Up at 4:30 again to get started on a 6km hike in order to finish it before the sun got brutal. We got started on the hike around 6:30ish, and it began with 400 steps naturally formed out of the rock. This was easily my favorite hike and location we went to. The landscape was unlike anything I’d done before, and really fun to hike over. We learned a lot more about the geology on this hike, and the views were stunning. It took about 3 hours to complete the route, and thanks to a stiff breeze it never felt as miserable as the previous 2 days.
After that hike we mostly just faced a long drive back to Alice Springs. We pulled to the side of the road for some lunch where Ben served up beef burgers and also camel burgers with all the fixins that we chopped ourselves. This could have been lovely except there were a million flies. There had been flies pretty obnoxiously the entire time, and most people wore fly nets, but this particular stop was the worst. Ben said it was the worst he’s ever seen at any time ever. They were just swarming our food, you could hardly bring the sandwich to your mouth without 5 flies attaching themselves to it or swarming into your eyes. It was miserable. And there was no restroom, probably the only stop we made the entire time without a restroom. So we just peed behind some shrubs, but there isn’t much cover in the desert! It was a quick lunch stop.
Back in Alice Springs we were all glad to get back to our hotels and clean up the red dirt from the last few days. We had all agreed to meet for dinner at Uncle’s Tavern! Had Eric and I known that we would meet there for a group dinner we may not have had lunch there on our first day. Oh well. Almost everyone went, I think 14/19 people went. We had a great time drinking and eating $10 dinners courtesy of being part of the tour group and I think Ben was friends with the manager. The kitchen even made me a special veggie dish since I told them I wouldn’t eat anything on their menu. I didn’t really want their fish and chips again anyway. We had about 2 hours of chatting, it was a blast. People on that trip were from Sydney, London, Miami beach, Netherlands, France (8 people!), and Taiwan (4 people). It’s odd to spend such intimate time with strangers, get comfortable with each other, and then part ways never to be seen again. But it was a fun experience.