Day 7: A cruiser Day

Sunday October 9, 24.8km/15.4mi

Standley Chasm campground (158.2/763m) to Mulga Camp (182.6/687m) (NT) +0.4 Standley Chasm

I woke up late and went over to the cafe, which opened at 8am. I ordered a toastie (a grilled sandwich, in this case ham and cheese) and juice and enjoyed them while I updated my journal and figured out some travel logistics. I made sure to pack up my tent by 8:30 (that’s when the sprinklers come on), and I hiked out at 9am…a very late start for me. I decided to take the side trail into Standley Chasm.The path was cool with lots of shade and greenery.

The Chasm itself was still in shade (it only gets sunlight 90 minutes a day), and there were a few tourists walking about.

I backtracked a few hundred meters to the trail junction to the Larapinta. “Experienced walkers only”… I wonder how many tourists wandered down the wrong track.I immediately knew I was no longer on the tourist trail, when it climbed 50 meters in the first 10 minutes. Looking back down that what I had just climbed up.The trail then descended back into the gorge, which was now more of a valley, and followed a series of dry stream beds. Some of them were really fun, made of smooth rock, and required a little scrambling. Looking down:

I had just turned the corner around a boulder, and this enormous lizard was waiting for me. He didn’t seem too eager to move out of the way, so I had to go around. He looked about a meter long.

The trail soon left the stream beds and once again became a proper trail. I then had a decision to make… High route or low route?

I went with the high route, which is definitely more effort, but should get me good views and a nice breeze. The climb up was certainly very steep, and kept switchbacking up against a rock wall.

These flowers seem to be thriving in their little crack in the cliff….Good for them!Once I got to the top, it was as I expected, a very nice ridgewalk with some wind.

It only lasted a couple kilometers, and then I headed down. Down, down, down….Once I was back down in the valley, the trail cruised most of the way to Jay Creek campsite.The last km before the campsite was in a sandy wash.I stopped in at Jay Creek campsite to refill my water bottles and sit down for a few minutes. There were some flies buzzing around so I didn’t stay very long. (This has been the only spot on the trail so far where I’ve had to deal with flies, despite warnings from several people that they were all over the trail). It was 10 km to the next campsite at Mulga camp, which only took 2 hours, because the trail was so nice.There was one little spot where I had to walk through a wash, at Spring Gap.

Surprisingly it even had water! There was a sign warning not to drink the water, as it had been polluted by camels.I also saw hoofprints in the sand a few minutes later. HmmI got to Mulga camp at 5:45 pm, so this was a pretty short day, since I didn’t start till 9 am. It had most of the usual things – toilet, water tank, picnic tables. I’m a sucker for a good picnic table. Dinnertime!I setup my tent in a very nice soft sandy spot, with the sun setting on one side…And the (almost?) full moon rising on the other….I think the moon is full tomorrow night, which is also my last night on this trail!

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