July 29th 2017.
We have had a varied day with some travelling, saying Good bye to ‘Alice Springs’, driving west to refresh our memories about the West MacDonnell Ranges and enjoying the warm weather. These Ranges are striking all over again with rugged red/brown rocks showing layer upon layer of sheer drops of rock and earth with a small amount of grasses which could be spinifex mixed with some small eucalypt ghost gums. Along the wide dry river beds there are River Red gums which are similar to those we have at home but are slightly different.. a different sub-species. They are delightful trees with white/grey/ brown trunks and wide spreading limbs.
Firstly we drove into Simpsons Gap which has a wide dry river bed but with quite a large pool of water in the Gap. The cliffs are rough, sheer, rocky and a deep red/brown colour. We made the short walk along the sandy river bed to the Gap to the large pool water.
Onward to Stanley Chasm. This Tourist spot has become quite commercialized. We could not find a park unless we walked for a kilometre. Many years ago we went into the Chasm itself to see the sun shine directly down for a few minutes around midday. We did not wait for this but saved the image in our memories. Interestingly, late last century, I purchased a beautiful dress and shawl, which had been hand dyed and made by Trudy Billingsley. The colour of the dress had been inspired by Stanley Chasm so, as you can imagine, it is a delightful brick orange colour similar to the rocks of the West MacDonnell Ranges. I really love this brick red orange colour.
|Water in Simpsons Gap|
From here we branched onto Namatjira Drive, guided by the map about the West MacDonnell National Park and assisted by Wiki Camps we left the main road, and followed the sign post to Hugh Gorge. We had not heard of this Gorge before. The road was very rough so we found a lovely flat camp on the banks of the Hugh River which of course was dry. After setting up camp, we ate our lunch then set off, without the van, to find Hugh Gorge and Birthday Waterhole. The road/track was wild, rocky and rough so eventually we turned back and slowly came back to our camp and enjoyed a relaxing few hours under the shade of a large Red Gum tree. There are no birds or animals here…presumably because there is no nearby water. The area is very dry and flowers are yet to bloom.