Another nice warming breakfast of freshly ground coffee and porridge was had before the inevitable pack up and move on to the next and final destination before heading home - Trephina Gorge. Instead of going back to the Stuart Highway to Alice Springs we continued on the 4WD track up Owen Spring Reserve towards Larapinta Drive. This is a gorgeous drive winding along the Hugh River, requiring a couple of easy river crossings. We stopped at the ruins of the Old Owen Springs Homestead for some photos and marvelling at what a place to live with such a spectacular backdrop, then just past the Ranger's station Steve got his first ever flat tyre. That delayed our lunch stop in Alice Springs for a short while, but we survived.
We went back to the Red Dog Cafe in the Todd Mall so Rachel could have another roo burger, then Paul and Rachel spent a good hour in a camping shop trying on half a dozen pair of boots before Rachel settled on yet another pair of Scarpas. A bag of replacement supplies at Woolies, and then we were off to Trephina Gorge.
We got to the Gorge Campground around 5pm and quickly set up. This campground is in a bit of a valley, with sheer ochre red cliffs on one side where the setting sun hits them brilliantly. The temperature quickly dropped, while the numbers of mice exploded. A quick and easy dinner of pumpkin, feta and sage risotto with a creamed rice chaser meant we were in bed early at around 9pm. Just as well, for what was soon to come, as we discovered in the time it took for us to get dessert out from the stash of food under the bed in the camper and in bed about an hour later, there was evidence of a mouse in da house. We pulled everything out, but it appeared to have gone.
Around 11pm Paul woke up from a mouse crawling on his arm that then went into one of the storage spaces next to the bed and couldn't get out. it was lifted out with some "gentle persuasion" from Paul, and we spent the next hour watching about half a dozen mice getting in and out of the camper from four separate places. The camper is virtually weather-proof, but it appears not to be vermin-proof, and the spots the mice could access are not ones that can easily be sealed up. Paul plugged up the gaps with gaffer tape, and we seemed to have a relatively quiet night after that. Not happy, Jan.