The ad said “full pack, off track, challenging five day walk”. I looked at the pictures and immediately thought, this is for me. I have already done 2 other treks with this company so I know it will be good. After checking my leave from work and deciding I had enough money, I booked myself in.
We have been to Alice Springs once about 12 years ago and only saw a small part of the Macdonnell Ranges but fell in love with the ruggedness and colour of the place. I was starting an exercise program at work and have done plenty of overnight hikes so this will be a good test, plus if I am ever going to know if I am back to normal after chemo and everything well this will prove it.
It was only after booking flights and accommodation and a few other things that I saw more photos of where I would be walking, it did look really rough and Mt Giles was really high. Some new boots will definitely be needed for the rocky ground and gaiters for the spinifex and lots of water because it will still be hot in April.
The walk would finish on Thursday and I could come home on Friday or I could stay for a few more days and see something else. There was a camel ride and maybe a trip to some other lovely gorges along the range. The camel ride at sunset might not have been quite Cable Beach, but it was so peaceful and relaxing watching the day close and the full moon come up. Camels are so ungainly and ugly but somehow elegant and beautiful at the same time and the saddle a bit more comfortable than a horse.
A day trip to Palm Valley I booked got cancelled and the only alternative was to a few new places as well as Ormiston Gorge where our walk finished the day before. At least I might get another swim there. The bus was mostly full of grey haired Aussies all set an adventurous day in the outback. We did Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm, then Glen Helen Gorge for lunch. All went well until the bus broke down near the end of the day and we were stranded at Ellery Creek about 100km from Alice Springs. Luckily another bus driver had a satellite phone so they could send another bus to pick us up, that was a bit of an oversight.
This trip was the very first time I had been on holidays all by myself, not that I don’t like holidaying with Grandpa, but he doesn’t like doing all the things I like to do. I was feeling very grown up and brave flying across the country and spending lots of time on my own and with strangers. So nice to return home to find the WHOLE family there for one reason or another. Straight back to the real world—till next time.