Spinifex, Sand and Mt Sondor

A few years ago we walked along parts of the Larapinta Trail in the West MacDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory. It was a great group, organised by Into the Blue, whose tours are always rich and fulfilling. This is my post for tagged S by Frizz this week.

sunrise, Mount Sondor

sunrise, Mount Sondor

One day we were camped very close to Mt Sondor, so we rose early and photographed it as the dawning sunlight first touched the red bluffs. Later we walked ever closer, through prickly spinifex country.

These tough tussock grasses cover about 22% of Australia, surviving in low nutrient soil and harsh conditions. It was hard going, but Raymond led us into a cool oasis for morning tea, where we relaxed on the soft sand of a dry creek bed, sheltered by graceful white ghost gums.

morning tea in the creek bed

morning tea in the creek bed

Our walk continued as we climbed an escarpment to gaze out at the famous mountain once again, Mt Sondor in the raw heat of day.

Mount Sondor in full sun

Mount Sondor in full sun

I wrote a little poem as we sat in the cool shade of the ghost gums (it was a writing and meditation walk):

dry creek bed
arching silken gums
strung with leafy bunting

rounded boulders
fringed by nodding grasses,
dappled sandy river flows between

gum tang, wind song
voices murmur, tea tastes,
in this cathedral we rest

chequerboard of red, white, grey
clean air scent of purity,
footprint patterns mark the way

I also wrote a short story about characters based on spinifex and ghost gum … after a few enthusiastic comments I have uploaded it to the site …. you can find it by clicking the link above.

25 thoughts on “Spinifex, Sand and Mt Sondor

  1. The sunrise pic reminds me of an Albert Namatjira painting. Reading your poem transports me – I can imagine the fragance of the gum tang 🙂

  2. Lovely images in your poem Christine. 😀 Your first photo is brilliant, and the bottom photo reminds me of the scenery we see hiking around here. I also loved the photo where you stopped for morning tea – I’d love to have a cuppa tea in a spot like that. I also love drinking tea on a hot day (though not many Americans agree with me. They drink the iced variety that I dont really care for.
    I was interested to read that the “ tough tussock grasses cover about 22% of Australia” Wow!

  3. I bet the Spinifex gets lots of nutrients from the blood of tourists 😉 Nice poem describing the scene. Those Ghost Gum’s look great 🙂

    • the gums are really beautiful … and the spinifex is prickly enough to draw blodd … but fascinating when it gets older and forms neat doughnut like rings 🙂

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