Day 2: Cool morning, Hot afternoon

Tuesday October 4, 28.9km/18.0mi

Redbank Campsite (7.1/688m) to Ormiston Lookout (36.0/716m) (NT)

I woke up later than usual, I think I’m still catching up on sleep from all the travel. As I sat there and ate breakfast, I realized how incredibly loud all the birds are here. I packed up and was on the trail at 7:45am, and within a few minutes I had come to a sign for another campsite. The infrastructure for this trail is really well built!

There are also markers every kilometer that countdown the distance for each section. It’s kind of cool seeing how far you have to go, without needing any fancy apps or taking out your map.

The trail was pretty flat and easy the whole morning, with views mostly like these:

There seems to be tons of wildflowers here, of which I know none of the names yet.

I arrived to the Rocky bar campsite a little after 10am, refilled my water, and had a nice snack.

Surprisingly, there were bees living inside the water tap, so that was a shocking moment. Each of these campsites seems to have a toilet, a water tank, and some picnic tables… Its pretty nice! Shortly after leaving the campsite, I walked up a cool sandy wash.

Walking in deep sand is always a little slow going but it was nice to be in the shade of the trees. Just after leaving the wash I found another surprise… Some animal had forgotten their leg!

I have no idea what animal it used to belong to, and the only prey mammals I’m aware of out here are kangaroos. After this the trail started to climb, and thankfully the clouds moved into provide some shade. Halfway up the climb I looked at the view behind me and saw Mt. Sonder.

Once I was on top of the ridge the sun came back out and it got really hot, thank goodness for my chrome umbrella. I had a nice lunch on the top of the ridge and did some tasks on my phone, like uploading yesterday’s journal and booking my next plane ticket. The views coming down the ridge definitely got my attention… I have so far down to go!

At times, the trail was cut into the hillside, and there was a steep drop off on one side.

Once I was back down on the valley floor, the trail was smooth and easy, and I cruised through the nice grassland.

The day was really hot now, and even under my shady umbrella, I was looking forward to cooling off in the Finke River. When I got there, however, it was drying up.

It looked gross for swimming, and I certainly didn’t want to drink it either. In another 500 meters there was the nice Finke River campsite.

This campsite seemed especially modern and new. It had a huge covered area, picnic tables, sleeping platforms, and even USB chargers!

It was 5pm, so I figured I should make dinner here before hiking a few more miles to nice campsite on top of a ridge. While I was making my dinner a group of 4 walked in, they were the first people I had seen all day. They were all locals to Alice Springs, and they were walking a section of this trail westbound (the opposite direction of me). We swapped pieces of advice on the upcoming trail, and I even asked them where to buy packets of tuna. They are one of the foods I usually bring on hikes but they seem impossible to find in this country. I left the campsite at 6pm, knowing I had about 4km to cover and sunset was at 7 pm. I was walking faster, but a strange noise stopped me in my tracks. It was this bird, which I think is called a spinifex pigeon.

Spinifex is the sharp grass that grows everywhere around here, especially along the sides of the trail. It’s not as sharp as most desert plants, but you certainly wouldn’t want to bushwhack through it. I arrived at my intended campsite just after 7pm and quickly threw up my tent in the dwindling sunlight.

I’m seeing lightning very far to the north, I hope those storms don’t move down here, otherwise I will be moving my tent in the middle of the night…

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