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The crewSo after leaving my beautiful friends in Townsville I headed to Alice Springs on a 26 hour bus ride into the dessert. The country out here is so amazing and can you believe it there is a really old mountain range out in the dessert that people can hike. I was to meet my friend Angela and her friend Soph on the hike on June 20th, but upon arriving I couldn’t find them anywhere. After reading the log book (where you write down your route) I realized that they had left a day earlier. Oh shit! I decided that I’d do the 30 KM to the next water source to see if I couldn’t catch them (they had already been on the Larapinta Trail for 1 week).

Ghost gumThere is something about hiking in the dessert that is beautiful, challenging, and pretty spectacular. Not to mention the fact that I’m out there experiencing mountain ranges that are so old, so worn down, and so different from the young Rocky Mountains. I love that history out here .. the history that Australia gives through it’s scenery.

I jetted off at 11 AM on an estimated 10 hour hike and arrived pretty late in the evening with a bit of a sore leg. I think I evidentially did a disservice to my leg during the hike by hiking 30 KM (oh Shano when will you learn). Regardless, in the pitch black as I was nearing the campsite I could see a huge fire and they could see my head torch. I arrived at the fire and said hello and sat down to take a break. Suddenly I heard a “Shane! Is that you!” only to realize that Angela had arrived with Soph at that location that very day! Yipee!

Sacred Chasm

Unfortunately, for me that is, my leg problems only seemed to get worse and after climbing into a chasm with the two of them the next day we all realized it wasn’t smart for me to continue the hike for the remaining time (mostly because the following three days were meant to be for experienced hikers and are pretty hardcore). So that night we slept in the chasm having a huge feast of lental dahl, rice, and quinoa together.

The following day I got up and took the 4WD track to meet them at the next destination which was Birthday watering hole (thankfully the road was quite flat for the most part. After hanging out there for a while in the sun, writing letters, watching butterflies, and all the rest Soph and Angela arrived. Just before we had decided to make dinner a German man arrived and was driving his 4WD back into Alice so I snagged a ride from him back to the hostel. Twas sad to leave them but honestly was the smartest thing I probably could have done.

The track was filled with worn down mountain side which formed the most amazing looking shapes. It’s interesting from a natural development perspective of earth how things change and develop. How an old mountain range like this one can really become so worn down through time and yet still look so freakin amazing! The chasm that I went into (left) during the tour that I had to take to get to the start of the hike was completely smooth (like granite smooth) and I felt a strong sense of energy there. I pretty much wanted to sit in there for a good two hours but we had to go so I was happy I got to visit it at least once.

I was also happy enough to see some dingos, one snake (apparently when you see them in the winter they are super aggressive and it ran right past Angela — oh shit), beautiful butterflies (one quite large one that kept trying to land on my water bottle because it must have smelt some sugar I had on it), chasms, gorges, and beautiful birds. Wow… I can see why the aboriginals feel that this land is sacred and special. I do too. Oh and let’s not forget the methods to keep yourself warm during freezing cold nights (just like the rockies) with me in my new tent (yeah) and beautiful sunrise and sunsets. I’m still in awe!

Sending out love to those working through things, those finding themselves, those feeling love, and those that I haven’t talked to in a while. Don’t worry I still think about you!

Love

Shane

Pictures below coming later ..

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My bedThe last few days have been spent at a beautiful permaculture backpackers called the Treehouse. There is a reason that this place has a history of being the best backpackers hostel in all of New Zealand and I think it makes plenty of sense. When you arrive the entire hostel is covered in native forest that has been regenerated from 20 years of permaculture work by the beautiful couple that owns this hostel and land. Essentially, when they first arrived it was old sheep grazing land with a few old natives trees around the land. As they tell their humble story to me about reclaiming the land by letting things grow more wild within the grazing land I look around and find myself taking a deep breath of fresh air. Permaculture is the way to go for sustainable food production folks. I know that now and I know that this is where i’m headed in my life. Full stop. It’s impressive to be here in a place that has turned a cleared native forest from a sheep feeding acreage back into a native forest again.

AND they have planted many native and non-native fruit / nut varieties throughout the forest (permaculture concept to have food placed throughout a forest). Some of the fruit I’ve noticed is gala apples, lime, macaroon nuts (oh yeah baby), pears, bananas, guava, grapes everywhere! I decided this might be a cool place to woof at (and save some cash) and have been spending today removing a dock from a swamp they have near one of the little huts you can sleep in. They put me up in a house bus for the time that I’m staying here which is pretty freakin’ rad cause I have a space to myself finally (no more snoring or people doing other things in the bed below me — ugg — ask me about that story later). But if you ever have the chance PLEASE come here and spend some time. This place is freakin magical and so are the people who own it.

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