Day 14: To Glen Helen Gorge
Yep, we are in a desert all right! Tonight has been really cold, and this morning is no different. Even though we only have to travel about 150kms we need to stock up on our supplies as the flight from Adelaide meant we had nothing left.
As this is Australia and not The Netherlands, supermarkets open at 6AM. On a Sunday. Which also happens to be Mothersday. We didn’t go there that early in the morning, but we were inside well before 8, and got out shortly thereafter. The bakery opposite to the supermarket (Woolworths if anyone is interested) also was open for business, and that is where we bought our breakfast and lunch for today. They didn’t sell coffee, so we got that at the nearest Sushi place. Yes, Australia is a weird place. And all this before 08:30 in the morning, on Mothersday.
On route to Glen Helen, there are loads of things to do, among which are: Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ellery Creek Bighole, Serpentine Gorge, Ochre Pits and Ormiston Gorge. They basically all are gaps between the mountains where there is water to be found as it collects there and is sheltered from the relentless sun. The scenery here is delightfully weird, as you drive between two mountain ridges where you are constantly dipping in and out of deep indentations where the floodwaters rush through when the rain has fallen. The mountains consist of pretty soft rock, which has allowed them to be eroded all the way down from about 10000 metres to 1000 metres tall nowadays in a few hundred million years. That is the awesome power of water and wind.
Glen Helen consists of a parking lot for the Glen Helen Gorge and the Glen Helen Homestead, and that is about it. There is a single (diesel) gas pump, a campground, a restaurant, and a few extra buildings, but it is more than enough as we are booked and confirmed to spend the night here. The restaurant offers great food, the beer is cold and we are completely cut off from the outside world as the nearest cell phone reception is about 4 hours of hiking away. Also, there is no WiFi, so this will be available a little later than usual. 🙂
Tomorrow, we take the Mereenie Loop (off-road) to Kings Creek Station, where we’ll definitely see camels!