We had enjoyed our stop at Alice Springs and had visited some wonderful places, but it was time to move on to the eastern part of the MacDonnell Ranges which are on the other side of The Alice. They are not continuous range like the western but consist of many high hills and short ranges of similar height to the west MacDonnells and even though they have had the same rainfall they appear to be much drier than on the west. Our first stop was at Emily Gap which was set off with the usual river red gums and their white trunks. Emily and Jesse gaps are thought to have been named after the daughters of Charles Todd who very successfully managed the construction of the overland telegraph line from Adelaide to Darwin.
Then another 7 Km further on was Jessie Gap similar to Emily Gap. Both these Gaps are within 30 Km of Alice Springs.
An easy drive followed to Ross River Station where there is a caravan park set among lots of big eucalypts. Here is a photo of our camp with Deen and I enjoying a campfire after our dinner of BBQ’d rump steak and roast potatoes.
After setting up we drove off on a rough dirt track some 15 Km to N’Dhala Gorge where there are a number of aboriginal rock carvings but we only saw two. The first one was a story about butterflies, from caterpillar to butterfly. The lines across the centre are the track of a butterfly walking after just emerging from the cocoon; the circles are butterflies resting. The other rock carvings we saw were too indistinct to even get a reasonable photo.
The walk was extremely rocky in places and just rough in the rest and very hot. A cave on the way gave us welcome respite.
We did pass a dried up water hole which holds water for about 3 months after reasonable rain, so it has been dry for a while.
We decided to return to the carpark after about 1 km and this was the view on the way out of the gorge. You can see part of the rough path we had to traverse in this photo on the bottom left, and that is a smooth section.
On the way back we passed a mountain that clearly showed the layers of sedimentary rock and how massive pressures over eons has distorted them. In places the layers are pointing up vertically and it is these vertical strata that gets eroded to makes places like Standly Chasm where the faces of the chasm are hard rock and the gap was softer rock that has been eroded.
Tomorrow we will journey to Artlunga an old ming town about 75 Km away.
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