the ones who write these warnings. Or the guidebooks. That hike finished with a swim in another amazing permanent swimming pool. And if that wasn’t enough, when we were walking back to the car, we saw a couple of parakeets in the trees. Cool!

Tomorrow we’re off to a rest stop near Ayers Rock, where we’ll spend the night. Then we’ll wake up super early to watch the sunrise over Ayers Rock, then do the 9 km hike around the rock while the weather’s still cool. Then off to Kings Canyon for a day or two – who knows what we’ll find there…

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~ by stormcellar on December 17, 2010.

2 Responses to “Mountains! (Travis)”

  1. Looks like a lot of fun to me :)! Hope you two are having a trip of a lifetime!

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