Larapinta 2022: Trek For Research

Friday, July 15, 2022
John at Euro Ridge wearing his PanKind t-shirt.

I decided to take up the challenge of this trek and raise donations for PanKind because I am one of the very fortunate few who has survived inoperable pancreatic cancer six and half years post diagnosis. I saw my oncologist just yesterday and fortunately there no signs of the cancer returning. As a 75 year old, I must admit I had some trepidation on undertaking such a trek, but I took the challenge seriously and made sure  I was well prepared. I was originally booked to go with the Pankind group last year but Covid got in the way, and because the Pankind dates this year did not suit, I took the opportunity to join another group.

It was in mixed group  who were supporting various causes and fortunately we all got on well. I found the trek challenging, but exhilarating and no real trouble getting through each days trek. The trek consists of of hikes of between 14 to 16 kilometres except for the last day which is a walk of about 8k around Orminston Pound. The toughest day was the second, when we had  a steep ascent to the top of the Serpantine Range and a undulating hike along the ridge line before a steep descent back down to the valley floor. The spectacular views from the top of the range, especially at Euro Ridge and Count point are well worth the effort.

I found getting up at 1:30am to climb Mt Sonder in the dark by head torch, to greet the sunrise was quite a unique experience. Having to concentrate on one step a time, when all you can see around is darkness is a little disorientating. However, the effort was rewarded  seeing the fiery morning sunrise.

Weather wise, it could not have been better. We experienced cold mornings [about 2-3 degreees] and warm sunny days in the low 20s. Starting off in the morning one would rug up in layers, but by mid morning you will have shed the layers and back into a tee shirt for the rest of the day. The five days I was there we had beautiful moonlit nights, which seem to light up the surrounding desert country side, but tended out reduce the starlit sky which the red centre is noted for.

Advice for preparation for the trek, apart from making sure you prepare physically and have good hydration, I cannot stress strongly enough to have good footwear. The trails are littered with large loose stones some of which are quite sharp. Ordinary shoes or runners would be fall apart in the first day. Good quality hiking boots with good ankle support with thick hiking socks are essential, and make sure you wear them in, so as to prevent blisters.

The camp consisted of tents with two beds on twin share basis. The food was good and plenty of it. I would thoroughly recommend trying the camel hamburgers. I tried these with great trepidation but they are very, very tasty. Also buffalo sausages are worth a try. The only thing that I missed was a shower or even a wash at the end of each days hike, but we were all in the same boat.

All things considered, I would thoroughly recommend the trip to anyone contemplating partaking and besides you are raising funds in an effort to try to eradicate one one of the deadliest diseases on the planet.

John Buckis, Melbourne

A collection of photos from John's Larapinta trip

Are you interested in completing a 'Trek for Research'? There is still time to sign up for our trip to Tasmania to take on the infamous Cradle Mountain walk! Check out the link to find out more: