Glen Helen

Welcome to Glen Helen!

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We move into the staff lodging and discover under our bed two posters – a pin-up girl and a map of Australia. This room’s been waiting for us!

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Glen Helen Resort viewed from the top of the bluff. In the background is Mt. Saunder, which we intend to climb. (Also on our wall – a check-off list of walks in the area) J and I are working at the resort with a small staff of about 10-15, a mix of Aussies and other travellers. We are paid extremely well to do things like check people into the motel and campsite, tell them about walks in the area, pump their gas and serve them beer and food. In an unfortunate turn of events, J and I find ourselves with opposite work schedules (me 6:30a-2p and her 2p-11p) which means we hang out only at staff mealtimes. In a fortunate turn of events, this also means we’re able to have the same days off every week and take awesome trips around the National Park and surrounding area.

Gorges and helicopter rides and swimming, Oh My!!

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J at Red Bank Gorge.

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J at Serpentine Gorge.

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Jimmy takes us for a helicopter ride!

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It was a very small helicopter.

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Rock Wallaby.

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Staff bunkers in the evening.

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C overlooking Glen Helen Gorge.

Loving it here!
Love C and J.

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Road Trip!!

This is what it looks like when you drive across Australia:

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But I’m getting ahead of myself. We had a fantastic road trip, you guys. We decided to take the long way round, and instead of driving east, then north, took off south from Perth towards Margaret River (most known for forests, fishing, and wineries), then followed the southern coast with some spectacular cliffs. Then we crossed the Nullarbor¬† desert, turned north, crossed some more desert, and arrived at Alice Springs, which is approximately 2,000 km from anywhere.

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Perth, where the grand journey began. Actually a very cool city. I might have liked to spend more time here, but you never know – we may be back!

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J fishing in Busselton. A nice guy gave her pointers for her new rod, then gave her more appropriately-sized hooks and bait. Later, we met another guy who offered to let us park Leland at his house a few blocks away, and we spent the evening drinking beer and chatting with him and his wife. In the morning, they gave us travel advice for Margaret River, a larger rod for J, and a bottle of wine. People here are so nice!

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Yallingup.

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Leland visits wine country. C and J stop for tastings, and travel eastward with an ever-growing booze collection.

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Leland visits the beach.

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The Great Australian Bight! It was very windy here.

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Camels? Wombats? Roos? Also lots of signs for “Wandering Livestock” and these, warning against driving tired:

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We drive out of radio range and entertain ourselves with our broad CD collection: Australian Folk Tunes, Bach, Scissor Sisters, and a randomly found compilation called Samantha’s mix. When we tire of these, I teach J rugby songs and we cross the center of Australia making up verses. “I used to work in Chicago. . .”

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This is what Australians mean when they say “wide load”. You should actually get off the road entirely. Also found in Central Australia: Road Trains – semi trucks pulling up to four containers behind them. I’ll say that again. A semi truck that is four times the size of a semi truck. They are terrifying, especially since the highway is not divided – it’s just a regular two-lane road with a road train coming at you from the opposite direction at 130 km/h.

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After 5 1/2 days of driving and nearly 4,000 km, we arrive at Glen Helen Resort in the West MacDonnell Range just outside Alice Springs! We’ve been working hard, earning lots of money, and spending all of our time off walking and exploring this beautiful and amazing place we’ve found ourselves in.

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Glen Helen Gorge, our local swimming hole/bouldering gym.
More to come!
Lots of love,
C and J