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Happy isolation: hiking the ridges of the Larapinta trail

Bushfires, a painful shoulder and a food miscalculation make a 15-day hike in Australia’s Top End challenging – and satisfying

I’ve been trudging along this never-ending ridge for hours. The air is hot and deathly still, with my breath, the footfall of my boots and the buzzing of flies the only sounds in a vacuum of silence. A weary foot catches on a rock and I shoot forward, falling into a nest of sharp rock and even sharper spinifex.

Rolling on to my back, I lie there bleeding and staring up at the sky. There’s only one thing for it. I rummage around in my pack and pull out a block of “emergency” chocolate.

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