Today we started the long trek to Darwin, but first we had to take a short trip into the East MacDonnell Ranges and look at a few of the closer attractions. As I have mentioned previously the MacDonnell Ranges are the remnant of an acient much larger mountian range that has been weathered down to what is the MacDonnells today. The present day MacDonnels are relatively low (a few hundred feet to maybe 1200ft), consist of a long jagged ridge of exposed strata with gorges and gaps breaking through from south to north where rivers have carved their way through. So today we were off to see a few of these "gaps" which typically are dry sandy stream beds with jagged side walls and picturesque stands of ghost gums. Along the way we happened to find the largest Ghost Gum in Australia (and hence the world).
Once done with the Eastern MacDonnells we started north along the Stuart Highway. Not far north of Alice we came upon this monument (11th, 4th last) which, apparently, marked the highest point on the highway between Alice and Darwin. Our GPS measured the altitude at 730 meters (about 2400 ft) but the plaque on the monument did not actually give the altitude.
We camped the night at a primitive roadside rest area not even toilets). Flies were bad and the ground soft enough for us to erect our insect tent. Four other parties of travellers arrived during the afternoon and we spent the declining daylight chatting to one couple from Queensland.