Solo with a Subi through the West Macdonnell ranges (Part 2)
Feb 3 Sat
Well I am dang happy I chose to sleep in the car last night because it rained heaps! And even though I was completely alone in the campground, I felt strangely exposed. I hung my makeshift curtain, seemingly pointlessly. I know if I was with someone else I wouldn't have done it. It was muggy inside the car, having to keep the windows closed to keep the bugs and the rain out. But I slept a lot better than I expected. I felt anxious about being “out there” all alone. But still managed to drift off relatively easily, and according to my sleep app, it was a very restful night. For someone with sleep issues, this is a big WIN!
Dotted around the campsite were several of only what I can call "platforms". They were too wide to be called benches and too low to be tables. So I'm going to assume they were put there specifically for yogis. It only makes perfect sense. The ground is far too rocky to practice on. So I started the day in my favourite way, with a sunrise yoga sesh. Soooo nice, especially after sleeping in the cramped car!
After yoga I set off on a short hike called the Dolomite Walk. It was absolutley stunning, and again, I was completely alone. This time, totally at ease in the daylight solitude. After the light 45 minute walk, I went back to the waterhole at Ellory Creek, because unlike yesterday, the sky was blue and the sun shining. And the water was warm and divine. Most of it was rife with water weeds, but there was a nice sand bar right in the middle to hang out on. I spent the early afternoon swimming and reading my book in the shade. So relaxing and reviving.
From there I drove a few kilometres to the Ochre mines. I stopped there to have lunch but none of the picnic tables were in the shade. Oh well I thought, it's not that hot out and I'm wearing a hat, I'll be quick. Ug. When will I learn. Liz – YOU ARE IN THE DESERT. Put sunscreen on at least! I'm usually really good at remembering but, grrrr.... Obviously I sustained a sunburn, nothing too serious thankfully.
The walk to the ochre mines was only five minutes, and well worth the detour. The stunning colours of the rocks are like nature's wallpaper. It's hard to believe that the indiginous people used to walk thousands of kilometres just to get a specific kind of ochre for their ceremonies.
From the Ochre mines it was starting to get quite hot, so luckily the next stop was a swimming hole at Ormiston Gorge. What a gorgeous Gorge! I could have easily stayed there all day. I ended up staying a couple of hours and soaked up some (weedless) swimming in perfect temperature water, and very few other people as well.
There is a 2.5 km walk around the gorge with a beautiful lookout view. I highly recommend this short walk. I used to to do big four hour long hikes, but it's been quite a while since I got my hike on (not a lot of opportunities for walks at remote roadhouses, unless you like walking on the highway!), so I thought it best to start out with a few small ones. About half way through this walk, after the lookout and before crossing the gorge, I found a peaceful spot on the rocks overlooking the water and found a few minutes to meditate on my own. It's not difficult to find silence and privacy this time of year. I know that most people come in the cooler months to stay out of the heat, but honestly, I think this is the best time to visit. Obviously there are waaaay less people to compete for privacy/campsites/peace with. Also the heat is so easily avoided by staying near a divine swimming hole between 11 and 4. You can still go on long hikes in the morning if you get up early enough, and spend the afternoon lounging and swimming and relaxing. If you ever needed an excuse to laze by the lake....
I finished up my walk at about 5:30pm, plenty of time to find a camping spot. The campground at Ormiston is lovely and again, empty, but it was $10/night, and I'd been told about a free spot not far from Glen Helen Resort so I thought I'd check it out before deciding. Sure enough, even though the sign for Finke River Two Mile bush camping says 4wd only, the subi managed to get through a couple of kilometres before the real gritty track began, and there were ample good spots for me to choose from.
There was a group of campers taking up the nicest spot, right beside the river. I wouldn't mind being near a group, I would feel more secure. But they were playing loud music and drinking, and most certainly the party would get louder as the night went on. I'm out here for the nature and the peace and quiet. I lived in Melbourne for seven years, and went to parties with friends all the time. Then I went camping with those friends and they were playing loud music from the car stereo and they kept fighting over what music to play. And I'm thinking to myself, "can't we just listen to the campfire and shit? We party all the time in the city, I wanna relax out here, and feel the songs of the Earth, not the vibration of your car speakers.."
When I was growing up, camping in the summer was my absolute favourite. In fact, I'd say that my love of the outdoors and nature experiences as a youngster, is what ultimately led me to move to Australia. We usually went camping with my parents' friends or relatives, and often were part of a big group. I don't remember anyone EVER playing a stereo, but there was music every night. My dad and his buddies would play guitar and whoever wanted to would sing. Us kids would be playing cards most of the time. Either double solitaire or wizard. Maybe that's why I also love games so much =P
Well a van just drove past me looking for a campsite and I'm sure they were looking at me and thinking, why on earth is she on a laptop out here?! I'm writing ok!!?? It's faster than pen and paper!!!! (note hypocrisy re stereo/guitar vs laptop/pen and paper) =P
I'd better go before I burn out the battery. Peace. I'm definitley feeling it tonight.