On Monday 28th June the adventure of a lifetime began for the second team of walkers on ABM’s Larapinta Challenge. 2021 marks the first time we have had this kind of challenge, so thank you for supporting the walkers and our partners through your generous donations.
We’re sure you’ll see some fantastic photos and hear some wonderful stories from those you’ve supported once they get back. But to whet your appetite, here’s what’s been happening, and what will happen over the next few days –
Arrival in Alice Springs
Yesterday the first team assembled at the heart of this wonderful country, Alice Springs. After being briefed the team was be free to explore the city. Before dinner, there was a Welcome to Country given by a group of Arrernte Elders who explained the history and significance of the area to the team.
A very enthusiastic group of walkers as they set off early this morning
Alice Springs to Wallaby Gap
On Monday the urban environment is left behind as the team head out into the wilderness. Today’s walk will see the team complete a full-day 14km section of the Larapinta Trail.
Beginning on the outskirts of Alice Springs, the team heads into the West MacDonnell Ranges. They will witness some vast and beautiful stretches of Australian landscape. The view is particularly inspiring at Euro Ridge. On the walk, they will allow themselves to be immersed in the wonder of the region and get a taste of what’s coming in the next four days. The team should be able to spot local wildlife before settling into their remote camping location within the MacDonnell Ranges National Park, their home for the next five nights. On arrival, they will have the opportunity to enjoy some bush tucker prepared by Kungkas Can Cook, an Aboriginal catering company who are passionate about bush foods and are dedicated to utilizing produce harvested wild from around the Central Desert Region and beyond. The true experience begins tonight as they rest in a region synonymous with the dreamtime of the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people.
A quick photo shoot before the walkers launch into their morning tea
Julie, Sara and Julia stop for a tea break and a selfie
Tomorrow: Serpentine Gorge to Serpentine Chalet Dam
On Wednesday morning, 30th June, after breakfast, our team will transfer to the western section of the Larapinta Trail. The day’s trek is more challenging than Tuesday’s. However, our intrepid walkers will be continuously rewarded with spectacular views of the high quartzite ridgelines that typify the West MacDonnell Ranges, including Haasts Bluff and Mount Zeil, the highest point in the Northern Territory. Tonight, they return to their campsite.
Thursday: Ormiston Gorge to Glen Helen Gorge
On Thursday, 1st July, the team will traverse the low-lying regions surrounding Ormiston Gorge, gradually winding upwards through rolling limestone hills towards the back reaches of the Finke River – one of the world’s oldest river systems. As they trek, they will be rewarded with spectacular views of Mount Sonder (Rwetyepme, The Pregnant Lady) in the distance. Towards evening, they will return to the campsite shadowed by Mount Sonder and watch as the sun sinks behind red sands and the colours of the night desert erupt into million-star accommodation.
Friday 2nd July: Mount Sonder Ascent
Today’s climb to the summit was arduous along a rocky and loose path that occasionally disappeared into brush. However, once again, their efforts were rewarded with incredible 360° views of the ranges, plains, valleys and salt lakes below. Here, they took time to catch their breath and bask in the grandeur of the desert landscape. What an achievement! After descending, they will transfer back to their campsite where they enjoy their last evening under the stars of the Milky Way.
The team at the top of Mount Sonder – Rwetyepme, the Pregnant Lady – earlier this morning. From up there they can see far beyond to the landscape below.
Saturday 3rd July: Ormiston Pound Walk to Alice Springs
Tomorrow our team will travel to Ormiston Gorge to trek the Ormiston Pound circuit. Punctuating the West MacDonnell Ranges, this circuit is regarded as one of the best small walks of the Larapinta Trail and offers sensational views of Chewings Range and Mount Giles. Although relatively short, the trek will be quite challenging for the walkers and takes approximately four hours to complete. Setting off, the trail winds around low peaks before descending into the ‘pound’, a flat area enclosed by a ring of mountains. With their trek complete, they will enjoy a packed lunch together before travelling back to Alice Springs. In the evening, they will join at a local restaurant for their last group dinner to celebrate their successful adventure.
On 1 July each year the Anglican Church commemorates what is known as the Coming of the Light. It marks the arrival of the first missionaries in the Torres Strait Islands in 1871. Up in the Torres Strait there have been celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the missionaries’ arrival. The day is so significant there that each year it is a public holiday. To mark the Coming of the Light a Eucharist was celebrated in Finke River.
Participants before the Eucharist
During the Eucharist
Team 2 among the ancient rocks at Ormiston Gorge
Yesterday Morning: Alice Springs Departure
Yesterday morning, our second team of walkers bade farewell to Alice Springs, the Red Centre and their Larapinta adventure. They jumped aboard flights and as the runway came into view, they were filled with the memories and moments that have made this adventure one they will never forget.