Drove north, and on the advice of a very knowledgeable and chatty “highway worker”, decided to visit the Henbury Meteorite craters. It was wonderful that this guy, who works on maintaining the rest stops between Uluru and Alice Springs (!), took such an interest in his surroundings, and was happy to share his knowledge. I have uploaded various photos of the information boards about the meteorite impact. You can see the results from the photos of the craters; these were formed by bits of meteorite, each the size of a 200 litre fuel drum. It is hard to comprehend the energy transference, but I understand multiple atomic bomb equivalents. [Interestingly, the huge Gosses Bluff crater I visited with Peter was formed by a gas/water comet, and was orders of magnitude more powerful on impact.]
As I walked into the crater, I stopped to ask three young French travellers had they enjoyed the walk etc. I knew they had left the carpark about 15 minutes previous, and after completing the walk 45 minutes later, realized they had almost certainly missed seeing the craters! Anyway, I asked them where they were going – as you do – and they said King’s Canyon. When asked what route, they said the road they had just turned off. Now, this is the Ernest Giles track/road and clearly marked 4WD vehicles only – it is a seriously rough road – and they were in a 2WD campervan. I impressed on them they should go the “long way round” on the bitumen. Scary!
I dropped into Stuarts Well Rodhouse where I had an early lunch of steak and pepper “Aussie” pie – excellent – and two Cooper IPAs. I scrounged the use of a mobile – bloody Telstra did not provide a service only Optus (I foresee a rave in some future post on the parlous state of mobile networking in Australia.) – in order to book a campsite in Alice Springs. The mobile owner also kindly allowed me to tether off his phone so I could catch up with email. Nice of him, considering his truck was broken down, and he was trying to drop off a guy at Alice Springs airport, who was clearly going to miss his flight. In the scheme of things, trvial you might think, unless you had been working on a drilling rig in the middle of the desert for the past three weeks.
I had decided to stay at Rainbow Valley, and approached the 25kms road to the valley with some trepidation. I had been told it was very corrugated, and so it turned out Almost 25kms of bone-juddering corrugations that challenged the car, trailer and driver. Some jar lids rattled loose, a hinge of the fridge sprung, and some of my fillings dropped out.
I was expecting some kind of green place – don’t know why – and what an incredible surprise. Rainbow Valley was dominated by these spiky multi-coloured large crags, and these perched on the edge of a huge white claypan. Absoultely stunning – again thanks to Di and Mick Floyd for the recommendation. Did a super walk to the cliffs – and the Mushroom Rock – and back along the claypan.
Then spent a very pleasant evening in front of an open fire, courtesy of Greg (not sure?) and Jasmine from Canberra – a lovely young couple.
Have I mentioned the Milky Way? I might even photograph is at some point – be prepared Robert Harper!
[So, this is my third post typed today, and three is about my limit.]